* E.J. Dionne column sets the deficit scolds straight: If you care about deficits, you need to worry about economic growth, and that includes Obama, who should prioritize the economy and public investment in his State of the Union speech.
* Rush Limbaugh says it’s up to him and Fox News to stop Republicans from embracing immigration reform, a mark of how determined some on the right are to prevent the GOP from doing what it must to avert demographic doom.
* Jerrold Nadler puts fellow Dems on notice: Don’t even think about supporting immigration reform without protections for LGBT Americans. This could conceivably prove an obstacle if Dems are needed to pass the bill through the House.
* Mike Tomasky on how the GOP’s aging white base will never, ever allow the party to do what it takes to genuinely appeal to minorities; as always, the problem remains the policy agenda, not the packaging.
* Relatedly, Jonathan Chait on how the GOP’s makeover strategy is essentially to move left on immigration while moving right, or at least remaining to the right, on everything else.
Reminder: For all the talk of moderation, the House GOP is mulling a plan that would supposedly wipe out the deficit in 10 years without new revenues — which would require savage cuts to government that are worse than the Ryan plan.
* Nice catch by Steve Benen: Paul Ryan actually claimed that if Clinton were president, we’d have fixed our fiscal mess by now. Historical footnote: Clinton raised taxes, remember? Beyond that, this is the same old “good Dem, bad Dem” game that Republicans like to play with Clinton and Obama.
* Good Wonkblog post on why the gun debate post-Newtown has been different from all the others, largely because the White House has effectively kept the focus on the need to respond with actual solutions. As always, the key is keeping public sentiment from flagging after the initial horror fades.
* The sequester that Republicans previously said would destroy our military has somehow been transformed into a major point of leverage for them.
* Is a Chris Christie landslide in the making? Steve Kornacki reports that Dems privately fear a massive drubbing in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, and does a deep dive into Jersey politics to explain why.
* And Paul Waldman gives Sarah Palin the sendoff she has long deserved.