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WHILE ALL EYES ARE ON UKRAINE: China Challenges Obama’s Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup.

Related: A rising China shadows Obama’s Asia trip. “China is on the move, backed up by a very real military buildup. President Obama is on the move, too, traveling to Asia to breathe life into a strategic ‘pivot’ that is being undermined by his own proposed cuts to the Pentagon budget.”

IN RELATED NEWS, U.S. FACEBOOK SITE UNDER COMPLETE CONTROL OF OBAMA ALLIES: Russian Facebook site under ‘complete control’ of Putin allies, says ex-CEO.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: How the revolving door lets Hollywood shape Obama’s trade agenda. “The revolving door between industry groups and the Obama administration’s trade shop has been busy lately. Earlier this month, we learned that assistant US Trade Representative Stan McCoy has accepted a new job with the Motion Picture Association of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, a Hollywood lobbying group. The announcement came a few weeks after the Obama administration announced it was naming a former software industry lobbyist to be deputy U.S. trade representative.” Yet another argument for imposing my Revolving-Door Surtax.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Obamacare: Debate Over? High enrollments offer no assurance that this plan will work. A lot of those “enrollments” — in Georgia, half of them — remain unpaid.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGE STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Moving in with parents becomes more common for the middle-aged: The number of Californians 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes has surged in recent years, reflecting the grim economic aftermath of the Great Recession. Wait, I thought we were in the sunny uplands of the Obama Recovery. . . .

I CAN’T PREDICT THE FUTURE, BUT I CAN TAKE A HINT: The Hill: Obama taps veteran of Clinton investigations for chief counsel.

President Obama on Monday said he has selected W. Neil Eggleston to become chief counsel, adding the expertise of a veteran attorney who was involved in some of the most heated legal battles of the Clinton administration.

Eggleston, a white-collar defender who is now at Kirkland & Ellis, will replace departing White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler in mid-May.

“Neil brings extraordinary expertise, credentials, and experience, to our team,” Obama said in a statement. “He has a passion for public service, is renowned for his conscientiousness and foresight, and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.”

Eggleston worked as a White House lawyer under Clinton, handling politically explosive issues like the Whitewater controversy, and later represented the former president during the investigation into the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Lawyering up.

UPDATE: From the comments: “The term ‘war time consigliere’ springs to mind.”

HE’S NOT ASHAMED OF WHAT HE DID: Unlike Clinton (and, I suspect, Obama) George W. Bush Liberal About Disclosing White House Records.

BASICALLY, THEY’RE TOOLS: Sharyl Attkisson: CBS News too “ideologically entrenched” to air stories critical of the Obama administration.

HOW CONVENIENT: With Keystone XL’s delay, another controversial issue hits pause before the midterms. Maybe we should have just delayed Obama’s entire presidency until after he left office.

JOEL KOTKIN: Stop favoring investors, speculators over middle class.

I, like most members of the middle class, particularly in California, just paid a tax bill that seemed less like my fair share than a shakedown by the Mafia. Increasingly, for people who run small businesses or earn a decent income, the tax bite is becoming ever more like in Europe, with total bills in high-tax states like ours reaching upward of 40 percent. It’s like paying the bill for a big dinner without eating the food – we get hammered like Swedes but without the free education, health care and other benefits of a more conventional welfare state.

Most galling is that, while the middle class has endured ever-higher taxes, those who have benefited most from the Bernanke-Obama “recovery” continue to get the biggest tax breaks. This is largely the investor class, who have been able to reap the benefits of the stock-market boom and, in some areas, including coastal California, the steep rise in real estate prices.

Of course, the rich and corporations have all sorts of ways to avoid taxation – like offshore accounts – but the real class divider is capital gains. Today, long-term capital gains are taxed at the federal level at a maximum 20 percent, while the small-business owner, writer, consultant or professional, if they do relatively well, are stuck with income tax rates up to 39.6 percent, approaching twice that level.

Overall, you don’t have to be super-rich to be hit. The portion of the tax burden absorbed by the top 20 percent of earners has grown – a California family with an income of $150,000 would qualify – from 65 percent to 90 percent. Even worse off are younger families, which generally have less to invest and have been stuck with a tepid job market; from 2007-10, households of people under age 40 have seen their net worth drop, while older Americans have now recovered most of their losses from the economic downturn.

You know what else helps investors and speculators but not the middle class? Open borders. Plus:

[I]ronically, one wonders where the class warriors of the Left are on this. They have become increasingly bold (or honest) in stating that we should continue raising taxes on the middle and upper-middle classes, as a recent New Republic piece suggests, but seem less than vehement about equalizing taxes on capital gains and other income.

This may have something to do with the shift in backing for “progressive” causes coming from the very people – Wall Street traders, venture capitalists and tech executives – who benefit most from the capital gains scam. The confluence of big money and populist rhetoric is epitomized by New York’s powerful senior senator, Charles Schumer, who has made a career of both raising money from Wall Street financiers and defending preferential treatment for their outsized profits. Their growing power over the party of ever-expanding government leaves only one place to finance Democrats’ ambitious plans – the middle and upper-middle classes.

I don’t hold all that much hope that reform will be pushed by most Republicans either, since they for far longer have been the party of accumulated wealth. But, as far as I can see, it is mainly conservatives, such as retiring Congressman Dave Camp, who seem ready to embrace the notion that taxes should be equalized between income and investment within the context of a flatter revenue system.

While we’re at it, can we repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts?

THE RISE OF “MEDICAL HOMELESSNESS” UNDER OBAMACARE: ConsumerWatch: Some Covered California Patients Say They Can’t See A Doctor. Thus illustrating the difference between “coverage” and “care.”

JOHN FUND ON HARRY REID, ET AL.: The Increasing Desperation of Democrats: Slanders and lies may be part of a deliberate strategy to drive up turnout in November.

Increasingly, journalists who cover the White House are concluding that the smears are part of a conscious strategy to distract voters from Obamacare, the sluggish economy, and foreign-policy reverses; the attacks are intended, the thinking goes, to drive up resentment and hence turnout among the Democratic base.

