• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running an ad featuring small-business owner Patty Breeze lauding Mitch McConnell for opposing the Affordable Care Act. So Joe Sonka called her up, and found out her views are a little more complicated:
While Breeze talked at length about problems with the ACA state exchange in Kentucky (Kynect) — mostly involving a difficult to use website and insufficient staffing and training for Kynect staff and insurance agents — she also told me that there are many good parts of the law that she thinks we should keep, and we should improve the law through legislative fixes instead of repealing the law in its entirety and going back to the healthcare system we had before it.
• Jonathan Cohn notes that a new survey has some disturbing results about lack of information on the Affordable Care Act and how it has affected people who need insurance:
About half of the people who McKinsey surveyed did not end up buying insurance — either because they shopped and found nothing they liked, or because they didn’t shop at all. When asked to explain these decisions, the majority of these people said they thought coverage would cost too much. But two-thirds of these people said they didn’t know they could get financial assistance. In other words, they assumed they would have to pay the sticker price for coverage, even though federal tax credits would have lowered the price by hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
As dismaying as this is, I suppose it isn’t all that surprising. It’s a complicated law with a lot of provisions. But this is a particularly vital one, and it suggests that every place one can get information on coverage — HealthCare.gov, the state exchanges, the navigators, insurance brokers — ought to make sure people know subsidies are available.
• Yesterday, a federal judge in Idaho said the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Today, the judge denied the governor’s request for a stay of her ruling pending an appeal, meaning gay people in Idaho can now get married. In Idaho. Seriously, in Idaho.
• Fernando Espuelas points out that the GOP’s 2016 Hispanic voter problem has an element they probably haven’t thought about yet: Hillary Clinton is extraordinarily popular among Hispanics.
• And speaking of Hillary Clinton, Dana Milbank traces the way conservatives have decided that she’s responsible for the kidnapping of those hundreds of girls in Nigeria. I wish that were a joke, but it isn’t.
• Displaying the subtle foreign policy thinking that makes him such a key source for American journalists, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) commented on the kidnapped girls by saying, “If they knew where they were, I certainly would send in U.S. troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without the permission of the host country.” Referring to Nigeria’s president, McCain added: “I wouldn’t be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan.”
Three things on this. First, if we knew where they were, everything would be a lot easier. Second, mounting military raids in a country without its government’s permission is the kind of thing that we usually reserve for operations like getting Osama bin Laden, not ones where we’re trying to help that country. And third, Nigerian naming habits may seem hilarious to McCain, but if he’s wondering why people around the world see Americans as arrogant jerks, this is a good example.
• Jonah Goldberg says former Florida governor Jeb Bush is probably not going to be the Republican nominee for president, not because he isn’t conservative enough, but because he hasn’t spent enough time wooing the GOP base:
Contrary to a lot of pseudo-psychological analysis, Republicans don’t go for the guy whose ‘turn’ it is because they are hard-wired to be hierarchical and orderly. They do it because the guy who came in second last time spends the next four years wooing the conservative base.
And Jeb hasn’t done it.
• Molly Ball argues that Ben Sasse’s victory in Nebraska is more than just a win for the tea party: “Sasse actually represents less the Tea Party’s anti-incumbent rage than the sort of fusion candidate who can unite the party establishment and base — a well-credentialed insider who can convince the right wing he’s on their side.”
• In the wake of Karl Rove’s insinuation that Hillary Clinton is suffering from brain damage, Ed Kilgore explains the main reason Rove keeps doing this kind of thing: because he can.
Not only do Rove’s drive-bys leave debris on their victims; he always seems to escape unscathed. Even when the administration whose political strategy he crafted crashes and burns, he comes out of it wealthy and powerful as ever. Even when he appears to waste tens of millions of dollars in ineffective ads, there he is again wielding enormous sums of money, and pontificating in every medium.
• Jamelle Bouie thinks Republicans who argue against raising the minimum wage ought to be asked whether they support having a minimum wage at all: “If raising the minimum wage destroys jobs and prevents employment, then lowering it would do the opposite. And if you gain from lowering the minimum wage, then why have one at all?”
• Here’s one from the politics-ain’t-beanbag files: “New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown called Senate Republican leadership to urge them to stop a bipartisan energy efficiency bill, so as not to give Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), the bill’s Democratic sponsor and his Democratic opponent, something to run on.” Hey, he’s just out there doing what’s best for America.
• And finally, my American Prospect colleague Harold Meyerson explains how airlines are waging war on the 99 percent, making air travel more and more miserable for all of us so the swells up front can enjoy their expansive legroom and hot towels.