Kevin Drum - May 2012

John Edwards and Perverted Justice

| Thu May 31, 2012 6:14 PM EDT

I have not watched the Edwards trial and I am not intimately familiar with the details of the evidence. But like Amanda Marcotte, I'm glad he was not convicted. I hope the prosecution decides to let it go. Being a horrible person is not a criminal act. If it were, we wouldn't be able to build enough prisons.

But Amanda explains the real reason why prosecutors should close this case. In this day and age, in this era of obscene electoral profligacy, the pursuit was simply ludicrous:

With the news of Karl Rove crowing about how he intends to spend $1 billion in untraceable funds to beat Obama in 2012, it looks particularly ridiculous for the government to waste resources on a showboat prosecution. Even the conservative news magazine National Review had to denounce the prosecution as a waste. John Edwards has been disgraced, humiliated and run out of politics. Bringing the full force of the law down on him on top of it all just seems greedy.

In my opinion it was a witch trial, done more to exorcise society's demons than to serve as a rational application of the law. Edwards behaved abominably and his life is ruined because of it. But I long ago stopped being shocked by people who, in the midst of personal crisis, behave with a lack of character and morals. I'm afraid that at this stage in my life I've seen too much of it to be so very, very sure that I can sit in judgment from afar.

Arcane federal election law is flouted every single day in ways that seriously threaten our democracy; using it merely to further humiliate an unpopular cad is a serious misuse of resources.  But I suppose we have to give credit where credit is due. Wall Street gamblers and high flying bankers have so far been smart enough not to do the one thing that can get important, high-profile, white males in trouble with the law: get caught paying for unauthorized sex. Other than that, it's clear that pretty much anything goes.

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Will Bill Clinton Help Oust Scott Walker?

| Thu May 31, 2012 5:35 PM EDT

If there's any justice in the universe, Scott Walker will lose his job and never get another one that grants him power over the lives of other people ever again. Unfortunately, evidence of justice in the universe remains inconclusive at best, and downright contradictory at worst. And that's not even taking luck into consideration.

Still, it's probably good news that former president Bill Clinton is on his way to Wisconsin to campaign against the governor, whose anti-worker and anti-beer legislation has led to a recall election in that state.

For one thing, the recall effort is risky. If Democrats fail to unseat Walker on Tuesday, and Tom Barrett is defeated, Republican morale in the state is sure to surge, possibly leading to Wisconsin swinging for Romney in November. Meanwhile Walker will have even more of a mandate to tinker with workers' rights, women's rights, and education than ever before.

The Wisconsin protests last year were huge and impressive, but Walker has remained surprisingly popular. Budget concerns and middle class squabling between public and private sector workers have made Walker's policies more popular than they would be outside of a recession.

Can Bill Clinton work his magic and rally voters to the polls? Maybe. But it's going to be a close one.

Pity Those Media-Pummeled Republicans

| Thu May 31, 2012 3:58 PM EDT

As one who has long found the breathless election coverage of candidates' personal lives to be puerile and voyeuristic, I'd usually be sympathetic to complaints about the "vetting" of Mitt Romney in the media this election cycle. I can't imagine why anyone would want to run for office and put up with it, but then that's why they're them and I'm me.

Nonetheless, this lightning rod of an article from Politico on Thursday about unfair coverage of Romney is a bit much. Particularly this part of it:

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to President George W. Bush, said the personal coverage of Romney is silly and won't cut it with voters, but that he finds the media inconsistency with regards to covering Obama to be galling.

"These stories are not unusual, except they were never done about then-Senator Obama in 2008," Fleischer said. "The press never ran probing, sneering stories about candidate Obama, and yet The Washington Post and New York Times are on overtime covering who-cares stories about Mitt Romney."

Please spare us the pearl-clutching, Ari. I don't recall hearing any complaints from the former Bush press secretary about the coverage of Al Gore's alleged "Eloise" childhood hotel home (a completely bogus story to boot) and the rest of the disgraceful GOP-fed coverage of that campaign. And Fleischer certainly didn't step up to complain about the front page stories about John Kerry's so-called butler or or his "elite" windsurfing habits. Certainly Kerry's richy-rich wife was spared no mercy.