Major Garrett, the CBS White House correspondent, has talked with White House aides who confirm that the administration is working from the theory of “stray voltage,” as developed by former White House senior adviser David Plouffe. “The theory goes like this,” Garrett wrote. “Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness,”

Deliberately misstating information about key issues in order to keep certain issues before the public is often a premeditated strategy. “The tactic represents one more step in the embrace of cynicism that has characterized President Obama’s journey in office,” John Dickerson wrote at Slate. “Facts, schmacts. As long as people are talking about an issue where my party has an advantage with voters, it’s good.”

Frank James of NPR is another mainstream journalist who has concluded that the use of incendiary rhetoric is part of an electoral strategy.

If mainstream journalists have noticed, will they play along, or call them out?

HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Ukraine threatens to undermine Obama’s delayed Asia ‘pivot.’ I’m pretty sure this isn’t an accident, either. At least, you know the Chinese are happy about the way Vladimir is keeping attention pinned on Eastern Europe.

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: The Administration Isn’t Stonewalling To Hide Good News:

It comes as no surprise today that Obama’s defenders are sparing no invective for Fox News in the wake of that survey. But it was the president, not Fox News, who repeatedly and knowingly misled the American people with two infamous Obamacare lies: “You can keep your health insurance if you like it. Period. You can keep your doctor. Period.” For better or worse, Obama will forever be known as the president who chose repeatedly to propagate two falsehoods. Those two lies were profoundly significant because they were designed to hide the truth about how Obamacare would affect the daily lives and health of hundreds of millions of Americans.

Since it became painfully clear in 2013 that Obama had lied about Obamacare since 2009, it has been increasingly difficult for many Americans to continue accepting at face value his statements on other major public issues. In both the Benghazi and IRS scandals, for example, Obama claimed to have known nothing about them until they were reported in the national media.

But if that were true, why has the president’s attorney general and so many other of his most prominent appointees withheld thousands of documents subpoenaed by Congress and requested by journalists under the Freedom of Information Act? Are there passages in those withheld documents that make it clear Obama knew much more than he has admitted?

Such questions go to the heart of the issue of the president’s probity. If he lied about keeping health insurance plans and doctors, why should fellow citizens believe his claim that nothing else could have been done to save four Americans in Benghazi, or that there isn’t “a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS? That is Obama’s legacy and his burden.

“President Asterisk,” indeed.

ON OFFENSE: GOP’s bid to take Senate moves to Oregon, which is ripe for ObamaCare attack. The Oregon rollout has certainly been a debacle.

FREE SPEECH IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: War On Free Speech: Starkville, Mississippi Aldermen Want Twitter Parodist Arrested.

“RAPE CULTURE” IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: A painting of President Barack Obama by a shock artist with a rape fetish hung in the White House for at least two years. But the Churchill bust was sent packing.

MICKEY KAUS: Obamacare’s Core Flaw?

Risk-filled sump, update: If everyone knew the risk pool on the Obamacare exchanges would be sicker-than-normal — as the last sentence of this NYT piece suggests — then why throw the hapless unsubsidized people (e.g. singles making $46,000) into that pool, where their policies will inevitably be more expensive, with more restrictions, than if they were in a more normal pool? Did Obamacare’s designers think they’d be happy about it? This seems like the programs’ core flaw, no? It’s why, despite all the seemingly impressive numbers, Obamacare leaves a bad taste. … $350,000 a year lawyers with fancy employer plans get care from the best doctors and check into Sloan Kettering if they need it, while even previously insured $46,000-a-year suckers can’t, and are told that’s just the price of insuring the uninsured.

ObamaCare: Of, by, and for the 1%!

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): ‘This thing is working’? Widows of Alabama county workers dropped from health plans.

As President Obama touts rising enrollment in ObamaCare and declares “this thing is working,” one Alabama county has reported another negative side effect from the law — widows of county workers getting dropped from their insurance.

A report by Huntsville-based WHNT said that more than a dozen widows of retired Madison County employees lost their coverage earlier this year.

They originally had been covered under the county’s self-insured plan. But, according to WHNT, officials learned that it would have been too expensive to keep providing that coverage and comply with the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandates.

The county instead joined a statewide network that dozens of county governments already are in. That plan, though, does not offer coverage to husbands and wives when their government employee spouses die.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Er, but where’s my damn omelet?

PAR FOR THE COURSE: Obama signs Ted Cruz bill into law, but says he won’t enforce it. “Obama frequently criticized President George W. Bush for such signing statements during his 2008 campaign.”

JAMES TARANTO: Shut Up, He Explained Again: Obama continues a debate he insists is over.

They say it’s the sincerest form of flattery. At a press conference yesterday President Obama asserted that when it comes to ObamaCare, the Republican Party “is going through the stages of grief–anger and denial and all that stuff–and we’re not at acceptance yet.” We used the same gag in October, though ObamaCare supporters were the butt of our joke. And we were recycling our own material: We also invoked the Elisabeth Kübler Ross “stages of grief” way back in November 2000 in reference to Al Gore’s refusal to concede his loss to George W. Bush.

Blogress Ann Althouse astutely observes that Obama skipped “bargaining,” perhaps “because he doesn’t want his party to have to bargain with the other side.” . . .

Another adjective that comes to mind is “unpresidential.” Obama, after all, isn’t president of only Democrats, nor are only Republicans opposed to ObamaCare or worried about its consequences. To those who see an inconsistency in this column’s criticizing Obama for using a gag we’ve employed in the past, let us clarify things with a Shermanesque answer to a question nobody is asking: We promise that we will never run for, or serve as, president.

Would that Obama had given such a pledge. And kept it.

SO THEY’VE GONE FROM DENIAL TO ACCEPTANCE, THEN: Dem Sees ObamaCare Crisis: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch on Obamacare’s election toll: It’ll bury Dems.

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: Spengler: It isn’t that Putin is a genius, it’s that we are complete idiots. Well, he’s got Obama and the EU’s number. They don’t have his.

THE HILL: CBO: Obama budget to add $6.6T in deficits.

OBAMA’S THIRD TERM? Here’s What Drone Attacks in America Would Look Like.

THE NATIONAL INTEREST: The Tragic Decline of American Foreign Policy. I think it’s called “smart diplomacy.”

