* The Treasury Department tells John Boehner the debt limit deadline is February 27th. Okay, then. That’s plenty of time for Republicans to reconcile themselves (yet again) to a clean debt limit hike.
* Steve Benen with a fascinating explanation for why Republicans and conservatives are far more likely to tell pollsters they’ve been harmed by Obamacare: Tribalism.
* Paul Krugman gets at the larger story behind the media botching of the CBO report:
The truth is that nobody knows how any particular news item will play politically.What the political scientists tell us, in fact, is that most of what gets reported on in political journalism matters not at all: elections are primarily determined by economic developments and occasionally war, not by gaffes and all that. So reporting on the journalist’s view of how the perceptions of a budget document will affect the next election is a purely destructive action: not only does it divert scarce time and resources from reporting on the actual policy issue, it has zero value even in its ostensible goal of predicting future political developments.
Basically what happened is that multiple news orgs ran with the GOP spin on the report, and then followed up with process stories about how that spin — which was false, but was broadcast far and wide by those same news orgs — was bad news for Democrats. Because, you know, ”explaining is losing.”
* Must read from Francis Wilkinson on how the debate over what to do about immigration, and the culture war underpinning it, is largely settled in the minds of Americans. All that’s left to do is wait until Congress catches on, and catches up.
* Sahil Kapur gets this right: John Boehner really has no easy options on immigration. Look, there’s no way to get reform done without getting somebody angry.
* Benjy Sarlin sums up the current view of immigration advocates: The problem is not anything Boehner said; it’s the fact that too many House Republicans think it’s folly to act during the 2014 elections.
* Relatedly, Colin Powell prods the GOP to overcome its “dark vein of intolerance” and act on immigration reform: “If not now, when?”
Good question. As detailed here yesterday, there are multiple scenarios that could make it harder to act next year.
* Chart of the day, courtesy of Kevin Drum: Amid a national jobs emergency, public sector employment has been falling for years and is still declining. Again: Republicans are largely already getting their way on the economy.
* Could Texas ever turn purple? Gallup’s Andrew Dugan has an interesting dive into the demographics of Texas Latinos, illustrating why making the state more competitive is possible but likely tougher than most think.
* And an adviser to Harry Reid comes up with a pretty funny graphic depiction of the profusion of House GOP debt ceiling trial-balloons.