* As expected, some movement on deportations: The Obama administration is now reportedly considering limiting deportations of undocumented immigrant who haven’t committed serious crimes, as part of a review of deportation policy that the Department of Homeland Security is conducting. Whatever that review concludes, there will be people extremely unhappy about it.
* It’s easy to get confused about the statistics surrounding this issue, and whether Obama really is the “deporter in chief.” Anna Law tries to cut through the confusion for The Monkey Cage, noting the key difference between “removals,” which are what we think of when we think of deportations, and “returns,” which are when people are caught trying to cross the border and sent back. The overall number of removals and returns — which had been previously added together as “deportations” — made Obama look more like a “deporter in chief” than the record actually suggests.
It does suggest that the Obama administration has adopted a more compassionate policy than his predecessor if you look beneath the surface of those statistics. It’s a sad comment on our politics that the administration can’t make that case for itself. But unfortunately, if they admitted what they were doing they’d be portrayed as soft on “illegals” and would likely have even less of a chance to get immigration reform passed. It’s a sick system we have here.
* Meanwhile, Norah Kaplan-Bricker has a nice explanation answering a key question: What exactly will it take to appease critics of Obama’s deportation record? — gs
* Jennifer Rubin has some bad news for Republican leaders. “The opposition to gay marriage is crumbling on the right, as it is everywhere. The true sign of progress is the deafening silence on the topic in the run-up to the 2014 elections.”
* Like many others, the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin is puzzled that Obamacare isn’t rewarding Democrats politically to the degree that Medicare supposedly has. Jonathan Berstein has an excellent rebuttal:
After Medicare passed in 1965, voters “rewarded” Democrats for Medicare with big midterm losses in 1966 and then by putting Republicans in the White House in five of the next six presidential elections.
Successful programs guarantee their own success, regardless of subsequent elections. That’s very likely to be the case with health-care reform, no matter how people feel about “Obamacare.” It’s hard for politicians to take away benefits people like. What successful programs almost never do — especially those that are targeted widely and don’t put pressure on specific groups to realign — is win elections. And Obamacare, with its largely invisible and abstract benefits, is particularly poorly designed to achieve that particular goal.
This is an underappreciated point. Even Medicare — spectacularly popular, disliked by conservatives — hasn’t won Democrats any elections outright.
* Nevertheless, Republicans seem stuck in the first stage of grief — denial — when it comes to the facts of the ACA, as Steve Benen explains.
* Brian Beutler has an interesting suggestion as to how media coverage of the politics of Obamacare could soon turn on Republicans, in light of mounting enrollment and the increasingly obvious problems with the GOP repeal stance:
Where some members of the media were prepared until recently to interpret the Democratic agenda as a distraction from Obamacare, more will soon come to interpret Republicans’ obsession with Obamacare as a distraction from their complete lack of one.
* One of the sad ironies of the ACA is that most Southern states that have refused the Medicaid expansion had the most to gain from it, because they have high rates of poverty and absurdly stingy Medicaid eligibility laws. Joan Walsh has a good piece explaining to Democrats that this could be a fruitful issue for them if they would just make it one.
* North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis is starting to attract some unwanted attention from local media over a controversy involving two staffers who resigned in a mini-scandal involving lobbyists. This is an angle Dems will emphasize against Tillis’ record as a state legislator.
* Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have created a depressing new clock that shows how many people — 2.5 million so far — have lost their unemployment insurance because of congressional Republicans’ refusal to extend the program.
* Jonathan Ladd has an interesting insight into the ideolgical roots of Reagan-worship on the right: Reagan represented a sudden takeover of the GOP by a conservative ideology. Meanwhile: “For Democrats, the party’s successive presidents gradually adopted more aspects of modern liberalism’s tenets.”
* My column at The American Prospect today is about the pathologies of rationality, and how Republicans fervently denying that every piece of good news about the ACA could possibly be true are actually doing the rational thing.
* Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens may be 94, but he just wrote a book and has some strong opinions about the Court’s recent ruling on campaign finance. His summary of that ruling’s meaning: “The voter is less important than the man who provides money to the candidate. It’s really wrong.”
* And Mitch McConnell’s new ad shows he’s still worried about his Republican primary challenger. It also contains more creepy insincere smiles in 30 seconds than you can shake a stick at.