Related: John McCain: Obama lets ‘bad people’ fill U.S. void, says Jimmy Carter was better.

JAMES TARANTO: Judd Gregg’s Warning About Obama’s Politicization Of Census Bureau Was Prescient.

Gregg served out his Senate term retiring after the 2010 election, when another Republican, Kelly Ayotte, was elected as his successor. The Democrats eventually got their 60th senator: In April, Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter switched parties, and in July, Minnesota’s Al Franken was seated after a prolonged recount. The Democratic supermajority lasted only seven months, until Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown was seated after winning a special election occasioned by Ted Kennedy’s death. That was long enough to push ObamaCare through over united Republican opposition.

Now ObamaCare is providing evidence that Gregg was right to worry about politicization of the census. . . .

This isn’t the first instance of political shenanigans at the Obama Census Bureau. In November 2013 the New York Post’s John Crudele reported that in the run-up to the 2012 election, the bureau put out labor statistics that, “according to a reliable source, were manipulated.” The stats showed a decline in unemployment to 7.8% in September 2012 from 8.1% in August. . . .

As for McArdle, she acknowledges that the earlier census health-insurance reports “probably overstate the true number of the uninsured” and that the new method may be better. But she asks: “Why, dear God, oh, why, would you change it in the one year in the entire history of the republic that it is most important for policy makers, researchers and voters to be able to compare the number of uninsured to those in prior years?”

Hey, good question.

With an obvious answer.

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Ashe Schow: Dry cleaners press Obama over ‘gender-gap’ rhetoric.

America’s dry cleaners aren’t happy that President Obama used them as an example in remarks last week about the economic gap between the sexes.

They say the disparity in dry cleaning bills is more complex than the systemized discrimination Obama hinted at in his April 8 remarks about the so-called “pay gap” between the sexes.

As an industry, dry cleaners do not charge more for a woman’s shirt than a man’s shirt, they charge more for a hand ironed shirt than they do a machine pressed shirt. If you check your own dry cleaning bill, you’ll find that YOU pay more for the laundering and finishing of your hand ironed tuxedo shirt, than you do for the automated processing of your everyday traditional dress shirt! The price is in the math as calculated by the labor required not the gender of the client!

Simple math. Hand ironing takes more time and requires more skill, and therefore costs the cleaner more to produce. Because it costs more to produce, he charges more for the work.

But I doubt this distinction would make it into Obama’s rhetoric, given his propensity to continue using the misleading figure that women only make 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.

Nope. If a lie works with gullible, low-information voters — which is clearly Obama’s perception of the women he’s targeting — then he’ll stick with it.

THE ONION DISTILLS THE OBAMA ERA AS ONLY IT CAN: FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States.

Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a “highly credible terrorist threat,” the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord.

Multiple intelligence agencies confirmed that the militant Islamist organization and its numerous affiliates intend to carry out a massive, coordinated plan to stand aside and watch America’s increasingly rapid decline, with terrorist operatives across the globe reportedly mobilizing to take it easy, relax, and savor the spectacle as it unfolds.

“We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair,” FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano told the assembled press corps. “If this plan succeeds, it will leave behind a nation with a completely dysfunctional economy, collapsing infrastructure, and a catastrophic health crisis afflicting millions across the nation. We want to emphasize that this danger is very real.”

“And unfortunately, based on information we have from intelligence assets on the ground, this plot is already well under way,” he added.

But then, in Obama’s America, the line between parody and news is almost invisible.

#WARONWOMEN: Elizabeth Warren Reveals Obama Advisor’s Sexist Comments Toward Her.

SPYING: Obama: NSA Must Reveal Bugs Like Heartbleed, Unless They Help the NSA.

LIFE BEYOND PARODY IN OBAMA’S AMERICA (CONT’D): Income Inequality Institute Will Pay Paul Krugman $25,000 Per Month. For unclear, but “modest,” efforts.

ABUSE OF POWER: Breaking: New Emails Show Lois Lerner Contacted DOJ About Prosecuting Conservative Groups. Of course she did. And of course the DOJ is involved.

“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal. No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.”

Muzzling political opponents is an across-the-board priority for this administration.

WELL, WHAT BOOKS HAVEN’T THEY COOKED? Is Obama Cooking the Census Books for Obamacare?

For several months now, whenever the topic of enrollment in the Affordable Care Act came up, I’ve been saying that it was too soon to tell its ultimate effects. We don’t know how many people have paid for their new insurance policies, or how many of those who bought policies were previously uninsured. For that, I said, we will have to wait for Census Bureau data, which offer the best assessment of the insurance status of the whole population. Other surveys are available, but the samples are smaller, so they’re not as good; the census is the gold standard. Unfortunately, as I invariably noted, these data won’t be available until 2015.

I stand corrected: These data won’t be available at all. Ever.

No, I’m not kidding. I wish I was. The New York Times reports that the Barack Obama administration has changed the survey so that we cannot directly compare the numbers on the uninsured over time.

If the numbers were good, we’d know about it.

Reminder: Obama moved Census control to the White House early in his first term.

JAMES TARANTO: Race Against Time: Is there a high-minded justification for Dems’ divisive rhetoric?

This column probably isn’t the first to notice a recent intensification of liberal and Democratic rhetoric about race. Last month Paul Ryan was the object of a Two Minutes Hate for some comments on the culture of poverty “in our inner cities,” which, as The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial, were no different in substance from things President Obama had recently said.

This Sunday, as Politico notes, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that “to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.” He did allow that “not all” House Republicans are racist, though he didn’t specify how many or which ones he thinks are.

Last Wednesday Eric Holder, in a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, complained that he had faced “unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity,” ABC News reports. “Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

Although Holder didn’t specifically accuse his adversaries of racial motives, others, including Crowley, assumed that was what he meant. Politico reports that in her interview with Israel, “Crowley said that Holder believes ‘the treatment he has received in the House . . . would not have happened if he were not African-American.”

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, appearing on Sharpton’s MSNBC show, went so far as to suggest that Republicans had been soft on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius because she’s white, as the Daily Caller reports incredulously.

