* Republicans insist health insurance premiums will rise in 2015 (just like they have every year since forever), which would then enable them to say “Obamacare raised your premiums!” But as Dylan Scott points out, the millions of moderate-income people receiving subsidies through the Affordable Care Act are shielded from price increases, because their share of the premium is determined by their income, not by the price.
So maybe this won’t be the Next Big Obamacare Horror Story Republicans are hoping for, er, warning against.
* Conservatives in New Hampshire are running ads attacking Republicans who supported the Medicaid expansion in the state, saying they are not real conservatives. So, this is an important issue to the right. But where is Scott Brown on the Medicaid expansion? Even though the repeal of Obamacare is supposedly a political slam dunk for Republicans, he won’t say.
* Adam Serwer has a good piece on the divisions on the left over whether Dem Senators should hold off on confirming David Barron to the U.S. Court of Appeals until his targeted killing memos are released. Whatever happens here, the push for more transparency around the drone program will, and should, continue. — gs
* John Boehner forgot himself in an interview and admitted that economic inequality is, in fact, a problem. But Danny Vinik has a good piece spelling out that Republicans don’t have an actual ideas to address it:
When Republicans believed income inequality wasn’t a problem, it made sense that they didn’t have a plan to fix it. But with a Republican leader like Boehner begrudgingly admitting that it is a problem, the GOP’s next challenge — one that Democrats face as well — is to develop solutions for it.
You’d think, anyway.
* Dave Weigel details that Republicans seem to be developing a plan to vilify, or should we say Koch-ify, a major Dem donor and climate activist who will henceforth known as “California billionaire Tom Steyer.” Worth asking: how many GOP Senate candidates this cycle are climate skeptics?
* The Hill reports that GOP candidates all over the country are having trouble figuring out how to talk about the minimum wage. It won’t be an easy problem to solve, mainly because Americans really want to see it increased, but Republicans don’t.
* A couple of recent polls of the Arkansas Senate race have shown incumbent Mark Pryor ahead by double digits. W now suddenly learn that an internal poll from Republican Tom Cotton’s campaign shows the race as a dead heat. It’s almost as if the Cotton campaign leaked it to change the discussion.
* Speaking of Tom Cotton, the Huffington Post finds that Cotton has removed from his web site blog posts touting his opposition to Hurricane Sandy relief.
* The robo-firm Public Policy Polling has a new poll of the North Carolina Senate race that shows Kay Hagan leading Thom Tillis by two points, with the libertarian candidate pulling a surprising 11 percent. Some interesting findings:
A lot of the positions Tillis took in order to help him win the Republican nomination without a runoff have the potential to come back and hurt him in the general election. He said climate change was not a fact but by a 24 point margin (54/30) North Carolinians overall think it is a fact, including 53/30 with independents. He said the US Department of Education should be eliminated but by a 23 point margin (53/30) North Carolinians overall think it should not be eliminated, including 49/34 with independents. And he said he didn’t support the federal minimum wage, but by a 19 point margin (55/36) North Carolinians overall support increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour.
* Meanwhile, a new PPP poll in Alaska shows Mark Begich leading all his GOP challengers, including a five point lead on Dan Sullivan pulling away from his opponents. Caution is advised on polling this early, but this perhaps undercuts the case that Republicans are certain to enjoy a massive wave.
* U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Tom Donohue said that if Republicans don’t pass immigration reform, “they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2106.” Tough talk, right? But the Chamber is supporting plenty of candidates who are luke-warm on reform at best and more likely to oppose comprehensive reform entirely. Which helps explain why Republicans don’t feel pressure to move.
* Glenn Greenwald’s new book on NSA surveillance is coming out, and he has an excerpt in the Guardian. But if you read it, you’ll probably be put on a watch list.
* And as you no doubt heard, Karl Rove suggested that Hillary Clinton had brain damage, and offered a pair of sunglasses as part of his evidence. Jed Lewison investigates, and discovers that the truth is far more terrifying.