Quick Takes

* Obamacare reached its 6th birthday today! To celebrate, the White House published a Fact Sheet on Health Care Accomplishments. I’m sure that the Republican response will look something like this:

* Dylan Matthews says that this six-year anniversary for Obamacare is a reminder that Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history.

Its anniversary, then, serves as a crucial reminder that, love him or hate him, Barack Obama is one of the most consequential presidents in American history — and that he will be a particularly towering figure in the history of American progressivism.

He signed into law a comprehensive national health insurance bill, a goal that had eluded progressive presidents for a century. He got surprisingly tough reforms to Wall Street passed as well, not to mention a stimulus package that both blunted the recession and transformed education and energy policy.

He’s put in place the toughest climate rules in American history and signed a major international climate accord. He opened the US to Cuba for the first time in more than half a century, and reached a peaceful settlement to the nuclear standoff with Iran.

* Hillary Clinton gave a speech today about her plan to defeat ISIS. This was a brilliant line:

When other candidates talk about building walls around America…how high does the wall have to be to keep the internet out.

* Speaking of good one-liners, here is what President Obama had to say about Ted Cruz’ plan to patrol Muslim neighborhoods.

As far as the notion of having surveillance of neighborhoods where Muslims are present, I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance. Which, by the way, the father of Sen. Cruz escaped for America.

* It has always seemed to me that Rep. Paul Ryan is a tortured soul. I’ve never spent a lot of time trying to articulate what that’s about – but he works so hard at being earnest, one has to wonder how conscious he is that he is engaging in the kind of post-truth politics I wrote about earlier today. Here is Jonathan Chait explaining Ryan’s dilemma following his speech today.

At various points in his career, Paul Ryan has toggled between two different versions of his political identity. One iteration, developed under mentors like Sam Brownback and Jack Kemp, under whom Ryan served as a staffer, emphasizes the transformative power of supply-side tax cuts, unleashing massive wealth that will trickle down from rich to poor… At other times Ryan has fashioned himself as an austere deficit hawk, tapping urgently on the accounting books while warning America away from insolvency.

The latter version is what first made Ryan the famous national figure he is today. Ryan’s warnings of an imminent Greek-style debt crisis made him simultaneously attractive to the financial and political Establishment, where the conventional wisdom in 2009 through 2012 deemed deficit reduction the country’s most urgent priority, and among freaked-out conservatives everywhere, who believed that Barack Obama was plunging the country into an Ayn Rand nightmare. The deficit has receded, the economy has recovered, and, most pointedly, Obama’s reelection persuaded many Republicans they needed a new message to forge a majority coalition.

Since that 2012 defeat, Ryan has toggled back to his Kempian version.

Regardless of all that inner turmoil, one thing remains the same:

He continues to favor the same combination of very large tax cuts for the affluent and very large cuts in social spending for the poor. He simply places more emphasis on his belief that the beneficiaries of social transfers tend to be harmed by having their work ethic sapped.

* Finally, if you are either a woman or one of those people that cares about women, you’re going to want to watch this mash-up from Buzzfeed News of Trump vs Obama talking about women.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.