* What is the real goal in Libya? A very skeptical reported take from Karen DeYoung and Peter Finn, who detail the glaring lack of clarity about the goals and scope of the U.S.’s involvement in Libya and why it strains the administration’s repeated assurances that the mission will be “limited.”
*The counter-argument: Senator Carl Levin, who seems to be speaking for the administration, offers this as clarity in the above link: “After the air is cleared of any threats, there’s going to be a handoff to our allies, and this mission will then be carried on by French, by British and by Arab countries.”
* No Congressional declaration of war? Dem Rep. Jerrold Nadler amplifies the casethat Obama should have sought Congressional authorization for the invasion, suggesting that Obama will take heat from both parties as the invasion unfoles
* White House privately reassuring Arab League members: The Arab League questions whether the bombing has now exceeded the definition of the mission and is now killing civilians.
In response, the administration is working hard behind the scenes to assure Arab League members that the scope of the mission remains very limited.
* Could Libya invasion rehabilitate idea of humanitarian intervention? A good read from Massimo Calabresi, who talks to administration insiders and comes away convinced that they may be exaggerating Gaddafi’s capacity for genocide with the goal of justifying an invasion that will rehabilitate the very idea of humanitarian intervention, post-Iraq, and make other such efforts easier down the road.
* Skepticism mounts: James Fallows on why we should be uneasy about where Obama’s commitment might lead.
Meanwhile, Josh Marshall lays out all the reasons why the Libya invasion is “a mess, poorly conceived, ginned up by folks with their own weird agendas, carried out at a point well past the point that it was going to accomplish anything.”
* Obama changing the narrative in the Middle East? But David Ignatius makes the case for Obama’s handling of Libya, arguing that he’s rightly closing a previous chapter of heavy-handed American involvement in the Arab world by letting Britain and France take the lead, even at risk of letting political opponents portray him as vascillating and weak.
* The cost of the Libya operation: Nationa Journal tallies it up: Over $100 million for the first day, and it will grow much higher.
* New York Times journalists released: Great news as the Libyan government releases four captured journalists into the custody of Turkish diplomats who will now transport them out of the country.
* Dems divided on Social Security: Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are convinced that drawing a hard line against Social Security cuts is good politics for Dems, but their efforts are being complicated by several “moderate” Senate Dems who are participating in bipartisan Gang of Six discussions designed to keep Social Security cuts in play.
* Liberals push tax hikes for millionaires: House and Senate liberals are pushing legislation that would raise taxes on millionaires, and while it has little to no chance of passage, it’s valuable to keep the idea of tax hikes for the rich alive as the budget discussions unfold, in order to highlight the absurd refusal of self-described “deficit hawks” to entertain them.
* The latest (creative) Republican criticism of health reform: You’ll be startled to hear that Republicans who decried the Affordable Care Act for not giving states enough flexibility are now seizing on Obama’s granting of waivers to states as proof that the law is fundamentally flawed.
* Dems using bogus stats to defend health law? Post fact checker Glenn Kessler spanks Dems for using previously debunked numbers to talk up the Affordable Care Act’s first anniversary.
* Conservatives against consumer protections: Paul Krugman on the real motive for the right’s attacks on Obama consumer protection chief Elizabeth Warren: To ensure that consumers get no protections of any kind.
* The 2012 map, made simple: Informative read from Chris Cillizza on how nine key Senate races are intimately intertwined with, and will influence the out come of, the 2012 presidential contest.
* And say hello to the Koch brothers’ favorite House Republican: GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo’s run for office was heavily bankrolled by the Koch brothers, and now he’s hired a former Koch lawyer as chief of staff and has proposed legislation that could benefit many of the Kochs’ business interests. An interesting glimpe into how Conress really works.
What else is happening?