It was good to have a couple of days off, but I’m back and ready to go.

I want to thank the always-terrific Jonathan Bernstein for his great work in my absence — I clearly left Political Animal in capable hands — and I encourage readers to check out his work wherever it appears. You can find him at his main site, A Plain Blog About Politics, in addition to his regular contributions to Plum Line and the Washington Monthly‘s own Ten Miles Square.

And with that, let’s get back to the news.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.