The Washington Post

Happy Hour Roundup

* Robert Gates refuses to let Republicans push him into saying the mission is about regime change, and insists that other countries shoud be the ones to arm the Libyan rebels.

* Steve Coll on why arming the rebels would be “wrong, unnecessary, impractical, and self-defeating .”

* As expected, House conservatives say the emerging compromise of $33 billion in cuts is not good enough, and one even says that cuts that fall one billion short of what Tea Partyers want won’t be good enough, either.

* National Review editor Rich Lowry on why the Tea Partyers should take the deal and declare victory.

* Here’s a useful guide to the ten “riders” least relevant to deficit reduction that conservatives want included in a final budget deal.

* The Tea Partyers’ latest slogan: “Cut it or shut it.” Question: Which outcome, at bottom, would they really prefer?

* The meager Tea Party rally in DC today shows that spontaneous outpourings of grassroots Tea Party energy look a lot more impressive when they’re organized by astroturf groups and aggressively promoted by Fox News.

* It only took the Wisconsin courts three tries to persuade Scott Walker to comply with the directive that he not implement his rollback of collective bargaining.

* A quick, user-friendly piece laying out the latest state of play in half a dozen other state-based anti-union initiatives. Key takeaway: It’s full steam ahead.

* You can already see signs of the Obama reelection team’s efforts to ratchet up message discipline and repetition, repetition, repetition.

* Good news for Obama: He’s on the rise again among young voters, a crucial barometer of whether Obama’s reelection campaign can come close to duplicating the energy and coalition that propelled him to victory in 2008.

* But progressives worry that Obama’s choice of consumate insider Jim Messina as reelection chief doesn’t bode well for efforts to recapture the grassroots nature of the last campaign.

* Ed Kilgore on why Mitt Romney will never be able to catch up with the GOP primary electorate’s rightward gallop, no matter how hard he tries.

* Jed Lewison has somehow got it into his head that the performance of the stock market under Obama should be relevant to whether Obama’s policies can reasonably be described as socialist.

* ICYMI: Jonathan Bernstein has a really interesting explanation for why the 2012 GOP hopefuls are increasingly dabbling in birtherism.

*And I’m with Dave Weigel: The flap over GOP Rep. Thomas Marino’s alleged suggestion that Libya is not in Africa is a complete and total nontroversy.

What else is happening?

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

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