* Can Ryancare help Dems win back seniors and independents? With the debate over whether NY-26 is a bellwether for 2012 still in full swing, a pair of liberal leaning groups will release a poll today finding that voters nationally oppose Ryancare by a 16-point margin (38 percent for; 54 percent against) when the plan is describd to them as follows:
“Instead of the government paying doctors and hospitals directly for treating seniors as Medicare does now, the government would provide vouchers to help seniors buy their own private health insurance policy.”
The poll — which interviewed 800 likely voters by land-line and cell and will be released today by the Herndon Alliance and Know Your Care — also finds that this description drives opposition to the plan up to 58 percent among seniors and 60 percent among independents, two voting blocs that were crucial to the GOP victory in 2010 that Dems are working hard to win back for 2012.
These overall findings roughly track with Nate Silver’s analysis making the case that the problem for Republicans is that voters are persuaded by arguments against the plan.
* Republicans press case on the debt ceiling: After successfully winning extensive bipartisan support for the vote last night against raising the debt ceiling without massive spending cuts, House Republicans will meet with the president today, where they are likely to press for deep cuts to Medicare and other programs in exchange for raising the debt limit.
As noted here yesterday, Republicans have essentially won the battle over the debt ceiling, in the sense that they have forced Dems to agree that a debt ceiling hike without spending cuts is politically impossible. As a result, they are likely to get big concessions in exchange for agreeing to something — raising the debt limit — they had already conceded is inevitable. The question is how much Dems will be prepared to trade away.
* House GOPers to say debt ceiling fight is about job creation: John Boehner will tell the President today that raising the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts will signal a lack of seriousness about job growth.
* Head spinner of the day: As David Catanese notes, the NRCC attacked Democrats who voted for and against the bill raising the debt ceiling hike with no spending cuts attached. Dems who voted for the bill aren’t for spending cuts; while Dems who voted with Republicans against the bill were only doing it for political reasons.
* GOP “stepped into a deep pile of manure” with Ryancare: Nonpartisan analyst Charlie Cook claims that the GOP embrace of Ryancare has wiped away the advantage Republicans enjoyed in 2010, and that they don’t know it.
“Republicans have stepped into a deep pile of manure,” Cook says, ”yet they seem to want to avoid looking at their shoes.”
* Huntsman again embraces Ryancare, which remains central to 2012: Fun times as Jon Huntsman calls on his rivals to stop equivocating and fully embrace the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, as he has. Dems are hoping to make Medicare central to the 2012 campaign at the outset by pushing the GOP contenders to talk about Ryancare — which Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have carefully distanced themselves from — as much as possible.
* Conservatives continue distorting Obama’s 1967 borders stance: The Republican Jewish Coalition is pumping some 20,000 calls into the homes of Jewish voters claiming that “asking Israel to return to those borders is unacceptable and places Israel in a vulnerable and dangerous position.” Of course, Obama never did any such thing.
Also in the above link: Obama’s reelection campaign is apparently concerned that the ongoing falsification of his Israel stance could cause his numbers to slip among Jews.
* Mitt Romney, 2012 GOP frontrunner: While the press obsesses over Sarah Palin’s bus tour, the real action in the 2012 GOP primary is the battle between Romney and Pawlenty (and to some degree Huntsman) to win over the wealthiest and most influential GOP donors, a contest that suggests Romney remains way out in front for the nomination.
* Romney a true believer in the individual mandate: No matter how many times he tries to fudge the federal-state distinction, the fact remains that Mitt was a believer in the individual mandate as a matter of policy and philosophy.
* Rand Paul says you should be jailed for attending (violent) political speeches: Think Progress catches Rand Paul claiming that anyone who attends “speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government” should be “deported or put in prison,” which is an interesting variation on Paul’s alleged pro-civil liberties stance.
* Anthony Weiner has a conserative target on his back: The key reason conservatives are gunning for him over the Twitter bulge is that he’s an aggressive, outspoken liberal who would make a good scalp for the right.
* Chris Christie is NOT running for president. Got that? He again confirms he’s not going to step in and rescue 2012 GOP hopes with his bold truth-telling, which will do nothing to stop speculative and wishful chatter to the contrary.
* And the media are played for chumps by Palin’s meaningless bus tour: I’m with Justin Elliott on this: The sight of as many as 200 reporters following Palin — who is not a declared candidate and not a public official, and whose bus tour has no rationale whatsoever — is one of the most dispiriting media displays we’ve seen in a long time.
What else is happening?