Hard-liners never mention Barry Goldwater. “Goldwater lost in one of the great drubbings in history, lost by more than any Republican but Alfred M. Landon, and carried only his home state and five southern states for all the wrong reasons (opposing — for a fairly innocent reason — the Civil Rights Act of 1964.) No one followed the [Sen. Ted] Cruz playbook more than Goldwater, and no one has managed to lose so conclusively. He offered a choice, not an echo, and nobody took it. But how, if Cruz is so right, could this have happened? It can’t, which is why it is never brought up in this context. In his world, it doesn’t exist.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press) Russian President Vladimir Putin (Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press)

The Obama administration tries not to bring up Iran’s support for Hamas so much these days — it might suggest Iran is a revolutionary Islamist state incapable of making an acceptable deal. “Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip launched at least 60 rockets at Israeli population centers around 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, triggering sirens across the country’s Gaza envelop and deepening worries that Palestinian terror groups may be positioning themselves to start another round of fighting with the Jewish state.”

Republicans broach the energy issue. “Alleviating Ukraine’s energy dependence upon Russia would be a critical policy initiative in addressing Russia’s aggression. If that dependence is not addressed, any financial assistance given to Ukraine in the underlying bill is likely going to be re-transmitted to Russia in the form of higher gas prices Russia charges Ukraine. Moreover, such a policy initiative would have the additional benefit of expanding the U.S. economy and creating job growth. After all, it was President Obama who said, ‘The more we export, the more jobs we create here at home.'”

Michael Doran raises an unpleasant truth. “In fact, both [Vladimir] Putin and Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, understood something very well back in the fall: Obama’s threat of force was half-hearted at best, and he was looking for a path of retreat. In coming to his rescue [on Syria], Putin in particular expected a quid pro quo. In return for Russia’s agreeing to help with the chemical-weapons deal, the U.S. would back off from any pursuit of regime change.”

This touches on something the mainstream media misses: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is likely to be the only noninterventionist presidential candidate in 2016. “If Sen. Rand Paul has any hope of capturing the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, he’ll have to convince the conservative base he can be trusted on foreign policy — which is exactly why Sen. Ted Cruz is his most dangerous critic. . . . Whereas Cruz has a much more traditional Reaganite view of a strong role for America in the world, Paul seeks to advance his father’s brand of non-interventionism, which advocates a more restrained U.S. role on the world stage. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that these disagreements have spilled into the open over the past week, with Cruz emphatically stating that he doesn’t agree with Paul on foreign policy and Paul insisting Cruz mischaracterized his views.”

Charlie Cook introduces liberals to reality. “The bottom line here is that at least for today, this election is not about the myriad of problems facing the Republican Party (with minority, young, female and moderate voters) but instead is about President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, both deeply unpopular. The fight for the Senate is being fought in terrain far more challenging for Democrats (read more Romney than Obama states) and with a midterm electorate that is older, whiter, and much tougher for Dems than the one that re-elected Obama in 2012.  Environmentally, this election reflects a mood not dissimilar to 2010; the big difference being in the House, where Democrats have relatively few vulnerable seats to protect, so the possibility of a party shift at a magnitude similar their 63-seat loss four years ago is extremely unlikely.”

The spin suggests self-delusion. “ObamaCare not to blame for election loss, says White House.”