For this rise in the racial temperature we blame not global warming but political cooling. As November approaches, Democrats face not only an unfavorable election map but an increasingly chilly electorate. From last month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza pulled presidential approval numbers for four key Democratic constituencies. Obama was below 50% among three of those groups: single women (48%, to 45% disapproval), Hispanics (49% to 46%), and voters under 30 (45% to 48%). Only among blacks was approval still strong, 78% to 12% disapproval.

By way of comparison, in 2012 Obama won the votes of 67% of single women, 71% of Hispanics, 60% of under-30 voters and 93% of blacks. It’s reasonable to surmise that the racial appeals are a reaction to this desperate political situation, an effort to minimize Democratic losses by motivating the party’s base to turn out.

My advice to Republicans is to target the Dem base with ads showing how they’ve been betrayed. The truth should be enough to get them to stay home.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: The Case for a Little Sedition: The Bundy standoff reminds us that government is our servant, not our master.

A great deal of the discussion about the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada has focused on the legal questions — the litigation between Mr. Bundy and the BLM, his eccentric (i.e., batzoid) legal rationales, etc. But as Rich Lowry and others have argued, this is best understood not as a legal proceeding but as an act of civil disobedience. John Hinderaker and Rich both are correct that as a legal question Mr. Bundy is legless. But that is largely beside the point.

Of course the law is against Cliven Bundy. How could it be otherwise? The law was against Mohandas Gandhi, too, when he was tried for sedition; Mr. Gandhi himself habitually was among the first to acknowledge that fact, refusing to offer a defense in his sedition case and arguing that the judge had no choice but to resign, in protest of the perfectly legal injustice unfolding in his courtroom, or to sentence him to the harshest sentence possible, there being no extenuating circumstances for Mr. Gandhi’s intentional violation of the law. Henry David Thoreau was happy to spend his time in jail, knowing that the law was against him, whatever side justice was on.

But not all dissidents are content to submit to what we, in the Age of Obama, still insist on quaintly calling “the rule of law.” And there is a price to pay for that, too: King George not only would have been well within his legal rights to hang every one of this nation’s seditious Founding Fathers, he would have been duty-bound to do so, the keeping of the civil peace being the first responsibility of the civil authority. Every fugitive slave, and every one of the sainted men and women who harbored and enabled them, was a law-breaker, and who can blame them if none was content to submit to what passed for justice among the slavers? . . .

If the conservatives in official Washington want to do something other than stand by and look impotent, they might consider pressing for legislation that would oblige the federal government to divest itself of 1 percent of its land and other real estate each year for the foreseeable future through an open auction process. Even the Obama administration has identified a very large portfolio of office buildings and other federal holdings that are unused or under-used. By some estimates, superfluous federal holdings amount to trillions of dollars in value. Surely not every inch of that 87 percent of Nevada under the absentee-landlordship of the federal government is critical to the national interest. Perhaps Mr. Bundy would like to buy some land where he can graze his cattle.

Prudential measures do not solve questions of principle. So where does that leave us with our judgment of the Nevada insurrection? Perhaps with an understanding that while Mr. Bundy’s stand should not be construed as a general template for civic action, it is nonetheless the case that, in measured doses, a little sedition is an excellent thing.

I think the problem is that the government hasn’t gotten enough pushback. The phrase “the country wouldn’t stand for it” has gone out of the political lexicon. I think it needs to go back in.

It does seem as if we’re seeing more resistance.

WAR ON WOMEN: Obama talks about pay gap, but then punishes working mothers. “New rules issued by Obama’s Treasury Department force many department employees with kids to burn a vacation day or take unpaid leave whenever snow shuts down the district. For a childless worker, on the other hand, a snow day means a free day off. The rules behind this cruel dynamic make some sense, but not if you care about helping women achieve pay equity.” Mitch McConnell and Kelly Ayotte want to fix, but Obama is talking veto.

UPDATE: From the comments:

There’s something even more revealing. Yesterday, I did my taxes with Turbotax. Part of the warnings that come with using the home office deduction are what that room cannot be used for. One was that it couldn’t contain a crib for a baby.

If a young mother is running a business out of her home, why shouldn’t she be able to have that baby sleeping alongside her as she works? How does that differ from having the baby in the next room?

I’m sure that idea flows from the nasty, Democratic-tilting little minds of the IRS rather than formal legislation. But it also offers the Republicans an excellent opportunity to offer practical help. Pass legislation that allows child-centered activities for either parent in a home office. Not only allow it to be OK, mandate that it is OK.

It’s not a bad idea.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Coalition of the Disappointed: Obama fires up racial and gender resentments to get out the vote. Telling, isn’t it, that at this point in his Presidency he doesn’t have any actual, you know, achievements to stress?

If I were the GOP, I’d be targeting Obama’s base with ads and messaging stressing how much worse off they are than they were six years ago. It wouldn’t be hard. That said, the GOP hasn’t been very smart about such things — ironically, because they’re afraid of being called racists.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama’s War On White House Women: We’d be closer to pay equity if Democrats would stop cheating their own female staffers. “If I were the GOP, I’d start running attack ads in these legislators’ home states, quoting President Obama and asking why these Democrats hate women. It just might work — and it would certainly drive home a useful lesson about bogus statistics. Which President Obama — who is now even attacking unequal dry cleaning bills — could use.”

HEADLINES FOR THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Marc Ambinder: If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?

Well, the ground he’s treading has been treaded on by me before. See also this video.

But isn’t it funny that this is happening under a President who recently mocked Mitt Romney for a 1980s approach?

FRUITS OF THE #DROPDROPBOX CAMPAIGN: UC Irvine Should Immediately Rescind Its Invitation to 2014 Commencement Speaker (and War Criminal) Barack Obama. “Unmanned drone strikes have increased rapidly under the Obama administration, killing at least 2,400 people over the last five years. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that as many as 951 civilians, including 200 children, have been killed by Obama drone strikes in Pakistan alone. Obama has authorized the assassination of multiple U.S. citizens via drone strike.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama’s War On White House Women: We’d be closer to pay equity if Democrats would stop cheating their own female staffers. “If I were the GOP, I’d start running attack ads in these legislators’ home states, quoting President Obama and asking why these Democrats hate women. It just might work — and it would certainly drive home a useful lesson about bogus statistics. Which President Obama — who is now even attacking unequal dry cleaning bills — could use.”

