My last post on the Virginia governor’s race was a reminder that this is the first such contest I haven’t followed intensely since 1997. (Last time around I live-blogged the primary returns with Nate Silver, who’s come a long way since then). Cuccinelli has taken all the fun out of this crucial off-year election in a state I know pretty well. That will not, however, keep me from enjoying his humiliation two weeks from today.

Here’s a diverse assortment of midday news/views snacks:

* TNR’s Nate Cohen argues lack of House GOP “exposure” in competitive seats means even 2006-level popular vote margin for Dems might not flip control.

* FT’s Gideon Rachman predicts rise of Tea Partyish right-wing populist movement in Europe.

* At The Atlantic, Garance Franke-Ruta lays out revised five-month White House rollout strategy for Obamacare.

* Democrats building large fundraising advantage for 2014 federal races in Iowa.

* MoJo’s Jeremy Schulman examines newspaper policies on mendacious letters to the editor about climate change.

And in non-political news:

* Whiskey boom in U.S. a boon to Irish economy.

Today also marks the 51st anniversary of JFK’s speech to the country disclosing Soviet missiles in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis (about which, as I have noted before, I still have nightmares) inspired one of Dylan’s best tunes, “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” performed here live in 1963.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.