Pols in favor of school standards can breathe easier. “Ever since election results from May 5th were finalized, a number of voices have loudly touted cherry-picked upsets—namely, the primary defeats of two incumbent Republicans in the Indiana legislature—to build what they want to present as a larger narrative of rising opposition to Common Core. This narrative is misleading. In fact, the GOP primary results from throughout this month showed, if anything, that opposing Common Core is not a ticket to office for a right-flank challenge to an incumbent, and the efficacy of attempts to take out Republicans from the right is vastly overrated. By the same token, there is mounting evidence that sitting Republicans who support Common Core will continue to be supported by their conservative base.”

File - The Harry S. Truman Building, headquarters for the State Department, is seen in Washington, in this March 9, 2009 file photo. A retired State Department worker, Walter Kendall Myers and his wife Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, have been arrested on charges of spying for Cuba for three decades, using grocery carts among their array of tools to pass U.S. secrets to the communist government in a security breach one official described as "incredibly serious." The indictment was unsealed Friday June 5, 2009. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) The Harry S. Truman Building, headquarters for the State Department. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

President Obama bends over backward to avoid demonstrating U.S. influence. Max Boot: “Keeping around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan post 2014 makes sense (although it would be even better to keep more troops to provide a greater margin of safety). Announcing in advance that we will reduce their numbers to 5,000 within a year and remove them altogether within two years–no matter the conditions on the ground–makes no sense. Has the administration learned no lesson from the Afghan surge whose effectiveness was vitiated by the 18-month timeline imposed on the troops’ deployment, thus encouraging the Taliban to wait us out? Obama is making the same mistake again.” No, it hasn’t learned anything.

Critics of President Obama shake their heads over his latest announced evacuation date.  House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.): “I’m pleased the White House met the military’s request for forces in Afghanistan. However, holding this mission to an arbitrary egg-timer doesn’t make a lick of sense strategically. Does the President seek to replicate his mistakes in Iraq where he abandoned the region to chaos and failed to forge a real security partnership? We are in Afghanistan because it was the spawning ground of al-Qaeda and the devastating attack on American soil. Those threats still exist. We leave when the Afghans can manage that threat, rather than on convenient political deadlines that favor poll numbers over our security.”

One liberal rolls her eyes at Hillary Clinton’s book excerpt. “Liberal columnist and CNN contributor Sally Kohn is not impressed with the recently released excerpts from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming memoirs, Hard Choices. Kohn said the excerpts made the book feel like a ‘yawner.’ She added that the publisher should have considered renaming the book ‘Boring Choices’. . . .  ‘It’s safe,’ she continued. ‘It’s dry. It’s not the book of someone who feels like they have to really get out in the political environment and fight for it and really give us interesting stuff.'” You’d think Clinton would have learned from the last overly cautious campaign she lost.

Nothing to sneeze at. It’s an important gesture: “President Barack Obama plans to meet next week with the candy tycoon elected over the weekend as Ukraine’s new president. The White House said Obama congratulated President-elect Petro Poroshenko in a phone call Tuesday. A statement also said Obama offered the United States’ full support to unify Ukraine after weeks of fighting with pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.”

Someone needs to bang some heads over there. “The State Department’s Counter Terrorism (CT) Bureau apologized on Tuesday for promoting a controversial Muslim scholar whose organization has reportedly backed Hamas and endorsed a fatwa authorizing the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.” Thunk.

Ramesh Ponnuru tells conservatives to open their eyes to a new approach to governance. “I don’t see it, and I don’t think most other people described as ‘reform conservatives’ see it, as an attempt at a factional takeover of the Republican party. If we were trying to create, say, a new libertarian Republican party, we would have to explain what that would mean for monetary policy, or immigration, or the courts, or defense. Because Room to Grow is not trying to do any such thing, it can be silent on a great many important subjects. . . . .  I’d prefer to see a lot of conservative candidates adopting (and adapting) some of these ideas. If that happens and the contributors to the book end up voting for different candidates in the next cycle of presidential primaries, it will mean that the ideas have had a widespread, positive influence.”