JAMES TARANTO: Meet the New Boss: Sebelius steps down, and ObamaCare supporters pretend to rejoice.

We observed in October that a new HHS nominee’s confirmation hearings would subject ObamaCare to political scrutiny, which Democrats were understandably anxious to avoid. That’s still true. “There are going to be some troublemakers who use the confirmation of the next person charged with overseeing Obamacare to raise hell, much as they did last fall, about the law,” writes Scott.

The way we’d have put it is that critics will use the hearings to raise questions about ObamaCare. To stigmatize opposition lawmakers as “troublemakers” raising “hell” is reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, where dissent was labeled “hooliganism,” a term that has come back into vogue in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein hails the success of the Five Year Plan: “Obamacare has won. And that’s why Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius can resign.” If Sebelius had quit during what Klein calls the “catastrophic launch”–see what we mean?–it would have been a sign of White House “panic” and “made it harder to save the law,” Klein argues.

It’s surely true that the immediate political risk of Sebelius’s resignation is considerably less now than it would have been then. In October it might have emboldened vulnerable Senate Democrats to abandon ObamaCare or at least press for serious legislative fixes. It’s late for that now. By maintaining party unity this long, Obama probably bought enough time to assure that Congress won’t threaten what is invariably called his “signature legislative achievement” this year.

Can blotting your copybook count as a “signature?”

A TAX DAY REMINDER: In 2009, Barack Obama “Joked” About Auditing His Enemies.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama’s War On White House Women: We’d be closer to pay equity if Democrats would stop cheating their own female staffers. “If I were the GOP, I’d start running attack ads in these legislators’ home states, quoting President Obama and asking why these Democrats hate women. It just might work — and it would certainly drive home a useful lesson about bogus statistics. Which President Obama — who is now even attacking unequal dry cleaning bills — could use.”

BATTLESPACE PREP: Don’t Worry About Hillary’s Health — She’s Got A Great Doctor!

There’s even a bit of subtle Obama-distancing: “As close as he is to Mrs. Clinton, Dr. Hyman has not collaborated with the current first lady. He said Michelle Obama has been overly influenced by the food industry on her ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative to combat childhood obesity.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: How Obama’s Justice Department Selectively Blocks Mergers By Republican CEOs.

HOPEY-CHANGEY: Sharyl Attkisson: “Chilling effect” from Obama administration on journalists. “Attkisson told Kurtz that political considerations were at play, but the bigger issue is the ‘chilling effect’ of the Obama administration on journalists, but also ‘corporate interest’ pressure as well, which don’t tend to balance themselves out but add together. Kurtz wondered aloud whether her growing reputation as a ‘conservative’ journalist wasn’t an attempt to discredit Attkisson, and she agrees. When she went after the Bush administration, Attkisson noted, no one was calling her a ‘progressive’ journalist — and her CBS bosses were delighted to run those stories.”

The political/corporate synergy of the Obama Administration is its greatest danger, and doesn’t get enough attention for precisely that reason.

WE MIGHT AS WELL REPEAL THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND GO TO A SPOILS SYSTEM; THEY’VE BEEN POLITICIZED ALREADY: Complaint suggests HUD may have inappropriately promoted Obamacare. “Political priorities do not authorize agencies or the White House to violate appropriations law by taking agencies off of their congressionally mandated tasks.”

NO. NEXT QUESTION? The Hill: Is Obama Enforcing The Law?

Republicans are ratcheting up accusations that President Obama is playing fast and loose with enforcing federal statutes.

On issues ranging from marijuana legalization and criminal sentencing to healthcare and immigration, the president’s lieutenants have taken actions that critics say violate his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

The administration has sought to deflect the criticism, claiming not only that the president has acted within his power, but that an obstructive Congress has left him no other choice.

In testimony Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Obama’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder, claimed “a vast amount” of prosecutorial discretion in how the Justice Department enforces federal laws.

“I do think that the policy pronouncements that I’ve made in the recent months are consistent with the law and also are consistent with good law enforcement,” Holder said.

The remarks drew fresh criticism from those who say it reveals a flawed legal view that has served as the basis for executive overstep.

“The testimony reflected the near absolute view the administration has toward its powers,” said Jonathan Turley, a liberal-minded George Washington University law professor who said he voted for Obama and generally agrees with administration’s policy positions.

“I do not agree that prosecutorial discretion supports the full range of unilateral actions that the administration has taken in these areas,” Turley said.

In Congress, a growing chorus of GOP lawmakers charge the administration with creating federal policy via memo, blowing statutory deadlines and even showing a willingness to ignore laws entirely.

If he were a Republican, the press would be screaming for impeachment. And he’s acting badly enough that, even though he’s a black Democrat, they’re beginning to take some small notice.

SALENA ZITO: Dems’ Latest False Wedge Issue.

Barack Obama has divided this country since the beginning of his presidency. He has not been transformative; instead, he has indulged one special-interest group after another — women in this case, but also blacks, young people, the lesbian-gay-transgender community and Hispanics in earlier instances.

He has governed by sliced-and-diced division, fear, secrecy and resentment, all accented with toothless executive orders used as political weapons.

This is definitely not the transparent and compassionate administration that he promised.

Maybe this is what happens when you over-promise, or maybe this is who Barack Obama is.

Well, there’s not much evidence to the contrary.

DIVORCE, BELTWAY STYLE: The Democratic breakup that exposes Washington’s rotten core.

The documents, which you can read below, did not become available to the rest of us until yesterday. They tell stories not only of a May-December romance gone sour, but of how obscene wealth can be amassed through rent-seeking and influence-peddling in Washington D.C., and of the hoary means by which the princelings of the capital and their consorts maintain and grow that wealth. They tell stories not only of an ugly divorce, but of the power of lobbying, of how one family maneuvered to the center of the nation’s dominant political party, of the transactional relationships, gargantuan self-regard, and empty posturing that insulates, asbestos-like, the D.C. bubble.

That the broken couple now uses the tools of their trade—the phone-call to a friend, the selective leaking of documents, the hiring of attorneys, the launch of a public-relations campaign—against one another is more than ironic. It is fitting. Tony and Heather Podesta reached the pinnacle of wealth and influence in Barack Obama’s Washington. Now they, like he, are in eclipse. . . .

