Happy Hour Roundup

* A new CNN poll finds that 54 percent would blame Republicans if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, versus 29 percent who would blame Obama. Independents would blame the GOP by 49-30.  Note this:

The numbers are little changed from last fall, when Republicans took more of the blame for a partial federal government shutdown sparked by a push to defund the new healthcare law.

So no real difference from the shutdown fiasco that Republicans have since resolved to avoid. I’d say it’s highly unlikely we’re going to see another serious debt limit standoff.

* Indeed, Sahil Kapur talks to GOP aides and finds that Republicans agree generally that they want to extort something in exchange for a debt limit hike, but haven’t yet figured out yet what to extort.

* A very interesting piece from Peter Beinart on the deep roots of the “American exceptionalism” debate, on its weakening grip on younger Americans, and on the ways in which America really is becoming less exceptional.

* Brian Beutler on how the true nature of the right’s ideological hostility to a minimum wage hike is demonstrated with uncommon clarity in conservative objections to Obama’s minimum wage executive order.

* With Republicans insisting there are four areas of “common ground” upon which Obama could cooperate with them if he wanted to, Steve Benen explains just how narrow these slivers of common ground really are.

* Ed Kilgore has a useful corrective to today’s edition of media hyping of splits between Senate Dems and Obama. Yes, it turns out Democrats don’t agree on absolutely everything.

* Even Rasmussen finds that Alison Lundergan Grimes is in a dead heat with Mitch McConnell.

* I noted earlier that liberal groups want to see Nancy Pelosi come out firmly against Fast Track Authority for free trade deals Obama is negotiating. For more context, read HuffPo’s piece in January on what House Dems are thinking about the measure.

* Jonathan Capehart has a nice dissection of Bill O’Reilly’s Obama interview, including this fun little nugget:

The travails of HealthCare.gov, the murderous attacks in Benghazi and the actions taken by the IRS against conservative groups chewed up 9 minutes and 45 seconds of the 10-minute sitdown.

At first I thought that was a joke, but it turns out to be entirely real.

* Paul Waldman asks a very good question: Why bother going on O’Reilly in the first place?

If his goal was to show the country that he’s willing to reach out to his opponents, that’s a story we’ve heard hundreds of times before. Does demonstrating it again really accomplish anything? Why not take this opportunity to, say, do an interview with an economics journalist who could ask some interesting questions about the administration’s plans for the economy? Or a health care reporter who could go into detail about the present and future of the Affordable Care Act? Or pretty much anybody other than a blowhard whose only goal is to make him look bad?

* And Andrew Rosenthal reads conservative reactions to the multi-lingual Coca Cola “America the Beautiful” ad so you don’t have to. A taste:

Coca Cola is the official soft drink of illegals crossing the border

Lovely. What else?

Also on The Plum Line

Another big blow to the Iran sanctions bill