* Conservative Senator Tom Coburn pulls out of the “Gang of Six” talks, and the “bipartisan” plan to save our country from the deficit without any tax hikes is officially in trouble.
* Moments ago, the Dem bid in the Senate to end tax breaks for Big Oil fell short of the 60 needed votes, 52-48. The only two Republicans who voted Yes: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.
The Dems who opposed it: Mark Begich, Mary Landrieu, and Ben Nelson.
* Meanwhile, Senate Dems are circulating video of all the Senate Republicans who once supported ending them.
* And speaking of Senator Nelson, Steve Benen has everything you need to know about his extremely irksome and dispiriting decision to ally himself with Republicans against any and all tax hikes.
* Debunking of the day: Conservatives went nuts today over a Daily Caller story about a “power grab” in the form of “Obamacare” waivers granted in Nancy Pelosi’s district, but a little legwork by Sam Stein knocked it all down.
* This will further endear Newt to conservatives: The DCCC is now using Gingrich’s criticism of the Paul Ryan plan to attack vulnerable House GOPers for supporting it.
* Gingrich holds a big conference call to clean up his mess, but he only succeeds in raising more questions about his readiness (after all this time!) and again calls the Ryan plan “radical.”
* Ouch: Bill Bennett, who commands great respect among conservatives, “shreds what remains of the Gingrich campaign.”
* Takedown of the day: McCain aide Mark Salter, on Rick Santorum’s claim that McCain doesn’t know jack about torture:
Ron Paul may be the wackiest candidate in the GOP field. But for pure, blind stupidity nobody beats Santorum. In my 20 years in the Senate, I never met a dumber member, which he reminded me of today.
* Jared Bernstein, who was perhaps the most liberal voice inside the White House on economic policy, now has his own blog, and its goal is to reverse our discourse’s slide into self-destructive inanity.
* Relatedly: As Kevin Drum notes, many of today’s right wingers who claim to favor free enterprise actually favor pro-business policies, which are not necessarily one and the same.
* Marcy Wheeler pokes more holes in Michael Mukasey’s latest torture/Bin Laden pushback.
* Adam Serwer wraps up the latest desperate flailing of the Bush torture dead enders.
* Jonathan Bernstein said today that you should take a Rick Perry presidential run seriously, and Real Clear Politics reports that Perry operatives are quietly moving things along behind the scenes.
* And it’s not just collective bargaining: Scott Walker is radically transforming Wisconsin government and consolidating his power on many other fronts, too.
What else is happening?