* Some very interesting Senate floor action just now on the Obama tax cut extension plan. A Senate Dem aide emails:
On the floor just now, Senator Reid offered a unanimous consent agreement that would have allowed us to proceed to two Bush tax cut votes right away at a simple majority threshold: a vote on President Obama’s plan to extend middle-class tax cuts on income up to $250,000, and a vote on Senator Hatch’s amendment to extend most of the Bush tax cuts.
Senator McConnell blocked us from voting on both President Obama’s plan and the Republican plan at a simple majority threshold, presumably because he is afraid our bill would pass and his would fail.
McConnell blocked a simple majority vote on both the GOP plan to extend all the Bush tax cuts, and on the Dem plan to extend them just on income up to $250,000?
Either Harry Reid is bluffing, or he’s rounded up 50 Dem Senators to vote for the Obama plan and against the GOP one.
* Must watch: Steve Kornacki, on his new MSNBC show The Cycle, gives us a history lesson on how Republicans responded the last time a Democratic president moved to raise taxes on the highest earners.
Hint: It will not look unfamiliar to those following today’s debate over Obama’s proposal to restore the rates set by that Democratic president — which this time would only impact income above $250,000 earned by two percent of taxpayers.
* Los Angeles Times: The GOP “repeal and replace” charade has become so absurd that even conservatives are gently telling Republicans they need to come up with something a bit more convincing.
* No surrender: Michele Bachmann and House conservatives are now demanding the GOP leadership hold votes defunding Obamacare, which should play well with indys who want this battle to go on...and on...
“I of course respond to the attacks which come. But you know, they say in politics, if you’re responding, you’re losing.”
* No end to it: ABC News catches Romney claiming he’s released the same tax return info as John Kerry did (no, he hasn’t).
* Good line from Steve Benen, urging Dems to play offense against the GOP drive to repeal Obamacare:
Republicans are trying to kill popular health care measures because they think it’ll help them politically. Maybe someone ought to let voters know.
* The Obama camp launches a new ad touting his tax cut and hitting Romney’s for hiking middle class rates — suggesting the contrast on taxes, once a signature GOP issue, will be central for the duration.
* Good catch by Stephen Stromberg: At his NAACP speech, Romney pledged to work to strengthen the family. How? By defending “traditional marriage.” You game out the possible motives here yourself.
* Adam Serwer on another reason the NAACP audience booed Romney:
By promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Romney was reminding the NAACP that he is running on a promise to erase the term of the first black president as though it never happened.
* And it’s hard not to draw a connection between Romney’s speech and Michael Steele’s criticism in an interview with Evan McMorris Santoro of the RNC’s outreach to African Americans these days:
“The RNC has done very little since I left office to expand on the work that we had done in this area,” he said. “They’ve got a website, God bless them. It’s always good to put a website up with some black faces on it. Outreach.”