And it's not true that Obama was "unvetted" (which is a favorite meme lately among the denizens of the right-wing fever swamps—one that ties directly into birtherism, by the way). There were front-page stories about his million-dollar house and his upbringing and his associations with various nefarious characters in Chicago. I don't think anyone can say the media didn't delve into Obama's religious life. It's true that few journalists rushed to Honolulu to examine the kerning on his birth certificate, because there was no reason to. He is, after all, an American.

The difference between the stories about Kerry's and Romney's wealth and Obama's is quite simple: the Obamas weren't wealthy by comparison. (Poor Al Gore was the one who was treated most shabbily, with a GOP-concocted tale of childhood wealth that wasn't true.) And in this campaign, at this time of economic stress, the fact that Romney is extremely wealthy—and from a form of capitalism that is under extreme scrutiny—is a very relevant story. More relevant than usual, I'd say.

The Republicans are playing the refs and they are good at it. (And Politico sure seems to love a polarizing media story, all the more if it implicates its rivals.) But this is one time when a close look at a candidate's wealthy lifestyle and how he acquired it is important. We're in a new gilded age suffering from the aftermath of a Wall Street meltdown perpetrated by wealthy gamblers and vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney. It would be journalistic malpractice not to examine that. If the GOP doesn't want the American people to know that they are in the grips of the wealthy financial elite, perhaps they shouldn't have nominated one of their poster boys as their candidate.

Heather Digby Parton is guest blogging while Kevin Drum is on vacation.

A Victory Against the War on Drugs

| Thu May 31, 2012 3:33 PM EDT

Eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes won't be returning to Congress next year. He was ousted from his El Paso district by pro-marijuana legalization candidate Beto O'Rourke. The two Democrats had very different ideas about the war on drugs, and apparently even the above "Just Say No" ad featuring a bunch of small kids is as dated as it is infuriating.

Why infuriating? For those of us who care a great deal about ending the war on drugs, and at the very least ending the federal ban on medical marijuana, the "do it for the children" argument rankles. I can't recall how many times I've heard "the children" invoked when anybody suggests that maybe ending this violent domestic conflict against poor people could actually be really good for everyone, including children.

The war on drugs disproprtionally targets minorities. Communities ravaged by drug use are just as ravaged by the violent conflict that comes from the perpetuation of a black market. It's expensive, and not just for the prison beds and police (though these are extremely expensive). It takes a human toll as well, removing fathers from their children and workers and consumers from the economy, driving away legitimate business investment and replacing it with coercive black market forces, gangs, and so forth. In Mexico, the war on drugs has taken an even bloodier toll, claiming tens of thousands of lives in just the past few years.

The simple answer is to say "I'm fighting to keep drugs illegal for the children." It sounds nice. Drugs are bad, and children are good, and obviously the only way to keep the former out of the hands of the latter is to keep drugs illegal. Right?

Except that it isn't working, and apparently voters in Texas and across the country are starting to figure that out.

Adam Serwer pointed out the other day that Obama actually had a pretty healthy relationship with marijuana as a youth. Many other politicians—including conservative Republican Mitch Daniels—have smoked pot in the past as well, and I'm willing to bet they've all inhaled. This dabbling with drugs didn't hinder their careers or prevent them from attaining higher office—but that's only because they never went to jail for it, and they didn't grow up in communities where the war on drugs has a literal, and not just a figurative, meaning.

The Defense of Marriage Act and States' Rights

| Thu May 31, 2012 2:51 PM EDT

The gay-marriage debate hit a major milestone today. A federal appeals court has found section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.* The groundbreaking ruling will no doubt end up before the Supreme Court.

Interestingly, the three judge panel was comprised of two Republican appointees. The unanimous decision was made at least partly on federalist, states' rights grounds.

"One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage," Judge Michael Boudin wrote for the court. "Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress' denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest."

Now, there's a dark and a light side to federalism. States' rights—and really, we should put "rights" in quotation marks here—have been an excuse for plenty of atrocities, including slavery and segregation. The states in question are home to plenty of their own tyrannies, great and small.

