* Smart point by Felicia Sonmez: Just as during the payroll tax fight, Obama’s recess appointments are again forcing Republicans to argue about process, while Dems argue the merits of their policies.
* David Dayen on why he thinks the GOP’s threats of legal action against Obama’s recess appointments will prove to be so much hot air .
* But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may take the fight against Cordray to the courts, which neatly illustrates what this battle is about.
* Today Romney denounced the Cordray appointment as “Chicago style politics at its worst.” The Obama campaign responds:
“Mitt Romney today stood with predatory lenders and Republicans in Congress over the middle class. He doubled down on his promise to eliminate the Wall Street watchdog and allow Wall Street to write its own rules again, leaving consumers vulnerable to hidden fees, financial traps and excessive risk taking that will hit their pocketbooks. Governor Romney has made clear he has not learned the lessons of the economic crisis, instead, he’s giving the most irresponsible financial actors a bright green light to pursue profit at any cost to communities across America.”
Note the mention of “Republicans in Congress.” Dems know it’s imperative that they prevent the eventual nominee from achieving separation from the unpopular Congressional GOP and its policies.
* Romney also tries to argue that appointing Cordray to get past gridlock is itself going to lead to more gridlock, which suggests that it isn’t politically easy to argue against going around GOP obstructionism to appoint a protector of consumers.
* Chart of the day, courtesy of Adam Serwer: Reagan and the two Bushes sure made a lot of recess appointments, a measure of Obama’s relutance to use the tactic in the face of GOP obsructionism.
* Suzy Khimm has a quick and useful explainer on who Cordray is, what he’s planning to do, and how likely he is to succeed.
* Great line from Paul Krugman about Mitt Romney’s claim of 100,000 jobs created by Bain, which doesn’t factor in the layoffs:
By that standard, everyone who’s spent a lot of time with slot machines is a big winner, since only the pluses count.
* Interesting analysis of the Iowa results from Sean Trend, particularly the idea that if Rick Perry drops out, it’ll make it more likely that conservatives could coalesce around a viable not-Romney.
* Leading conservatives launch a quest to find a not-Romney they can unite behind, and the urgency about his march to the nomination continues to grow.
* If Dems emphasize Romney’s flip flops away frompreviously sensible positions, do they risk making him seem like a secret moderate in a way that will give him a boost in the general election?
* Fun fact of the day, courtesy of Dan Eggen, with ominous implications for 2012: “Super PACs have outspent Republican candidates by more than 2 to 1 in Iowa and other early primary states.”
* Philip Klein articulates the conservative nightmare scenario about Romney, arguing that Republican turnout in Iowa bodes ill for the chances of unseating Obama.
* And your sorely needed Wednesday comic relief: Fox News has now inflated the total number of jobs “created” by Mitt Romney at Bain Capital to 150,000, padding Romney’s claim by another 50,000. No word on the methodology Fox employed here.