1. I’ll start with a great post from Steve Kornacki about why polling doesn’t always predict reactions to policies; in particular, why the very popular Democratic plan to raise taxes on the rich won’t necessarily translate into a popular tax program if the Democrats implement it, and the possibility that the disconnect there is part of why it’s hard to keep Democrats in line on that issue.
2. Who cares about being responsible? Terrific reporting by Robert Mackey about how crazy conservative conspiracy theories — including those of Michele Bachmann — wound up inspiring Egyptian anti-American protesters. Got it? The president is un-American because he points out that government built roads and bridges, but it’s totally fine to make up lies about how the U.S. is undermining foreign elections, because it’s not as if anyone over there could hear it, believe it and wind up turning against America.
3. The Cayman Islands attack: Mitt Romney tries to explain why it’s a good thing. Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to fly. Reid Pillifant has the story.
4. And for what it’s worth, PolitiFact certifies the Obama attack add version of the Cayman Island story is “true.”
5. Dan Drezner has a good point about the underlying substance in the current round of attacks: “You campaign as a mercantilist; you govern as a free-trader.”
6. Nate Silver on the long-term effects of the Bain attacks.
7. Brendan Nyhan argues that the debate over Romney and Bain has moved beyond the realm of the fact-checkers.
8. Really smart post by Seth Masket about how issues “matter” in presidential elections.
9. Excellent item by Paul Waldman about why the Obama attack ad on Romney was effective and the response from Romney wasn’t . . . and why it probably doesn’t matter much, anyway.
10. Good perspective on the recent economic news from Jared Bernstein. Hey: I didn’t realize that real weekly earnings tanked last summer. I wonder if that played a more important role in Barack Obama’s approval slump back then than we realized.
11. Speaking of which: It’s good to see that some former inflation hawks are looking at the actual evidence and ‘fessing up to being wrong. Good for Timothy Lee. Any other takers? Remember that the Republican Party basically favors policies right now that are designed to fight inflation, not create jobs.
12. The Boy Scouts choose not to enter the 21st century; E.J. Graff is disappointed.
13. Want some good news? David Roberts on how the U.S. is actually making serious progress on carbon emissions — and why no one is talking about it.
14. Oh, of course Rush Limbaugh says that the Bane in the new Batman movie is a Hollywood conspiracy against Mitt Romney. If he needs to, he’ll say he was just joking. If not, not.
15. Which leads into a good Conor Friedersdorf item about how Limbaugh is bad for conservatives. I don’t think Friedersdorf appreciates just how radical Paul Ryan’s budget is, but other than that he’s making good points.
16. And a great appreciation of Encyclopedia Brown and Sally Kimball from Alyssa Rosenberg.