On the other hand, right now a handful of states have stood in defiance of bad federal laws, including DOMA and the federal ban on medical marijuana. When gay couples married in Massachussettes are denied federal healthcare benefits, or when federal agents take down marijuana dispensaries in California, it's hard not to sympathize with a little federalism. It's a facet of our democracy that has, like democracy itself, been used for good and ill.

In other words, federalist arguments aren't easily dilineated into conservative and liberal camps. I think this actually complicates things for the "traditional marriage" forces. We've already seen some major conservatives like Ted Olson take on the gay-marriage ban in California, and federalist/small govermnet arguments rest at the heart of Olson's case.

These unlikely allies for pro-gay rights activists underscore why I'm mostly optimistic about the future of this country: However messed up the Republican party is, and however out of control the conservative movement may be, American conservatism is still rooted in a version of liberalism. Very little of the European traditionalism that defined conservatives in the past has survived in American conservatism.

Sometimes I think that's part of the reason the conservative movement seems so off-kilter so much of the time—so quick to latch onto strict rhetorical and ideological positions that aren't really guided by a coherent set of principles. But it also means that buried beneath the wreckage of so many contemporary conservative arguments is a strand of liberalism that actually does value progress, individual rights, and equality.

Americans are increasingly becoming more pro-gay rights, and the next generation will be even more so, across all polititical ideologies. Maybe conservative acceptance of gay marriage will be based on federalist or small-government arguments, but I suspect a lot of it will eventually be about freedom.

This post has been updated to clarify the scope of the ruling. Erik Kain is guest blogging this week while Kevin Drum is on vacation.

Why All Eyes Should Be on the Wisconsin Battlefield

| Thu May 31, 2012 10:17 AM EDT

Others have written much more eloquently about the recall story in Wisconsin than I ever could. Rick Perlstein, for instance, a homeboy who wrote this epic piece just before the primary election in which he made the case for why we should all care about the governor's race:

Here's why: the voting in Wisconsin this spring "will be the first national test of the possibility of democracy in the Citizens United era," writes Ruth Conniff of the Madison-based magazine The Progressive, referring to the historic Supreme Court ruling that allowed unlimited spending on polticial campaigns. If conservatives succeed in breaking public unions in Wisconsin, they will try the same thing everywhere, with mind-blowing seriousness. Already by this February, Walker, taking advantage of a loophole that allows donors to recall targets to blow through the state's $10,000 contribution cap, had raised an astonishing $12.2 million dollars; then, by April, he had added $13.2 million more. [...] So, $25 per vote from reactionary out-of-state donors versus three bucks and one million petition signatures from regular old Wisconsinites: which one of them will prevail in June will tell us what American democracy will look like – if it will look like democracy at all. It's like one of those posters I saw in Madison last year said. It quoted the Gettysburg Address: "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived or so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war." The picket sign added: "MADISON is that battlefield."

And E.J. Dionne went right to the heart of the matter with this piece on Wednesday:

Walker is being challenged not because he pursued conservative policies but because Wisconsin has become the most glaring example of a new and genuinely alarming approach to politics on the right. It seeks to use incumbency to alter the rules and tilt the legal and electoral playing field decisively toward the interests of those in power.

It's hard to overstate just how important this race is to progressives. The polls this week range from a dead heat to Walker leading by up to six points. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

But in looking at the Marquette University poll just out yesterday, I couldn't help but be somewhat surprised by this:

Voters say they feel their current governor would be better at creating jobs than his recall challenger. Half say they think Walker would do a better job, while just 43 percent pick Barrett. And Walker holds a 51 percent favorable rating and 46 percent unfavorable, while his rival is at 41 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable.

It's almost unbelievable to me that voters would believe that when job creation has been the biggest issue of the campaign—and it hasn't been good for Walker:

Much of the debate over job creation started when the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released numbers that showed Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs from March 2011 to March 2012, the worst performance of any state in the country. Barrett seized on the news, attacking the governor in a press conference and in an ad claiming that, under Walker, Wisconsin lost a job every hour. But Walker's team insisted that the numbers were wrong. By the time the April figures came out last week, showing a gain of 4,500 jobs for the month, his administration had tried to build a case that the monthly estimates were unreliable.

