* More from the “Time to panic!” files: CNN trumpets a new poll with the headline, “CNN poll finds majority of Americans alarmed by ISIS.” But it turns out the things they favor doing to combat them — air strikes, supporting others fighting them, providing humanitarian assistance — are already happening. Americans oppose sending in ground forces by a 61-38 margin.
* Kurt Eichenwald says that when ISIS is defeated, it will be because it has made so many enemies in the Muslim world, and that the U.S. should not take its bait by responding:
Yes, ISIS is hoping to strike us with something, anything, and it has enough supporters in the United States that it may succeed in executing an attack on a soft target. But the purpose of such an assault will be to provoke a response, one that will, inadvertently, save ISIS from the threat of the billions of other Muslims who want nothing to do with the group.So, remember this: Every time you hear some commentator say America should “do something,” they are reading from the ISIS script. The U.S. can soften up ISIS with strategic bombing to aid the Islamic fighters taking them on. But it cannot beat them by rolling the Humvees back into Iraq or Syria.
Unfortunately, lots of people in America are immune to the idea that the “strongest” response isn’t always the wisest one.
* Not long ago, Republicans were super-psyched about Monica Wehby, the pediatric surgeon taking on Senator Jeff Merkley. Today, that race is looking less winnable for the GOP: The Koch brothers’ PAC just cancelled a million dollars worth of TV ads they were going to run on Wehby’s behalf. So the map isn’t expanding as some Republicans had hoped.
* A Loras College poll of Iowa voters shows Bruce Braley leading Joni Ernst by five points, not too far from the HuffPo Pollster average putting Braley up four, perhaps indicating that Braley is improving after a tough start.
* Here’s more evidence for the success of the ACA: New Numbers out of Arkansas show that over 200,000 people have gained health coverage through the state’s expansion of Medicaid. If only those people who can now see a doctor knew that they were less free.
* Sahil Kapur looks at the success of the ACA through the lens of Bill Kristol’s famous 1993 memo warning Republicans not to work with the Clinton administration on health reform, lest it actually improve people’s lives, which would “revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests.”
Two decades later, Kristol’s prophecy is haunting Republicans. Obamacare has provided a lifeline by providing coverage to 8 million people on the exchanges, 7 million under Medicaid expansion and 5 million who bought insurance outside the exchanges but benefit from new regulations like the coverage guarantee for individuals with preexisting conditions. Even Republicans in deeply conservative states are suggesting that the popular new benefits cannot be taken away, even if the Obamacare brand still struggles.
In a strict political sense, Kristol gave the GOP the right advice in 1993, because the legislation was defeated. They followed the same strategy in 2009, but that time they lost.
* President Obama has gotten criticism from all quarters for his decision to delay immigration policy changes until after the election. Joshua Green says he’s actually making the right move:
The politics of immigration reform will shift after the election in a way that will make presidential action much easier for Democrats to swallow. The big event on the horizon will be the 2016 election, which, because it’s a presidential year, will draw a younger and more diverse electorate more favorably inclined toward immigration reform. The Senate dynamic will flip, too. In 2016, Republicans will be defending 24 seats, vs. only 10 for Democrats — the lag effect of the Tea Party wave of 2010. In that context, Obama’s action to end deportations would hurt Republicans, not Democrats. GOP presidential candidates won’t relish having to answer questions about whether they’ll support Obama’s “amnesty” or overturn it and deport millions of immigrants. The political pressure would fall on Republicans, whose failure to pass reform would imperil their chances to control the Senate and the White House.
A lot of things are going to change once 2014 is behind us and everyone’s looking forward to 2016.
* Brian Beutler has an important caveat to the above: If Republicans do take the Senate this year, they’ll argue it was because they forced Obama to abandon his pledge to act on immigration. This could put him in such an awkward position that he might punt — an outcome advocates fear.
* At the American Prospect, I looked at the question of whether Democrats can ever take back the House (and made a chart about race and voting in presidential elections).
* Republicans are looking for good ideas on how to win the midterm elections, so naturally they sought out Dick Cheney.
* And the chuckleheads at Fox & Friends respond to the Ray Rice video by jokingly suggesting some ways you can beat your wife unconscious without getting caught.