The line is open. Last thoughts:

* WHAT’S TO LIKE ABOUT TOM COTTON IN NEW YORK?The Daily News has followed up on its reporting on Rep. Pete King’s campaign contribution to Extremist Republican Tom Cotton, who once voted against hurricane relief aid for King’s Long Island constituents. It becomes even more inexplicable, the Daily News said, because Cotton is a big admirer of Sen. Ted Cruz, another person low on King’s list. 


King called Cruz a “fraud,” during last year’s government shutdown. He has launched a prospective presidential campaign based in part on saving “the soul of the Republican Party” from the likes of Cruz.
But Cotton, whose Senate campaign King backed due, he said, to Cotton’s hawkish foreign policy views, has suggested he would model himself on Cruz if elected to the Senate.

Speaking last May, in, of all places, Manhattan, Cotton was effusive about Cruz.

“There aren’t enough of us in Congress. We need more,” Cotton said. “And you can see just over the last four months what a guy like Ted Cruz has been able to do in the United States Senate.”

“Although we’re not quite as high profile as senators are that’s what people like me… in the House try to accomplish as well,” Cotton said. “We need to get more people like that elected.”

On Cruz, we’re with King.

* A DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR 1ST DISTRICT CONGRESS: A week or so ago, a friend in Heber Springs said Mayor Jackie McPherson was considering a Democratic race for 1st Disrict Congress against Republican Rep. Rick Crawford and said he’d make a great candidate. I got in touch with McPherson, who said he wasn’t ready to talk about it. He’s made no decision yet, but Republicans have already begun trying to shoot down his candidacy, which tells you something. And now Michael Cook at Talk Business provides some details about some of the usual misinformation from the Republican shill machine.


* BARBARIANS AT THE GATE — A LEGISLATIVE REPORT: Democrats took some Tums for heartburn today and went along with punishing amendments to the private option reauthorization bill in the name of getting enough votes to meet the 75 percent standard for passage of the Medicaid expansion for another year. They’ve gone along with the tyrant minority’s plan to slowly strangle the program by keeping it a secret (publicity won’t be allowed). They’ve also acceded to depriving financial support for transportation help for poor people to reach doctors. They’ve also required co-pays of the very poorest working people (if you make $6,000 a year, you can afford a co-pay). They’ve also insisted on still more emphasis on worthless health savings accounts. All of this to cripple the program and thus make it, they hope, easier to kill in the 2015 legislative session. Sad day. And it still might not be enough for passage in the Senate, though there seems to be a growing belief that Sen. Jane English can be peeled from the Tea Party nine to win Senate passage. Lots of health care jobs in her district benefit. Not mention ordinary working people.

The House also easily passed a bill today to avoid a special election to fill the vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office. No word yet if the Darr Deadwood Four are guaranteed fat no-work jobs for all of 2014 or if the same fiscal discipline will be applied to these Republican hacks as the Republican Cruelty Caucus applies to people with real jobs. I believe Democratic efforts are underway to force a budget reduction, at a minimum, but Republicans are fighting hard to protect Joint Budget Co-Chair Duncan Baird’s father-in-law, Bruce Campbell, a $75,000-a-year-do-nothing on Darr’s staff who’s enjoyed state patronage checks since the Huckabee era. He helps Republicans raise money so he’s important to the lean-mean-Republican-government-trimming machine.