Even though Walker is being recalled mostly because of a fight with workers and the state is dead-last in job creation, 50% of the voters think he'll be better at job creation than the other guy? Nobody in the country has done worse!

This strikes me as yet another success of conservative talking points. I think many people have simply absorbed the oft-repeated notion that Republicans are the advocates for "job-creators" with their low taxes and deregulation and even in the face of clear evidence otherwise they can't really see how anything else would work. And you can't really blame them all that much. Nobody's really telling them another story, at least not one that would make them think that Democrats would be better advocates for the "job creators." So they default to the conventional wisdom or plain old tribalism.

Still, that's just one question and despite everyone being understandably concerned about unemployment, people will base their votes on many factors. This race is close enough that it could go either way. Perhaps the good citizens of Wisconsin will go into the voting booth and realize that they just can't afford another two years of Scott Walker's mess. A handful of very wealthy plutocrats have poured a ton of money into the state for the past year betting that they won't. It would be nice if that money turns out to have been wasted.

Heather Digby Parton is guest blogging this week while Kevin Drum is on vacation.

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Our Nation's Biggest Money Problem of All

| Thu May 31, 2012 5:00 AM EDT

Sometimes I wonder if amidst all of our world-weary cynicism we are even cynical enough. It's hard to wrap your mind around the immensity of the problem of money in politics, but it's this part of it that still shocks and depresses me. Thomas Edsall wrote this column earlier this week:

Four years after the 2008 collapse, the finance industry has regained its dominant position in American politics. Perhaps the development of deepest significance is an absence: the failure of a powerful anti-Wall Street faction to emerge in either the House or the Senate. This is in contrast to the response to previous financial crises, when Congress enacted tough legislation—after the Savings and Loan implosion of the 1980s, for example, and more recently after the bankruptcy of Enron and WorldCom in the early 2000s.

Look at the current political environment this way: if Mitt Romney's campaign and the Romney-supporting super PAC Restore Our Future were a public company, the financial services industry would have a controlling interest. President Obama, in turn, has been noticeably cautious in his critique of Wall Street, trying instead to focus on Romney's former company, Bain Capital. Obama's ambivalence about speaking out is a tacit victory for the industry.

Indeed it is. And you can see the results of such far-reaching influence when you read this amazing piece by Matt Taibbi:

The American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes," Obama promised. "There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period."

Two years later, Dodd-Frank is groaning on its deathbed. The giant reform bill turned out to be like the fish reeled in by Hemingway's Old Man—no sooner caught than set upon by sharks that strip it to nothing long before it ever reaches the shore. In a furious below-the-radar effort at gutting the law—roundly despised by Washington's Wall Street paymasters—a troop of water-carrying Eric Cantor Republicans are speeding nine separate bills through the House, all designed to roll back the few genuinely toothy portions left in Dodd-Frank. With the Quislingian covert assistance of Democrats, both in Congress and in the White House, those bills could pass through the House and the Senate with little or no debate, with simple floor votes—by a process usually reserved for things like the renaming of post offices or a nonbinding resolution celebrating Amelia Earhart's birthday.

So maybe they stop this. It's an election year and a little sunlight might make them think twice. But it won't be the end. As we've seen with JP Morgan's recent little 2 billion (and counting) boo boo, the regulators aren't regulating and even if they did, it's entirely probable that the Volcker Rule wouldn't have applied. I don't know what to do about this and I haven't heard anyone come up with anything systemic that this Congress will pass or that this Supreme Court will allow to stand. It's a paralyzing problem, which is why we avoid thinking about it too much, I suppose. (Taibbi has a fun idea that certainly can't hurt.)

It's also why I feel nearly frantic at the idea of the Democrats eagerly buying into the idea of Grand Bargain redux as we face the so-called "fiscal cliff" after the election. I see very little reason to believe any of the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire. That ship sailed when the Democrats didn't bother extending only the middle class cuts early in Obama's term. If a deal is struck—a big if—the most probable outcome I see is for the Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dumb of deficit reduction, Simpson and Bowles, to make a comeback (they're already in tryouts) and for the "deal" to be tragic cuts to the safety net in exchange for "tax reform."

