* Great post by Jonathan Capehart on the larger significance of Donald Trump’s latest insult to Obama and “the blacks.”
* Some interesting thoughts from Jonathan Bernstein about the “Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop,” and how it’s excerbated by public ignorance about economics.
* Relatedly, a key point from Joe Klein:
So long as the conversation is about deficit-reduction, in the teeth of a recession, conservative extremists are playing offense and the President is, essentially, on the defensive.
* And Jed Lewison on how Obama needs to retake control of this debate by moving it from an argument over debt to an argument over investment and jobs.
* Ezra Klein gets at Leon Panetta’s core challenge: Can he reverse a culture which has long held that the Defense Department is uniquely untouchable?
* More town hall anger: It’s intriguing that GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, under fire from constituents over the Ryan plan, had this to say to a critical constituent:
When Ms. Devane said that Mr. Grimm was supposed to be representing her, he added: “You wouldn’t vote for me and I know that. I respect that. So don’t pretend you voted for me. You didn’t.”
The two eventually shook hands, but still, Representative Democracy 101, Rep. Grimm?
* Nor does Rep. Grimm seem to understand that Bush’s policies contributed a fair amount to the deficit.
* Paul Ryan seems to open the door to possibly supporting the elimination of oil subsidies, which could in theory divide House GOPers on the issue.
* Suzy Khimm parses the polls and concludes people really don’t like Ryan’s Medicare plan, as long as it’s described to them accurately, though, interestingly, this doesn’t necessarily favor Dems.
* The next Wisconsin? In case you need to catch up on that battle over bargaining rights in Massachusetts between labor and Democrats, Rachel Weiner has a good overview.
* Since we’re now talking about Donald Trump and racism, Justin Elliott on a forgotten episode revealing Trump’s previous racial discrimination problem.
* Awkward! HuffPo reported today that Dick Durbin took an unusually direct public swipe at Chuck Schumer over the latter’s support for the banks’ position on “swipe fees,” claiming:
“Listen, I know the zip code for Wall Street and I know what state it’s in.”
Amusingly, today the two Senators led a Congressional delegation trip together. Wonder what they discussed?
* Joan McCarter, on rising public anxiety (fed by public officials) about the deficit: “We’re all deficit peacocks now.”
* And despite the Sarah Palin camp’s griping that the media has been ignoring her, new research by a social media tracking firm suggests — alas — that she still enjoys a far higher media profile than poor Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.
What else is happening?