* I agree 100 percent with Charles Krauthammer: The GOP should nominate a presidential candidate who will make an unabashed case for the vision underlying Ryancare and will run a highly ideological campaign against the liberal vision of governance and the social contract. As Krauthammer says, let’s have this debate.
* Republicans still saying No to tax hikes: In the Biden-led debt ceiling talks yesterday, Dems insisted tax hikes would be necessary to close the defict, but Republicans continued to say No, insisting flatly that no tax increase can pass the GOP-controlled House.
* More stimulus spending not even part of the conversation: Another key nugget from the talks: More stimulus spending wasn’t even discussed, and White House economic adviser Jason Furman even endorsed the line that deficit reduction will “increase confidence.”
It’s another sign, as Paul Krugman puts it, that “the White House believes in the confidence fairy.”
* Dems to Obama: Do more on jobs: A few Senate Dems are valiently urging the White House to push for more infrastructure spending, funded by tax hikes, in order to spur job creation.
* Harkin: Obama got “snookered” by deficit talk: Also in the above link, an important quote from Senator Tom Harkin:
I am concerned about the Obama administration’s approach on this,” Harkin said. “It always has been about jobs. I think the administration kind of got snookered talking about the deficit and the debt after the last election.”
* Why have we given up on spending to create jobs? No matter how many times those who call for slashing spending at a moment of peril for the economy are proven wrong, they will continue to be right, because, well, just because.
* Ominous question of the day: Jonathan Cohn:
Are President Obama and his advisers alarmed about the tepid recovery? Are they working feverishly to think up new interventions, the kind that involve increasing short-term deficits, to strengthen it? I would like to think the answer to both questions is “yes.” But public signals from the president and his advisers remain ambiguous, while even some of the administration’s more well-connected friends are getting nervous about how White House rhetoric is shaping the debate.
* Why Newt is unlikely to recover:Yes, John McCain rebounded from a similar staff exodus in 2008, but Gingrich simply lacks the organizational skills, good will among other Republicans, and willingness to do grunt work that would give him a real shot at a comeback. But it will be amusing to watch!
* Gingrich death watch: Also: The GOP base has largely given up on Gingrich, probably largely due to his apostasy on Ryancare, and has no intention of changing its mind.
* Decision to skip Iowa straw poll shows Romney 2.0: Patrick O’Connor has the simplest one-sentence explanation out there for Romney’s decision to skip the Iowa straw poll:
“Mr. Romney’s decision sends the clearest signal yet that he doesn’t want to wade deeply into the social issues that carry particular weight with Iowa Republicans and instead intends to present himself to voters nationally as a successful businessman who can improve the economy.”
Bye bye, rock-ribbed conservative of 2008; hello, turnaround whiz kid of 2012.
* An opening for T-Paw: One side note about Romney’s decision: It could provide an opening for Tim Pawlenty to build cred among conservatives. His campaign is already painting the decision as proof that unlike Romney, Pawlenty isn’t afraid to showcase his conservative record before any audience.
* An opening for Michele Bachmann: The decision also presents an opportunity for Bachmann, because she has appeal to Evangelicals and social conservatives who drive the straw poll.
* Romney’s gamble: He’s banking on the fact that one of the more out-there candidates (Bachmann, Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, whoever) will catch fire and win the straw poll, delivering T-Paw a crippling blow.
* The Bush tax cuts: A failure in almost every conceivable way: I’m late to this, but check out Annie Lowery on how Bush’s much-balleyhooed tax cuts, which are now 10 years old, successfully produced a decade of income stagnation and the slowest job growth since World War II.
* Weiner’s constitutents are SO out of touch: A new poll finds that voters in Anthony Weiner’s district are not getting the message from House Dems and commentators that his after-hours transgressions should end his whole political career.
* And Weiner just may ride it out: It’s looking more and more like Weiner has no intention of quitting and is on the verge of riding out the scandal. Note: The signals from the Dem leadership that Weiner must go have largely stopped.
What else is happening?