* James Surowiecki on all the ways the Paul Ryan plan represents the “Platonic ideal” of a GOP budget, which is to say, a pie-in-the-sky ideological blueprint for Ryan’s vision of the country’s future.
* James Downie parses Obama’s speech, and makes it plain: Obama has the facts on his side, and Ryan doesn’t.
* Ezra Klein is right: Obama’s riff today on what those tax cuts for millionaires could fund for the rest of us will prove important, because driving home specificity is central to winning the tax debate.
* David Dayen is also right: If Obama successfully grabbed the center today, that partly reflects how far Democrats, and American politics in general, have moved to the right, and it isn’t clear this had to happen.
* Go read Digby, who runs through the history and marvels at the fact that conservatives who have spent years attacking the courts are faulting Obama for echoing their own language.
* Steve Benen on the real intended subtext of the conservative claim that Obama ”attacked” the courts.
* Andrew Rosenthal, while decrying the silly conservative overraction, offers some measured criticism of where Obama went wrong by allowing himself to get seduced by conservative talking points.
* Ron Brownstein digs deeper into the polling of the gender gap and finds it could be even tougher for Mitt Romney than it looks, because Obama has solidified his hold on college educated women:
These early poll results underscore the challenge Romney will face in dislodging Obama’s hold on those white-collar women voters after the primary campaign’s sharp turn right on contraception-related issues-a subject that had not been seriously debated in American politics for over four decades. In turn, those women could prove critical to Obama’s hopes of retaining well-educated swing states that have grown central to the Democratic Electoral map, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Colorado.
* Joe Klein on Romney’s claim that, hey, Obama isn’t so great on immigration either, and on why Romney won’t be able to Etch-A-Sketch away his lurch to the right on the issue.
* As Jed Lewison notes, Romney is banking on the American public developing mass amnesias about just how enormous a mess Obama inherited.
* Chris Cillizza on another right wing talking point that has gone “poof”:
A survey from the Public Religion Research Institute finds that most Jewish voters are sticking with President Obama despite concerted efforts from Republicans to woo this voting bloc. Sixty-two percent of Jewish voters would like to see Obama reelected, about the same as at this point in the 2008 campaign.
* Job-killing government! A new report finds that some studies purporting to reveal that environmental rules kill jobs are badly flawed and don’t tell us anything.
* And as Jonathan Capehart notes, Obama’s failure to evolve on gay marriage has left him to the right of conservative David Cameron, who has managed to evolve all the way.