* Obama accused of violating the War Powers Act: In case you need proof that this story isn’t going away, check out this very tough New York Times editorial accusing the Obama administration of “sophistry” and “word games” in its bizarre justification for not seeking Congressional authorization for the Libya operation.
The editorial excoriates the Obama claim that the operation doesn’t constitute “hostilities” under the act, and flatly conclues: “Mr. Obama cannot evade his responsibility, under the War Powers Act, to seek Congressional approval to continue the operation.” This could help drive opinion in Congress.
* Why won’t news orgs that covered McKinsey study report on refusal to release methodology?
This is an important story, but it’s mostly going ignored. Today Paul Krugman weighs in: News outlets that covered the McKinsey study faulting the Affordable Care Act when it came out are now ignoring McKinsey’s refusal to release the info we need to determine whether the study is even remotely legitimate.
* Why the McKinsey story matters: Illustrating why McKinsey’s stonewalling and the media silence about it are important, GOP Senator Ron Johnson and former McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin are now citing the study as proof of the ballooning costs of Obamacare. Their article is likely to get wide notice.
Again: If the McKinsey study’s findings were not being widely used as political weapon against the health reform law — and helping to shape the public debate over it — it might not matter as much that McKinsey is refusing to release the info we need to evaluate them. But the findings are being used this way, so its fair game to demand that the company release the data. Anyone citing this study should also note that repeated requests for this info have been turned down.
* McKinsey not commenting: A McKinsey spokesperson tells me the company won’t have any comment on the Democrats’ formal request for the info.
* War Powers Act quote of the day: Jim Webb nails it:
“Spending a billion dollars and dropping bombs on people sounds like hostilities to me.”
* Dick Durbin hammers White House over Libya: Strong stuff from Senator Durbin, too:
“I have held every president of both political parties to this standard through the course of my congressional career,” Durbin said. “And I think President Obama will remember the days when he was in the Senate and thought the same thing.”
The fact is that this is an area where there really is genuine bipartisan agreement. What remains to be seen is what Congress can — or is willing to — do about it.
* Pawlenty gets tough with Romney: T-Paw is finally getting serious about attacking Mitt over Romneycare, and I think using Romney’s health care record as proof that he can’t win the general election will become a key argument:
“I don’t think you can prosecute the political case against President Obama if you are a co-conspirator in one of the main charges against the president on a political level.”
* Why the 2012 election will be all about competing ideologies: Good stuff from Ronald Brownstein on how the anti-government zealotry at the recent GOP debate shows that Republicans will demand that their nominee wage an aggressively ideological fight in the general election:
Unless economic recovery substantially accelerates, Obama needs to frame 2012 more as a choice between competing philosophies than as a referendum on his performance. The latter always looms large in presidential reelections, but the ambition and militance of the Republican agenda outlined Monday increases Obama’s odds of focusing more voters on the former. Monday’s debate showed above all how eager Republicans are for an ideological fight. At a time when economic discontent is draining support for Obama’s performance, that may be exactly what he wants too.
* Wisconsin GOP suddenly doesn’t care so much about taxpayers: The GOP scheme to meddle in Dem primaries to delay the recalls will cost taxpayers an additional $175,000 in just one state senate district.
Friendly reminder: The rationale for rolling back the bargaining rights of public employees was that it was necessary to protect those very same taxpayers that are now getting gouged by these GOP shenanigans.
* Eric Holder keeps making case for civilan trials: Polls suggest this fight is a political loser for Dems, and they’ve basically lost the battle over Guantanamo, which is why it’s heartening to see that the Attorney General continues to make the case for civilian trials for terror suspects in high profile speeches.
* Are neocons really losing their grip on the GOP? Yes, the 2012 GOP candidates are flirting with the call for withdrawal from Afghanistan, but as Adam Serwer notes, there’s good reason for skepticism that we’re actually going to see any meaningful shift on foreign policy anytime soon.
* Meaningless polling of the day: It’s surprising to see observers who know better pretending that polling matchups between Obama and an unnamed Republican tell us anything significant.
* And nothing will ever end media obsession with Weinergate: As E.J. Dionne notes, it’s amusing that media figures are wondering whether Weiner’s resignation will end this story, when they are the ones actively making the editorial decision to continue talking about it.
What else is happening?