"Tax reform" is commonly understood by just about everyone to mean "lower the rates, broaden the base, close loopholes, end tax expenditures." Now go read that Taibbi article about the fate of Dodd-Frank if you haven't already and tell me just how likely you think it is that such "reform" will end up being a worthwhile exchange for cutting vital programs and America's safety net. Right. Those "reforms", to the extent they attempt to raise any taxes on corporations and millionaires, will be quickly dispatched to the dustbin. Indeed, it's likely that the only people to see their taxes raised are those at the lower end of that broad base.

So, even though it's vitally needed, any kind of financial or tax "reform" in the near future is going to be subject to this tidal wave of money that's overtaken our political system. When you have the level of income inequality and corporate profits we have today, buying the political system is a very cheap investment. Until that problem is solved, I'm afraid that any "balanced approach" that puts the well being of average Americans on the table in exchange for shared sacrifice from the one percent is a fools errand.

The Bogus Uproar Over Obama's "Polish Death Camp" Gaffe

| Wed May 30, 2012 4:43 PM EDT
President Obama and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland in May 2012.

For most Americans, referring to a Nazi death camp located in Poland as a "Polish death camp" makes clear sense. That it was a Nazi camp simply goes without saying. To my knowledge, virtually no American has ever blamed Poland itself for a part in the death camps. After generations of films, video games, and novels about World War II and the Holocaust, Americans are as familiar with the Nazi camps as we are with our own Civil War. So with President Obama referring to a Nazi camp as a "Polish death camp" we understand clearly that he is referencing the location of the Nazi camp, not implying that it was somehow Polish.

Or we would, if it wasn't the president, and this wasn't an election year, and our political discourse was slightly more elevated than it actually is.

Writing at The Daily Beast, David Frum argues that Obama was out of line:

The president intended to honor Jan Karski, a Polish-born U.S. citizen, who died in 2000. Karski was a hero of the Polish resistance, the courier who brought to the outside world the irrefutable proof of the Nazi extermination campaign against the Jews of Eastern Europe. But instead of honoring Karski, the president stumbled into the single most offensive thing he could possibly have said on this occasion.

Here's what the president said:

Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.

Outside of election season it's hard to see how Frum and other commentators could get so worked up about a statement like this.

On the one hand, the Poles themselves have been extremely sensitive over this phrase for years now. They've issued public statements discouraging its use, even going so far as to request that UNESCO change the name of Auschwitz Concentration Camp to former Nazi German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. In all fairness, president Obama likely should have been aware of this. The president is diplomat-in-chief, and he's visited Poland in the past (where he received one of the most unique diplomatic gifts of all time). It's not that much to expect the American president to do his homework.

And yet the uproar over these statements seems to imply that the president was being purposefully insulting at worst, and hopelessly ignorant at best. The right is doing its level best to affect the same outrage as the Polish people, using the cultural sensitivities of a European country to attack the president—an irony that I'm still struggling with.

Even the Polish reaction to this strikes me as overwrought. There were death camps set up by the Nazis all across Europe, and these are often referenced as either Nazi death camps, by their individual names such as Treblinka or Auschwitz, or by their geographical location. Yet even if the camp is referred to as a Polish or Hungarian death camp, everyone talking about it knows full well that it was run by the Nazis.

Respecting the sensitivity of the Polish people is one thing—and I think it's absolutely fair to respect Polish wishes and stop using the phrase to as great an extent as possible. They've suffered untold hardships, first at the hands of Nazi Germany, then at the hands of the Soviets. It's not so hard to say "Nazi death camps located in Poland" after all.

But turning honest mistakes into petty feuds is another thing altogether. And either way, this gaffe and the overblown reaction to it are an excellent distraction from actual issues, feeding the American political circus yet another non-troversy to keep the proverbial show rolling.

