January 11, 2013

* Another: GOP Senator Chuck Grassley signals openness to supporting improved background checks and a ban on high capacity magazines. Coming after Phil Gingrey earlier today, this signals the difficulty GOPers may face when challenged to oppose individual gun reform provisions that have widespread support.

* Excellent Ed Kilgore post about supposedly pragmatic and non-ideological GOP governors who are actually in the grip of that same old perennial desire on the right to redistribute the tax burden downwards.

* Steve Benen has a good post on the legal dilemma that will be created for the President if default really does look like a reality. Key nugget:

On the one hand, the White House is obligated to follow the law that creates the debt ceiling. On the other hand, the White House is obligated to spend the money that Congress has appropriated. [...] If Republicans follow through on their threats, we’d have, among other things, an untenable legal dynamic: President Obama can’t pay the government’s bills, and he can’t not pay the government’s bills.

Also in Benen’s post: Links to legal scholars arguing that Obama is obligated to override the debt ceiling if it comes to it.

* Business Insider has the full letter that Senate Dems sent to the White House today pledging support if Obama opts for unilateral action on the debt ceiling. Also note the renewed vow that Dems won’t negotiate.

* Paul Krugman is cheered by the signs of Dem backbone he sees in that letter, and adds some strategic advice:

Just to be clear, there’s no need for the administration to commit to a solution now, or even to admit that it has one in mind. You still want the pressure on the GOP to turn away from this cliff. But you also want to be careful not to rule anything out, partly so that the GOP understands that it may face a grand fizzle, partly because it may be necessary to do something to avert default. So the appropriate response of senior officials, if asked about the coin and all that, is to say “Hey, look, isn’t that a crack in the ceiling?”

Very good line from Jed Lewison about all the screams of “dictatorship” and “tyranny” that are greeting the talk about possible executive action in response to the debt ceiling crisis:

This isn’t what dictatorship looks like: this is what a president with a tea party Republican House looks like.

* As Dave Weigel notes, no matter how loudly Republicans object to the “hostage taking” metaphor, what they are doing, in fact, is hostage taking.

* Evan McMorris-Santoro sets the record straight, reminding us that achieving comprehensive improvements to the background check system alone would be an important achievement.

* Indeed, the Brady Campaign’s top policy priority right now is a broad based background check overhaul; you can find details about what that would entail right here.

* Harry Enten does a deep dive into the polling and shows that gun reform really has broad support, and argues that executive action for gun reforms isn’t really tyranny if the public supports them.

* And Gavin Aronsen untangles the real history behind the latest tale making the rounds on the right: Hey, Hitler took away people’s guns, too!

 What else?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.