Opening Act: Beat the Retreat

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – I’m spending the end of the week at the House Republicans’ annual retreat. The dateline may end up being showy – much of the day will be spent in a media bubble, a short ways away from the meetings.

Alec MacGillis asks whether the Emergency Committee for Israel is blowing it, in the wake of full-page newspaper ads that haven’t much slowed down Hagelmentum.

Most notably, it spent a whopping $823,000 attacking Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin, in ads that called her “extreme” and said she had “called terrorists who attacked Israel innocent victims.” She won. It spent $58,000 attacking John Tierney, a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts. He won, despite allegations of family corruption and a strong GOP challenger. It spent $61,000 attacking California Democratic congresswoman Lois Capps. She won.

One argument (whether or not you buy it) is that ideologically right-wing pro-Israel groups weaken overall support for Israel by alientating Democrats. Barney Frank, a gay, Jewish, left-handed Democrat who should have been the last on the Hagel train, ended up endorsing him explicitly because he didn’t want the neocons to win.

We have a second freshman Republican talking about impeaching the president because freedom.

Real talk from Garrett Epps about Richard Posner.

And Peter Baker publishes an oral history of the first Obama term.