It's Too Late for the Economy to Help Obama

| Wed May 30, 2012 1:15 PM EDT

This article in The New Yorker sounds the alarm about the economy not working in Obama's favor for the November election. I really doubt the economy will have any beneficial effect for the president unless something dramatic happens. It's been my personal observation that most people are about a year to 18 months behind the reality of economic performance—at least on an emotional level. (There is a lot of varying data and analysis on this, so take it for what it is.) But it's getting late, and even if the economy were to dramatically improve in the next few months I doubt very seriously that anyone is going to be persuaded or change his or her vote because of it. This has been a painful slog and people have seen too many "green shoots" that turned brown to have any trust in numbers at this point.

This is where we stood as of a couple of weeks ago in terms of voters' perceptions, and I'd be very surprised if anything changes substantially in the next few months:

Partisans continue to differ sharply in their perceptions of the tone of economic news. Republicans and independents are much more likely than Democrats to say they are hearing mostly bad news about the economy. More than four-in-ten Republicans (44%) and 36% of independents say this, compared with 19% of Democrats. About one-in-ten Democrats (11%) say they are hearing mostly good news about the economy, compared with 3% of Republicans and 5% of independents.
In April, nearly twice as many Democrats (20%) said they were hearing mostly good news. More Democrats now say they are hearing mixed news about the economy (69%) than did so in April (59%). Opinions among Republicans and independents are little changed from one month ago.

It doesn't look as if very many Americans think it's "Morning in America."

It would be nice to think that the two presidential contenders will fight it out on the basis of competing visions of how to fix things, but from the looks of it, we're going to have a monumental mudfest instead. And maybe that says more than might immediately be obvious—maybe it says that neither of them has a vision of how to fix things. Or maybe they disagree less than we think.

Heather Digby Parton is guest blogging this week while Kevin Drum is on vacation.

Occupy the Pews

| Wed May 30, 2012 5:00 AM EDT

It looks like it's going to be a long hot summer. The Christian News Service reports:

Having organized 43 plaintiffs—including the archdioceses of New York and Washington and the University of Notre Dame—to file 12 different lawsuits against the Obama administration last Monday alleging the administration is violating the religious freedom of Catholics, the Catholic bishops of the United States are now preparing Catholics for what may be the most massive campaign of civil disobedience in this country since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and early 1960s.

"Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified," the bishops state in a document developed to be inserted into church bulletins in Catholic parishes around the country in June…

The bulletin insert reminds Catholic parishioners that the bishops have called for "A Fortnight of Freedom"—which they have described as "a special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action"—to take place from June 21 to July 4.

In case you're wondering, Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches has been covering the "Fortnight for Freedom" for a while. (I'm still wondering if anyone in America will understand what a fortnight is…) They may be disappointed in the turn out, however. While I'm sure there are plenty of conservative Catholics who will join the cause, it's not a majority opinion among the flock:

Catholics overall are generally more supportive than the general public of the contraception coverage requirements. Nearly two-thirds (65%) say that publicly held corporations should be held to this requirement. Roughly 6-in-10 report that religiously affiliated social service agencies, colleges, hospitals, and privately owned small businesses should be required to provide health care plans that cover contraception. Less than half (47%) say churches and other places of worship should be required to provide this coverage.

White Catholics make few distinctions between churches and other religiously affiliated employers. Less than half of white Catholics believe that churches (43%), religiously affiliated colleges (43%), social service agencies (44%), and hospitals (48%) should be required to include contraception coverage in their insurance plans. However, a majority of white Catholics believe that non-religiously affiliated employers, including privately owned small businesses (55%) and public corporations (61%), should be required to provide employees with contraception coverage.

They may be able to muster a campaign of civil disobedience with the help of evangelical protestants but the problem is that the Catholic Church is the church that employs large numbers of people in non-church institutions. On the other hand, they signaled some time back that they were going to enlist like-minded private employers in their fight (a signal that Roy Blunt heard loud and clear when he filed his Amendment allowing a "conscience" opt-out in the name of religious freedom.)

It remains to be seen if this will turn into massive civil disobedience. And it's hard to know exactly how they define such a thing. But it certainly sounds as if it's something beyond employers refusing to comply with the Obamacare rules. I can hardly wait to see what they have in mind.

Heather Digby Parton is guest blogging this week while Kevin Drum is on vacation.