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The Roundup

I put this in my Warren post, but in case you didn’t see it, she’s going to get this “special advisor” position, which is bound to satisfy or energize nobody. Maybe it’s the functional equivalent of an interim director (I’m hearing it’s closer to what was possible under Dodd-Frank), but it also has an end date. And we still don’t know who will run the agency after that.

And with that taste in our mouths, let’s do the roundup…

More polls show that Democrats would benefit greatly from making the elections a referendum on tax cuts for the rich. But many Democrats in marginal districts would rather avoid any contrasts with Republicans and win as a corporate alternative barely distinguishable from the right.

• The word “New Deal” creeps back into the discourse, and in an article by Mark Thoma at The Fiscal Times, no less. His plan and Michael Lind’s demand-side plan are the right ones for the economy, which is why they’ll never be taken up.

• Kabul Bank is a total mess, and the happy talk of central bankers in Afghanistan is totally unconvincing. But it’s really no different than the Afghan budget, which cannot possibly support the security apparatus the US wants it to build, much like the country cannot support a financial apparatus as currently constructed.

• It would be a damn shame to lose Russ Feingold from the Senate this year, and he’s certainly in a neck-and-neck dogfight of a race with a right-wing multi-millionaire. He’s running a Cheddarbomb today (I erroneously said it was yesterday), and he has a good live chat at Crooks and Liars. A taste of it: “We need to keep supporting progressive Democrats not Wall Street Democrats. That’s the way to advance a progressive agenda.”

• Right-wing Democrat Gene Taylor becomes the first Dem to sign on to a discharge petition calling for the repeal of health care reform.

Excellent rundown of the hurdles facing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, most of them more related to the defense authorization bill than DADT itself. I wouldn’t count out the work of Gaga-Americans on this one, however. I think they get it done.

• Hearings were held on Chinese currency policy today, as the issue could come up in the midterms.

• We’re going to see more of this spying on activist groups as Homeland Security departments get more comfortable with the tremendous surveillance power at their fingertips.

• Kelly Ayotte snuck through in New Hampshire’s Republican primary for US Senate last night, and she starts out in a very close race with Rep. Paul Hodes.

• It’s incredible that the GOP comes up with new extreme candidates every day, so we completely forget about the old ones. But I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Lisa Murkowski, either. We’ll find out on Friday.

• Meg Whitman has spent more of her own money than any candidate in American history, and she’s still getting outside help from the Chamber of Commerce and others. Most of the outside groups spending in elections this cycle are not disclosing their donors, and the FEC is doing nothing about it.

• Conservatives are cracking up and splitting over the Christine O’Donnell nomination. Meanwhile, Chris Coons’ first TV ad shows you what kind of a Democrat we have facing her (hard worker, competent, deficit hawk, probably in the middle of the caucus).

• Rand Paul has a secret plan to end the budget.

• They’re STILL protesting the Quran-burnings that didn’t happen over in Afghanistan. I don’t think it has much to do with the Quran as much as occupation. And the Kandahar operation has begun, which could add to this fury.

• Let’s not forget that Karl Rove can start whisper campaigns with the best of them, and he routinely criticizes what he himself is most responsible for.

• The TANF Emergency Fund succeeded in subsidizing jobs for tens of thousands of Americans during the recession, so of course it’s going away.

• The egg farm in Iowa that caused a massive recall found salmonella in their product hundreds of times over the past two years. But we still may not see a food safety bill that would fill in these yawning regulatory gaps, because Tom Coburn says it costs too much, on the same day his caucus leader proposed a $4 trillion dollar tax cut.

• I was originally told that nobody consulted on the DNC’s new “D with a circle around it” logo, and, well, it shows! The site itself is a little more functional for Democratic activists, with the ability to get information and organizing opportunities on local campaigns.

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David Dayen

David Dayen