* The GOP’s passage today of the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it will serve as the perfect test of whether a party’s issue positions really matter come election day.
* Chris Cillizza lists all the reasons why the GOP may come to rue today’s vote.
* Obama seems to concede that John Boehner will get some spending cuts in exchange for hiking the debt ceiling:
“I think he’s absolutely right that it’s not going to happen without some spending cuts.”
* But White House officials quickly clarify that Obama is not taking a “clean” bill off the table — claiming he sees a debt ceiling hike and spending cuts as both imperative, but not linked to one another.
* Some of the polling on birther views among 2012 GOP primary voters is really kind of silly and useless, and seems designed to generate clicks by painting Republicans as crazy.
* National Review’s Robert Costa has an interesting behind the scenes glimpse of a tense standoff between the House GOP leadership and Tea Party chieftains Michele Bachmann and Steve King.
* Wow, Mitt Romney sure did a lot of sucking up to the Tea Party in honor of Tax Day.
* The White House not playing along with the storyline that Obama mocked or insulted Ryan in his hot mic moment.
* David Brooks’s prediction that Ryan’s serious proposal will be the platform of the 2012 GOP nominee may be a tad premature.
* As Atrios notes, it’s hard to fathom why anyone would waste time obsessing over whether Ryan and Obama have or haven’t had lunch together.
* Obama ties his all-time low as president in Gallup daily tracking.
* How House Dems almost hoodwinked Republicans into passing a budget cutting $9.5 trillion over the next decade.
* Jed Lewison, on the continued GOP outrage over Obama’s speech criticizing their decision to end Medicare as we know it:
What the hell did they expect? For him to pick up a copy of Atlas Shrugged and start reading from it?
* If Obama had delivered his big speech laying out the Democratic position on deficit reduction a year ago, could he have prevented the debate from drifting so far to the right?
* And the last word (hopefully) on Donald Trump’s alleged presidential ambitions, from Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman, on MSNBC with Tamron Hall:
“Donald Trump will never run — because he would have to disclose his net worth and show that he does not have as much money as he is claiming. So he is out of the picture.”
Seems like a good line of inquiry for reporters! What else is happening?