Corporations give to Democratic politicians, avoiding the scrutiny of liberal attack dogs in the media and nonprofit sectors, and enjoying the ego boost that comes with being on the “right side of history.” Then those corporations hire the Podestas to get them out of the Rube Goldberg traps the Democrats have enacted into law. John’s innovation was to establish a corporate-funded think tank where the burdensome policies would be concocted, and whose staff would go on to man the regulatory agencies that put their wool-headed ideas into practice. And to whom do the corporations turn when they find themselves on the receiving end of all this uplift, all this do-goodery, all this progress, hope, and change? Why, to the man in the red Prada loafers, and to his flamboyantly patterned wife.

Read the whole thing.

THE NEGATIVE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING.

“We’re far more inclined to embrace positive information about our own investments than negative information. We often turn that off,” says Tali Sharot, author of “The Optimism Bias: A Tour of Our Irrationally Positive Brain.”

What if the “power of positive thinking” is simply a numbing drumbeat that reinforces the positivity delusion, leading us to make blockheaded business and investment decisions?

So, kind of like the media coverage of the Obama Administration. Plus, a shocking phrase to read in the WaPo: “Old-style American Calvinism, while not a load of laughs, has a lot to do with American wealth and development.”

HANS VAN SPAKOVSKY: For Attorney General Eric Holder, Justice is for Democrats only.

A veteran Justice Department lawyer says that Attorney General Eric Holder has politicized the department in a way he hadn’t seen before. In short, “Holder is the worst person to hold the position of attorney general since the disgraced John Mitchell.”

Now in his sixth year as attorney general, Holder has increasingly tilted the department in an ideological direction. It’s one thing to emphasize President Obama’s legal priorities. It’s quite another to decide not to enforce certain federal laws — such as the ban on marijuana — or urge state attorney generals to refuse to defend local laws on same-sex marriage. Legal changes are achieved through legislation, not through a sudden whim not to enforce them. No other attorney general has acted in this manner.

Holder clearly believes he has the inherent power to politicize his department. When House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte asked him last week whether he believed there were any limits to the administration’s prosecutorial discretion. “There is a vast amount of discretion that a president has — and more specifically that an attorney general has,” Holder responded.

But courts have frequently disagreed with Holder’s interpretations of the law.

Yes, and if the right had the lawfare/legal infrastructure that the left does, that would happen more often. It’s a major lack. Donors and policy entrepreneurs take note.

OF COURSE IT DOES. ALL WORKABLE ALTERNATIVES MUST BE DESTROYED: ObamaCare Threatens The Promise Of Concierge Medicine.

CHECK OUT PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EXPRESSION as he gives Kathleen Sebelius a goodbye hug.

YEAH, WELL, CONSIDERING WHO WE ELECTED AS HER BOSS, MAYBE NOT: Nick Gillespie: We Deserved Better Than Kathleen Sebelius.

Her widely acknowledged incompetence in overseeing the implementation of a major new program is one of the reasons why record numbers of Americans think the government has too much power and have low and declining levels of trust in government to do the right thing. Whether you’re liberal, conservative, or libertarian, that’s not a good thing.

Last fall, when Healthcare.gov went live and crashed again and again, Sebelius’s response was not to take responsibility or explain why the job was botched so badly but to plead for slack from customers. “Hopefully [website users will] give us the same slack they give Apple…. If there’s not quite the operational excellence right away, we’ll continue to press for that,” she told the press. “Apple, you know, has a few more resources than we have to roll out technology, and a few more people who’ve been working on the system for a while, and no one is calling on Apple to not sell devices for a year or to, you know, get out of the business because the whole thing is a failure.”

That reaction helped to explain why HHS botched the job so badly to begin with. The government spent upwards of $677 million on the design and implementation of Healthcare.gov, so Sebelius’s claim wasn’t just misleading but strikingly out of touch with reality. The fact is that if Apple put out rotten products year after year without changing things, they would be out of business, as the rotting hulks of once-giant bankrupted companies can attest. That President Obama parroted the same line didn’t help matters.

No, but it was entirely predictable. And the difference is that we’re free to choose other products if Apple screws up. We have no similar choice regarding governments.

Related: ‘Scared Senate Democrats Demanded Sebelius’ Head.’

AS I’VE NOTED BEFORE, lately the Dems seem extremely concerned about holding their base together. Christian Adams: Obama Lies about Voter Fraud and DOJ Investigations Before Paranoid Audience.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Vermont’s Single-Payer Dream Is Taxpayer Nightmare. “This should be instructive for those who hope — or fear — that Obamacare has all been an elaborate preliminary to a nationwide single-payer system. It isn’t. The politics are impossible, and even if they weren’t, the financing would be unthinkable.”

DO TELL: ‘A New Level of Secrecy and Control’: Jill Abramson on the Obama White House. Lots of unfavorable comparisons to Nixon.

JUST AS ALL CRITICISM OF BARACK OBAMA HAS TO BE RACIST, ALL CRITICISM OF HILLARY WILL BE DEEMED SEXIST: Media Matters writer cries sexism over column critical of Hillary Clinton. That’s how you have to play it, when your candidate can’t withstand normal criticism.

WELL, WOULDN’T YOU? Kerry Pouts. “In a real sense the world view of the left — our enemies are just confused future friends who need to be told how their interests can really align with ours — is coming apart at the seams. The irony is that the Obama officials have fancied themselves as ‘realists.’”

ANOTHER #WARONWOMEN CRISIS FOR OBAMA TO ADDRESS: Does Facebook Make Women Feel Bad About Their Bodies? I blame the Republicans. And the Koch Brothers!

MORE OF THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY,” I GUESS: Top U.S. Diplomats Planted Anti-Israel Stories In Lead-Up To Peace Talk Collapse. Gee, I wonder why Israel doesn’t trust the Obama Administration’s guarantees?

OBAMA’S LATEST #WARONWOMEN FRONT: Dry Cleaning Bills. While Obama focuses on these important issues, the weakling Putin is consigned to devouring Ukraine.

