* This afternoon, the House voted down the Democratic plan to extend the Bush tax cuts on all income under $250,000, including that of “job creators” and “small business” people who make more than that.

A striking 19 Democrats defected and voted against this plan, apparently out of fear of being labeled tax hikers. The defections illlustrate Nancy Pelosi’s difficulties in keeping the caucus together on this issue, and help explain — whatever you think of the substance of it — why she proposed raising the threshold to $1 million.

Whlie today’s vote was expected, the question now is whether Dems can use this vote — combined with the expected passage of the Republican plan to extend all the cuts tomorrow — to clarify the difference in priorities between the parties.

House Republicans have gone on record with this vote stating that they are not willing to extend low tax rates on income under $250,000 unless low rates are also extended on incomes above that, which are earned by one out of every 50 taxpayers. Republicans will argue that the vast majority of Dems voting for the Dem plan today shows they are addicted to raising taxes, and that Republicans are the ones who want low taxes for everybody. We’ll see who wins the argument.

* Good James Fallows piece on Romney’s foreign trip, and how it may illustrate a lack of his grasp of the political basics:

Three months before the election, it is fair to wonder about Mitt Romney’s basic skill level as a politician.... I’m talking about the counterpart to what coaches call “overall athleticism,” “court vision,” “ball sense,” even “football IQ.” In politics this includes an ability to read audiences, to self-edit and self-correct in real time, and to sense effortlessly how your words will sound to people on the other end.

In other words, the trip raised questions about what you might call his political intelligence.

* Ed Kilgore on the ideology underlying Mitt Romney’s regressive tax plan: If market success equals virtue, then reducing the tax burden of the rich is a moral imperative.

* The key line from Obama’s speech today pouncing on the new study of Romney’s plan: “He’s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut.” Video here.

* Republicans have blasted the sampling of the NYT/CBS poll showing Obama up, but Sean Trende determines that the poll may not be so out of whack after all, and asks whether it’s a “harbinger of polls to come.”

* Markos Moulitsas looks at all the polling and concludes: “Obama is winning. Period.” I don’t know how significant the head-to-head polling is right now, but Obama’s small but persistant lead despite high economic pessimism is suggestive.

* Missed this yesterday, but the Wall Street Journal explains that government outlays have decreased during the Obama-era recovery (unlike under St. Reagan!), which helps explain why growth is lagging.

* Paul Krugman comments on the above:

It’s really amazing: between miscalculations on Obama’s part and scorched-earth Republican opposition, what we’ve had is insane austerity in the face of depression — yet we’re having an election centered on the claim that the weak economy shows that government spending doesn’t work.

* Who says Romney’s plan is regressive? The Congressional GOP plan would shift the tax burden from the rich to the middle class more aggressively than Romney’s would, underlining the regressivity of across-the-board cuts.

* Dave Weigel on the right wing’s ongoing effort to shame Obama into not mentioning the Osama Bin Laden killing.

We were told some time ago that a massive media campaign from members of the military angry over Obama “spiking the football” would bring Obama down. Any word on that?

* Romney used to understand that government did play a major role in building the internet, before right wing mythology began dictating otherwise.

* The Fix scoops that the Obama-allied Priorities USA reserves $30 million in ad time in swing states, a sign liberal donors may be finally getting a bit more serious about the GOP super PAC threat.

* And your sorely needed Wednesday comic relief: Josh Hicks debunks some truly whacked out claims Rudy Giuliani made about Joe the Plumber and Obama supposedly destroying Las Vegas.

What else?