Quick Takes

* Gabriel Sheman picks up something I’ve been talking about for awhile now with: GOP Billionaires Just Can’t Seem to Buy This Election.

You’d think buying an election would be easy. This is, after all, the rough pitch that political consultants deliver when persuading donors to part with their money. (It’s also the primary theme of Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.) The formula traditionally goes like this: Out-raise the competition, bludgeon them with attack ads, and watch the votes roll in. In the five years since the Supreme Court enshrined unlimited campaign contributions to organizations not directly affiliated with candidates, money has poured into the political system. And yet spending the cash haul effectively has never been more difficult.

* Speaking of the election, Brian Beutler has a fascinating take on positioning in the GOP primary.

Rubio—once the goldilocks candidate of both the right and the establishment—is quickly becoming another Bush. (That Rubio’s agenda so neatly reprises the George W. Bush agenda reinforces this perception.) Cruz—one of the least uniting figures in Republican officialdom—is meanwhile emerging as the candidate who can best straddle the poles of GOP politics.

* Sounds like Pope Francis played a role in getting to global consensus on the Paris climate change agreement.

Meanwhile there have been reports Francis personally intervened to push the December climate change deal through. According to claims reported by the BBC, the pope phoned the president of Nicaragua to convince him to sign up to the deal.

* My long(er) read recommendation of the day comes from David Remnick titled: Negotiating the Whirlwind: Can Secretary of State John Kerry Break Through in Syria?

* Finally, on this third anniversary of the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I’ll leave you with this image that I think best captures our national grief.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .