Opening Act: Come Home, America

FBI agents carry out boxes as law enforcement officials investigate the medical-office complex of Dr. Salomon Melgen, who has possible ties to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, (D-NJ) on January 30, 2013 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Matt Boyle asks Jack Abramoff what he thinks of this whole Menendez donor story. Guess what he says!

“Just getting your picture with the president – a lot of people look at that and go ‘eh, you know, who cares?’ – well, I’ll tell you who cares: He cares,” Abramoff said. “Now I don’t know him and I don’t know exactly what he was doing but I’ve seen it many times where somebody will literally use a picture of themselves with the president of the United States as a calling card of credibility to be able to move along in the bureaucracy.” 

But the upshot of Ken Vogel’s exhaustive story about Salomon Melgen is that the doughy donor got amazingly little reward for his money: He’s of “the type that expects politicians to help further their business or philosophical interests but don’t know enough about the process to figure out if they’re getting anything for their money.”

Tim Carney engages in some post-hoc real-keeping about his days as an “unpatriotic conservative.”

Rallying behind Bush’s ambitious “freedom agenda” meant abandoning a core insight of conservatism: that big ideas and big plans are dangerous because human knowledge and ability to predict consequences are limited much more than our planners tend to imagine.

These days, it looks like the Right is coming home.

Phil Klein blames the Iraq War, its mishandling, and its backlash for the passage of Obamacare.

Jeffrey Young looks at the people who still can’t get health insurance.

The Senate immigration deal—no bill yet!—could double the number of high-skilled worker visas.

And Republicans talk more carefully about gays.

Correction, March 21, 2013: This post originally misspelled Salomon Melgen’s first name.