SHE WILL NOT BE MISSED: Kathleen Sebelius Resigns After ObamaCare Debacle.

ANDREW KLAVAN: ObamaCare: Lies, Or Crap? A perfect capstone to Sebelius’s tenure.

IT’S ALWAYS A DOUBLE STANDARD WITH THESE PEOPLE: White House of selfie-loving Obama now frowns on others’ selfies.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S POST-RACIAL AMERICA: Video: Illinois Democrat dismisses GOP colleague as “half” a black person.

OUR POLITICIZED, WEAPONIZED BUREAUCRACY: Key Lawyer in DOJ Office Charging Dinesh D’Souza is Obama Campaign Donor. “David Kennedy is the designated District Election Officer in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York. According to Federal Election Commission records, Kennedy is also a campaign contributor to Barack Obama as well as to John Kerry. Kennedy has also contributed to state campaigns, including New York Democrat Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. . . . Not only is DEO Kennedy a Obama campaign contributor, he also has a reputation as a proud and vocal liberal, not afraid to boast about his ideological worldview.”

A PARTISAN POLITICAL OPERATION, WHOSE POWER TO TAX IS THE POWER TO DESTROY: The Hill: Watchdog finds IRS employees promoted Obama in 2012. “Internal Revenue Service employees encouraged taxpayers to vote for President Obama during his 2012 reelection campaign and disparaged Republicans, a federal ethics watchdog said Wednesday.”

JAMES TARANTO: ObamaCare’s Missing 3.2 Million: A mixed verdict from the Rand Corp.

The Rand study suggests that ObamaCare’s greatest incentive effect–a function of both the mandate tax and the unattractiveness of individual plans–is to nudge employees to opt in to workplace plans. As for the incentives on employers, they go in both directions. But the law’s main disincentive for ESI–the so-called Cadillac tax on expensive plans–doesn’t take effect until 2018.

As for the individual marketplace, its viability is questionable even if the administration’s overall enrollment figures turn out not to be wildly inflated. Because of price controls–a k a the ban on considering “pre-existing conditions” and limits on accounting for age in setting premiums–the exchanges depend on enrolling a substantial proportion of young, healthy people paying inflated premiums.

Preliminary data showed early enrollments skewing much older than the administration had hoped. And while no data are collected on enrollees’ health status, a new study shows, as the New York Times reports, that “people who signed up early for insurance through the new marketplaces were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat pain, depression and H.I.V.”

Not a good demographic to insure.

OUCH: Two New Studies Raise Red Flags On ObamaCare. “Before we get to these studies, though, we should recognize why we need outside organizations to validate White House claims in the first place. The Department of Health and Human Services still has no way to quantify important data about those consumers signing up for health insurance through state and federal exchanges. More than six months after the initial rollout of Obamacare — and four years after the ACA’s passage — the systems designed by HHS still cannot determine basic and critical information about enrollments such as whether a premium payment has been made. Without a premium payment, a sign-up in the web portal does not mean coverage has been extended.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Yes, the Obama SEC was colluding with banks on CDO prosecutions. “Now that this information is public, the SEC should apologize to all of us for its behavior, and promise not to collude with Wall Street again.” Er, at the very least.

SHOCKER: More Puzzling Obamacare Numbers.

In fact, we know that at least one midpoint is quite far from the truth, because there is no way to reconcile the 3.9 million people it says bought exchange policies with the Barack Obama administration’s official data showing that 7.3 million had selected exchange plans by the end of March. Even if we factor in the three days the survey missed — which saw a titanic surge in enrollments — and even if we assume that only 80 percent of the people who selected a plan have actually paid for it, 3.9 million is too small. Well before data collection ended, the administration had already announced that plan signups had hit 6 million. Even with attrition of 20 percent, that should still have yielded 4.8 million marketplace policies in the RAND study. And indeed, 4.8 million is within its margin of error, though at the very high end.

My working hypothesis is that the White House is lying. Because, you know, of experience.

ASHE SCHOW: Democrats Are Losing Ground In The War On Women.

It appears Democrat attempts to use Equal Pay Day as an opportunity to knock Republicans as waging a “war on women” totally fell flat.

For years, President Obama and Democrats have been trotting out the “77 cent” figure to claim that women earn less than men, even in the 21st century. And any conservatives who pointed out that the figure was highly misleading were called anti-women or liars.

But it turns out that much of the media didn’t buy into the Left’s claims. Because, as you might expect, the “77 cent” figure is, in fact, misleading. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave Obama two Pinocchios for the claim. For years, the Post had given Obama one Pinocchio for the statistic, but since Obama refuses to stop using the number, a second Pinocchio was awarded. The Post considered giving three Pinocchios.

The bigger problem for Obama and Democrats, as the Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson pointed out, is that the White House couldn’t escape reports that women were paid less in the West Wing.

Using the same average, across-the-board accounting used to arrive at the 77 cent figure, women in Obama’s White House make 88 cents to the dollar that men make. And while White House press secretary thinks that’s fine because it’s higher than the national average. But it’s less than the D.C. average.

CBS and CNN also pointed out the White House wage-gap hypocrisy.

The White House further shot itself in the foot by releasing an infographic about the wage gap that featured two cartoon women dressed straight out of “Mad Men.”

Jay Carney’s no Don Draper.

POLITICAL OPERATIVES: Dallas IRS Office Plastered With Pro-Obama Stickers, Screensavers. “In another case, a worker at the tax agency’s customer help line urged taxpayers ‘to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name,’ the Office of Special Counsel said in a statement. . . . Another IRS employee in Kentucky has agreed to serve a 14-day suspension for blasting Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer. ‘They’re going to take women back 40 years,’ the IRS employee said in a conversation that was recorded. The employee also said that ‘if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.’”

#SEXISTOBAMA: Washington Post: Is This What The White House Thinks Women Wear To Work?

THE REVENGE OF GEOPOLITICS: Is the Neo-Isolationist Moment Already Over?

