OBAMA AND MANDATES….Ezra Klein says that Barack Obama is “simply lying” when he attacks healthcare mandates by comparing them to solving homelessness by mandating that everybody buy a house. That’s pretty far over the top. I think Obama is wrong on the merits and wrong to attack mandates, but his analogy doesn’t register more than 3 or 4 on the Richter scale of political mischaracterization. He deserves grief for his position, but he’s not lying.

That said, here’s what I don’t get. Ezra asks, “Why won’t he stop?” and that seems like a pretty good question to me. When Obama is in a debate and has to defend his position, that’s one thing. But why continue to push this line so hard in settings where he could brush it off if he wanted to? Does he seriously think this is a core part of his appeal? Has he drunk his own Kool-Aid so much that he’s genuinely convinced that mandates are evil? Or what? He knows he’s going to get attacked by potential supporters every time he brings this up, so why not just soft pedal it? He’s got plenty of other fruitful lines of attack against Hillary, after all.