* An interesting argument from David Atkins on why it’s so hard to get D.C. commentators to blame Republicans for the sequester standoff: There seems to be an ingrained belief that spending cuts are morally superior to tax increases.
* Ezra Klein has an entertaining look at a GOP lawmaker that seems determined to remain ignorant of the fact that Obama has offered Republicans entitlements cuts. If the President offers Republicans Chained CPI, and they keep insisting he only wants tax hikes, did the offer ever happen at all?
* Chris Cillizza points out that Obama at his presser today pushed back hard on the argument that both sides are to blame for the sequester, which is to say, he challenged the “false equivalency” argument. This is at bottom the President challenging members of the media.
* David Firestone has a nice take on the presser, where reporters demanded to know how Obama intends to lead Republicans out of their no-compromise stance:
One reporter even had the brilliant suggestion today that he should lock Congressional leaders in a room until they surrender and agree to a deal, as if this were a Hollywood version of a union negotiation. Perhaps he should also withhold food and water?
* Pat Garofalo has the chart of the day, which neatly illustrates the deficit reduction of the last few years and how Dems have sacrificed significantly more towards it than Republicans have.
* Steve Benen, reflecting on John Boehner’s comments today, captures the uncompromising nature of the GOP stance perfectly:
“Let’s make it clear, the president got his tax hike on January 1st. The discussion about revenue, in my view, is over.”
…makes exactly as much sense as this sentence:
“Let’s make it clear, Republicans got their spending cuts in 2011. The discussion about spending cuts, in my view, is over.”
* Jonathan Bernstein games out the difficulties House Republicans may face in extending the sequestration level spending past the government shutdown deadline if Dems deny all support. Key question: Will defense hawks within the GOP stand for it?
* Michael Cohen is right about this: If Republicans accepted what Obama is offering, it would be a very good deal for them, and they could rightly declare victory.
* The state department concluded today that the Keystone XL pipeline project would not have a substantial impact on climate change, in what looks like a Friday night news dump.
* The Sierra Club’s reaction: ”President Obama said that he’s committed to fighting the climate crisis. If that is true, he should throw the State Department’s report away and reject the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL pipeline.”
There is a period of public comment coming up, so expect environmentalists to ramp up. They’ll argue that halting the project would send a powerful White House message to the world about the United States’ commitment to combating climate change.
* And one other key moment from today’s presser: Obama said if he were a Supreme Court justice, he’d probably argue that if Prop 8 needs to be subjected to heightened scrutiny, then laws in other states do as well. This is the template for expanding marriage rights nationwide.