Opening Act: What It Takes

Richard Ben Cramer, the author of What It Takes, has died. Jonathan Martin has an appreciation. You can count me in that unofficial cult of political reporters who hold that book up as a model, who read it and figured out what they should do with their working lives. Get close to the subjects, understand them, don’t sensationalize, report what happens and not what should.

Steve Benen reads into John Boehner’s WSJ interview and appears to find some nervousness about the debt limit fight; so does Greg Sargent. I’m not convinced, but it’s a theory.

Adam Serwer asks why the civil liberties left would raise hell about John Brennan when it’s been so tolerant of Barack Obama.

Americans Elect takes over Michelle Rhee’s movement.

It feels like “Alex Jones DOESN’T implode on live TV” would be the bigger story.

And if you’re getting overly pessimistic about American politics, remember: We are not Italy.