TPM Cafe: Opinion

About a month ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted an event designed to “confront the myths” about the Common Core State Standards—and thereby shore up conservative support. Five former Republican governors sat on stage and thoughtfully explained why they believe the Common Core is a critical reform for American schools. They explained that the standards — developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and other state-based groups — are a critical part of improving American public education and developing a highly-skilled, world-class workforce.

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Today, the Tea Party has a chance to for a major victory. In Mississippi, Republican voters are going to the polls today to decide whether to re-nominate six-term Senator Thad Cochran or to replace him with Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel. Given that Tea Partiers have already claimed at least one huge primary victory this year by defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, it is time to look at a larger question: are primary elections promoting extremism?

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The NY Times reports:

[Conservative] groups will deploy observers in areas where Mr. Cochran is recruiting Democrats, Mr. Cuccinelli said. J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and conservative commentator who said he was advising the effort, described the watchers as “election observers,” mostly Mississippi residents, who will be trained to “observe whether the law is being followed.”

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Last week, the United States Senate convened hearings on amending the Constitution to “better regulate” political spending. With a two-thirds vote needed in both Houses of Congress, no one expects any amendment to pass. Yet, fundamental reform is absolutely needed — and possible.

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Until today, the sectarian conflict in Iraq has put the mess into messaging. For an administration already in love with nuance, explaining how the United States should engage in Iraq presents the worst on-the-one-hand-on-the-other challenge in the world. But sometimes it’s better to be lucky in communications than good, and for that Obama has Dick Cheney to thank. The more the former vice president talks, the better Obama seems.

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George Will continues with his assertion that it is mathematically impossible for 1 in 5 women to have been sexually assaulted while in college. He calls the statistics “insupportable” and when he replied to Senators Blumenthal, Feinstein, Baldwin, and Casey he chided them to temper their “rhetoric” about the “scourge of sexual assault.” But it’s not just the statistics that appear to bother Mr. Will as he also expresses concern about definitions:

“I think I take sexual assault more serious that you do. Which is why I worry about definitions of that category of crime that might, by their breadth, tend to trivialize it.”

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