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Posted at 08:52 AM ET, 06/20/2011

The Morning Plum

* A historic day for marriage equality? The most important thing to watch today: New York’s state legislature is on the verge of voting to become the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. Proponents are one vote in the state senate short of making today a very big day indeed for marriage equality.

The larger story is striking: This year, for the first time, multiple national polls are showing majority support for the notion that consenting gay adults should have the right to marry and enjoy the same benefits of marriage that heterosexual couples do. If New York takes this step today — which would make it the largest state thus far to do so — it will reinforce the sense that the national outcome of this decades-long civil-rights battle, which has produced a truly astonishing shift in public attitudes, is inevitable.

* Will House vote to restrict funding for Libya operation? In the wake of Charlie Savage’s big story reporting that Obama rejected his lawyers’ advice that he needed Congressional authorization for the war, one key thing to watch this week is whether the House will now take this confrontation to a head by voting to restrict funding for the operation.

If so, Dems will find themselves torn between opposition to executive overreach and the desire to remain loyal to the president, while Republicans will be torn between their desire to box Obama in and their support for strong American engagement abroad.

* History lesson of the day: As Glenn Greenwald notes, Bush also rejected the advice of some top lawyers when he authorized warrantless wiretapping — which of course Dems criticized as a sign of executive power run amok.

* Will high unemployment be obstacle to Obama’s reelection? A very interesting and counterintuitive take from Chris Cillizza on why the jobless rate in key swing states may not be quite the obstacle to reelection that we think.

* It’s all about jobs, jobs, and jobs: Politico reports that Senate Dems seem to get it:

Senate Democrats are beginning to fear that the country’s increasingly dim economic outlook will cost them their seats in 2012 and are trying to craft a new agenda aimed at spurring job creation.

As the Politico story notes, Dems recognize that the bad economy has put them in a political jam that is nothing short of urgent. Of course, with some Dems partly complicit in making sure that new stimulus spending is not even part of the conversation, it’s unclear what they can do about it.

* Still more questions about McKinsey study: Forbes’s Rick Ungar explains why releasing that study finding that the Affordable Care Act will prompt many employers to drop insurance for workers may have actually been in McKinsey’s financial interest.

Key question: Will McKinsey — under heavy pressure from Democrats — finally cough up the study’s methodology this week?

* Medicare central to debt ceiling talks: With the fate of Medicare likely to be central to the intensifying Biden-led deficit talks this week, we will finally find out if Dems and the White House are genuinely drawing a hard line against Medicare benefits cuts.

* Will 2012 GOP primary voters tolerate calls for Afghan drawdown? Lindsey Graham puts the GOP candidates on notice on foreign policy: “If you think the pathway to the GOP nomination is to get to Barack Obama’s left, you’re going to meet a lot of headwinds.”

It’ll be interesting to see if the sudden willingness of some GOP candidates to entertain the idea that American power is not limitless really will become a 2012 primary liability. Figures like Graham will obviously do everything possible to dissuade them from trying to find out.

* But Jon Huntsman didn’t get the neocon memo: Mike Allen reports that Huntsman this week will “say that defense spending should be on the table, including base closures,” and will argue that “Obama’s plan for getting out of Afghanistan is too slow, and that intervening in Libya was not in our national interest.”

* The Great Neocon Hope: Good read from Ross Douthat: It seems that neocons are increasingly placing their hopes in Marco Rubio to carry their banner in the Senate, another sign that neoconservatism has fallen on uncertain times.

Also: Douthat admits that the neocon vision of American power — that there are “no limits on what it can accomplish in the world” — has basically been a fantasy.

* Obama’s mythical problem with the liberal base: A straw poll taken at Netroots Nation would seem to challenge (again) the ubiquitous claim that Obama is forever on the verge of losing the left.

* Coinage of the day: “Money blurt.” From Dan Eggen and T.W. Farnam, the “money blurt” takes place when a candidate says something insane, it goes viral, and the national money flows in as a result.

Example: After accusing Obama of harboring “anti American views,” Michele Bachmann, dispiritingly, raked in over $1 million from donors across the country. Put this one in the sucker-born-every-minute file.

* And the unhinged right-wing conspiracy mongering of the day: Steve Stromberg does a demolition job on Michele Bachmann’s deeply crazy claim that Obama secretly wants Medicare to go broke to force seniors on to “Obamacare.”

Key takeaway: It’s a measure of just how warped the debate over health care has become on the right that this sort of insanity is accepted as par for the course.

What else is happening?

By  |  08:52 AM ET, 06/20/2011

 
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