* Senate Dems to call GOP’s bluff on the deficit: Is there anything Dems can do to gain traction with the argument that the GOP’s hard-line opposition to any new revenues proves Republicans are fundamentally unserious about reducing the deficit? Senate Dems are going to try this week, by moving forward with a plan to end oil industry subsidies and to divert the savings to deficit reduction.
The game plan: To harnass public anger over gas prices to box in Republican Senators, forcing them to either support the Dem plan or reveal that they care less about the deficit than about preserving tax breaks for oil companies. But Republicans don’t seem terribly worried: They are out with multiple releases this morning deriding Dems for trying to solve high gas prices with a “new tax.”
Fact of life: Republicans don’t fear any debate which allows them to accuse Dems of raising taxes.
* John Boehner to address Wall Street on debt ceiling: The House Speaker is set to give a speech today to business executives pressing the case that Medicare reform must be part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling.
The key context here is that business leaders have been privately warning that GOP brinkmanship on the debt ceiling could wreak havoc on markets. Yet Boehner is sticking by his insistence on major cuts in exchange for a debt ceiling hike — a sign of the difficult balancing act Boehner faces as he seeks to reassure Wall Street even as he signals to House conservatives that he’s not afraid to use the debt ceiling to extract major spending concessions from Dems.
* Bad economy will trump any Obama post-Bin Laden poll bounce: Today’s new Washington Post poll shows Obama enjoying a bounce in the 2012 bellwether state of Virginia, but the more important finding is that majorities still oppose Obama’s policies and are deeply pessimistic about the economy.
* Unemployment rate in battleground states a key metric: Relatedly, it has to be disconcerting to Obama’s reelection team that the unemployment rate in key battleground states remains above the national average.
* A race worth watching in advance of 2012: National Dems suddenly see an opportunity for an upset in the special House election in New York’s 26th district, because the Dem is making big gains by making an issue of Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal. Keep an eye on this one as an early referendum on how effectively Ryan’s plan can be used as a weapon against vulnerable House GOP incumbents next year.
* What if Big Government works, and no media point it out? E.J. Dionne says what must not be said: The Big Government bailout of the auto industry worked, and Republicans who predicted that government interference in the private sector would be catastrophic should be held accountable by reporters for it.
* Do Wisconsin Republicans see writing on wall? Wisconsin GOPers are moving to rush through a raft of conservative legislation, a sign they may be worried about losing control of the state senate after recall elections. Of course, any such moves will only lend more energy to the recall campaigns.
* The right was hopelessly wrong about don’t ask don’t tell: Conservatives made lots of noise about how the Marines supposedly are adamantly opposed to ending DADT, but Ed O’Keefe finds that they seem to be adjusting to the coming change pretty well, after all
* Should Bin Laden have been taken alive? Credit is due to Glenn Greenwald for making the case, in politically impossible circumstances, that we should still press to find out exactly what happened with Bin Laden’s killing and that even he should perhaps have been taken alive.
* The individual mandate is only bad because Obama utilized it: I’m late to this, but do check out Tea Party chieftain Jim DeMint’s comically hapless efforts to spin his way out of the fact that he was perfectly okay with Romneycare back in 2008, before Obama remade the individual mandate as tyranny.
Key takeaway: It’s probably too obvious to point this out, but very little of what passes for debate over the individual mandate has anything to do with any actual policy realities.
* Tim Pawlenty redefines courage: Jon Chait has the latest: T-Paw’s craven flip-flop on climate change in order to make him acceptable to GOP primary voters actually displays a courageous willingness to admit previous error.
Worth watching: The degree to which past acknowledgment of climate science becomes a major liability in the 2012 GOP primary.
* The most mindless “American exceptionalism” attack yet: Rick Santorum rehashes the nonsense about Obama and “American exceptionalism” yet again, even though he was confronted with proof less than two weeks ago that it’s completely false.
* And from the department of self promotion: This blog, along with Jennifer Rubin’s, gets written up in Washingtonian magazine.
What else is happening?