As the domestic political debate over these crises heats up, we are seeing a classic American pattern in action. America’s success abroad breeds stupidity and hubris in U.S. foreign policy. This hubris and stupidity leads to bad choices and magical thinking. We begin to believe, for example, that the world can become safer and more democratic even as we scale back our involvement. These bad choices and bad ideas then lead to huge global challenges. Those challenges ultimately spark smarter, more purposeful American engagement, usually after we’ve tried a few unsuccessful gambits first. That engagement finally leads to American success, which leads back again to American stupidity and hubris. And so on.

Contrary to Jeffersonian legends, what drove increasing American engagement over the 20th century wasn’t the missionary itch of the Wilsonians, or corporatist, Hamiltonian plots to build spooky New World Orders to Bilderberger specifications. It was the reality that when Americans got foreign policy wrong or ignored the outside world, the consequences were so severe that we were continually forced back into the “game” of world politics. What Seib is gesturing to is the reappearance of this reality. A mix of poor foreign policy choices—under President Bush as well as President Obama—added to the consequences of a tentative American pivot away from global engagement have led to a sharp deterioration in the world situation. Accordingly there will be more momentum behind broader U.S. international involvement as global security continues to get worse.

Things have only begun to unravel, and there’s no evidence that the Obama/Kerry/Powers team is up to the problems.

SCOTT JOHNSON: Obama’s War On Science And Gullible Women. “Obama knows his line is a fallacy, yet he can’t resist. It is useful to him. It helps him take advantage of women who don’t know better for his own narrow partisan political purposes.”

WAPO FACT CHECKER SAYS WHITE HOUSE PAY IS MORE UNEQUAL THAN AVERAGE FOR WASHINGTON, DC: “Carney noted that the White House wage gap was narrower than the national average, but the White House actually lags the District average calculated by the BLS: 95 cents.”

THE OBAMA ERA JUST GETS WORSE: Brace yourself: The bacon shortage is coming.

Just in case, I’m stocking up!

RICHARD FERNANDEZ ON THE ANTI-TECH PROTESTS AND THE CULTURE THEY REPRESENT: Vanishing Point.

Oddly enough people reach the pinnacle of society these days being activists, polemicists, digital figures, gurus, tech evangelists, civil rights leaders, First Ladies and talk show hosts. So you have to sympathize with the Occupy People who think that, having tried to do all that, they ought to be somebodies.

Welcome to the world of forced perspective; where Eich can get pilloried for voting the wrong way on Proposition 8 and Kevin Rose can get picketed for being able to buy stuff from the people who are picketing him. It lifts the lid on a strange world. A place where Vladimir Putin, al-Qaeda, and or asteroids from space don’t exist except as things that George Bush should have taken care of; it gives a glimpse into a universe where gas drilling is just a bad word and the armed forces a job where crazy people earn a living whenever they’re not driving pickup trucks; it provides a peek into a tableau where people actually think food comes from the store and gas comes from the gas pump and money to house everyone in the woods will come from Google’s $3 billion in spare change.

Brother can you spare a tera-dime?

And yet for some reason the glimpse is not reassuring. One could just turn the page and dismiss these as scenes from a freak show, except in the characters in this exhibition are on the stage of an industry with the power of life or death over our privacy; except for the vague fear that this is how America wandered into the Obama era in the first place.

Indeed. When the societal immune system is weakened, all sorts of opportunistic infections can appear.

LOOK FOR CANCER, AND FIND IT. All this new skepticism about testing and early detection may be right, but I’m a bit suspicious that the entire medical establishment did an about-face on the subject the instant ObamaCare passed.

HEH: White House Says Wage Gender Gap Stats Are Misleading…When Applied to the White House. “It’s good that Carney acknowledges this as far as the White House is concerned, because the Obama administration and many others are quick to gloss over nuance like this when talking about the wage gap in general. We frequently hear that American women make only 77 cents for every dollar men make, but this is based on data that fails to account for women’s work histories and life choices. It aggregates the earnings of women in all positions and compares this average against the earnings of all men.”

GALLUP: ObamaCare’s Net Impact: Roughly 3.6 million more uninsured since Bush administration.

MICHELLE FIELDS INTERVIEWS ROGER SIMON: Silence of the Liberals: Obama’s Failures Are Making Liberals Very Nervous.

JAMES TARANTO: ‘Shut Up’ Is No Argument: The illiberal left lacks confidence in its ideas.

“The debate over repealing this law is over,” President Obama declared last Tuesday in reference to ObamaCare. April Fool! By the end of the week some of Obama’s most loyal media supporters were proving him wrong–by repeating his arguments.

“Is there any accountability in American politics for being completely wrong?” demanded the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne in his Thursday column. “Is there any cost to those who say things that turn out not to be true and then, when their fabrications or false predictions are exposed, calmly move on to concocting new claims as if they had never made the old ones?”

It won’t surprise you to learn that Dionne did not demand accountability from Obama and the other politicians who sold ObamaCare on the fraudulent promise “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” Rather, he asserted that the administration’s claim of having “hit its original goal . . . of signing up more than 7 million people through its insurance exchanges” was a definitive refutation of any notion that ObamaCare is “doomed.”

What about insurance cancellations, narrow networks, high deductibles, blown deadlines, work disincentives, adverse selection and the law’s continuing political unpopularity? Dionne dispenses with all these problems in one sentence: “To be sure, the law could still face other problems, blah, blah, blah.”

The next day it was former Enron adviser Paul Krugman’s turn.

He’s well practiced at telling people to shut up.

Related: Joel Kotkin: The spread of ‘debate is over’ syndrome: On climate and other issues, many in academia, media, government insist their viewpoint is unassailable and won’t tolerate dissent. They’re insecure about their ability to persuade, but more confident of their ability to coerce.

FUNNY, I DIDN’T KNOW BREITBART WAS PART OF THE GOP: Dems blast Breitbart over Pelosi image. Two points: (1) Did doing this kind of stuff to Palin or Bush hurt the Dems? As Obama reminds us, he won. (2) I saw a lot of pearl-clutching on Twitter on the ground that this image “demeans a woman.” And I agree that portraying Miley Cyrus as Nancy Pelosi is demeaning to Miley Cyrus. Breitbart California should apologize to Miley at once.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Gallup survey suggests sign-ups under ObamaCare not as high as White House says.

RICHARD SAMUELSON: The ObamaCare Penalty As Dhimmi Tax.