The United States is at war with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), the White House and Pentagon said Friday, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly declined to use that phrase.
“In the same way that we are at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates around the globe, we are at war with ISIL,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the White House.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby echoed that sentiment, telling reporters that while the effort was “not the Iraq war,” they should “make no mistake, we know we are at war with ISIL.”

It’s hard to say what purpose is served by using this language, other than to elevate ISIS itself and help it attract to its cause disaffected young men who find the notion of joining a heroic war against the global hegemon appealing.

* Here’s an article in a major news org about Americans’ thoughts on war that actually avoids hyping public opinion as gung-ho for war: “Weary of war, but favoring air strike plan.”

* Scholar Bruce Ackerman has a bracingly strong criticism of President Obama’s assertion that he has the authority to pursue this military action without Congressional approval:

President Obama’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.
Mr. Bush gained explicit congressional consent for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, the Obama administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president’s assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.

Saying somebody is showing more hubris than George W. Bush ever did is a pretty serious accusation.


* The latest poll from the Pew Research Center shows, to no one’s surprise, a stark difference between Republicans and Democrats in enthusiasm about the 2014 elections:

The survey also finds that GOP voters continue to be more engaged with the midterm election than Democrats. Republican voters are 15 points more likely than Democrats to say they’ve given a lot of thought to the election, and 12 points more likely to say they definitely will vote. GOP voters also express more enthusiasm for voting in the upcoming midterm than their Democratic counterparts.

Result: Among “registered voters,” Dems are leading on the generic ballot by 47-42, but among “likely voters,” Republicans are leading by 47-44. But: “At a comparable stage in 2010, Republicans held a 50%-43% lead among likely voters.”

* Ben Adler reports on a new League of Conservation Voters poll showing that Scott Brown’s climate denialism could be hurting him among voters in New Hampshire. Interest group polls should be viewed with skepticism, but this could be a Senate race — the other is in Michigan — where a Republican candidate is on the defensive for upholding current conservative climate dogma.


* Speaking of Michigan, the Detroit News reports that GOP nominee Terri Lynn Land is employing a clever new strategy in which she doesn’t do any actual campaigning. She won’t debate Dem Gary Peters, she ignores interview requests from journalists, and she can’t be found out on the trail.


* A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll finds that the Dem gubernatorial nominee is in a virtual tie with the sitting governor and Dem Senate nominee Michelle Nunn is trailing by only 4 points. Republican David Perdue is still the favorite, but all of this does suggest Georgia is shifting.

* National issues matter a lot, but every race has its local dynamics. In North Carolina, education is a huge issue, as evidenced by the fact that the DSCC is up with yet another harsh ad hitting Republican Thom Tillis over it.


* Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) introduced an amendment to extend benefits to the spouses of married same-sex military service-members even if they live in a state that doesn’t sanction same-sex marriage. Every Republican but one on the Veterans Affairs Committee voted against it, and it failed.

* No one has ever accused Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin of being the sharpest tool in the shed. But Steve Benen tells the tale of Johnson’s particularly idiotic response to President Obama’s speech on the Islamic State.

This story has it all. Stretch Hummers. Booze. A right hook. And a former vice presidential candidate screaming, “Don’t you know who I am!”
Just another Saturday night in Anchorage with the Palins?
Several Alaska bloggers first reported a brawl at a house party over the weekend for the Iron Dog snowmobile race (that Todd Palin has won four times). And it allegedly involved the former first family of Alaska….
The best details came from Alaska political blogger Amanda Coyne. She describes Track Palin stumbling from a stretch Hummer and spotting the ex-boyfriend of sister, Willow. Then came the yelling and the punching and Bristol Palin launching a mean right hook repeatedly. Coyne writes that Sarah Palin screamed, “Don’t you know who I am!”and someone in the crowd screamed back, “This isn’t some damned Hillbilly reality show!”
Track was shirtless and giving people the middle finger. Todd Palin had a bloody nose.

Of course, we hope no one was seriously hurt. But that sounds like a helluva party.