Well, it’s been interesting to have an intra-Political Animal debate with Martin over the current War Fever with respect to Iraq, and it feels a bit strange to be cast in the role of the dovier of the two of us (though not that strange: back when I was at the DLC, the joke about me was that “Kilgore might support NATO expansion if he could just support NATO”). But we’re actually pretty much in agreement on the underlying issues, and may only disagree about the extent to which it’s possible for Obama administration officials to “assuage the bloodlust” rising from all directions via threats of future action. To use the rapidly developing cliche about the situation, it really is three-dimensional chess, with the opposition party and a big chunk of the MSM demanding we play checkers or just overturn the board.

Here are some less complicated midday news/views treats:

* Read Rand Paul’s latest diatribe on IS and tell me what you think he’s saying the U.S. should actually do. It’s a puzzler.

* Nate Cohn offers some illuminating thoughts about presidential approval ratings versus the generic congressional ballot as best indicator for the midterms.

* At TNR Franklin Foer argues stronger federal government is the solution, not the problem, in situations like Ferguson.

* At the Prospect, Paul Waldman reminds us in the context of the latest Scott Brown “gaffe” that it’s tough to sound helpful to voters when you have government.

* Fast food workers in 150 cities demand–some by walking off job–$15 per hour wage.

And in non-political news:

* Sad to see that Tommy Chong is the Designated Oldster on the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars.

As we break for lunch, here’s more Joe “King” Carrasco & the Crowns with “Current Events.”

YouTube video

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.