* The mission is not about dislodging Gaddafi: With criticism mounting of the Libya mission’s lack of clarity, Obama officials continue walking a fine line: They are signaling that they want Gaddafi gone, but sticking by their core insistence that this is not the mission’s goal, while reiterating that Libyans need to make that decision for themselves.
Key takeaway: The Obama administration is continuing to rebuff the right’s calls for “regime change,” which are only likely to mount.
* Why Obama won’t call for “regime change”: Philip Ewing explains it to conservatives: The President “wants to avoid putting the United States into another situation — the third in a decade — in which America would be responsible for rebuilding a Muslim nation it has attacked and decapitated.”
* About that pesky need for Congressional authorization of war: Charlie Savage has the full rundown on this dispute, which I detailed here yesterday, and notably, Savage gets Obama’s national security adviser to defend the decision to go to war without Congressional approval, on the argument that this is less a full-scale war than a limited mission.
* Bipartisan criticism of Obama’s mission: The lack of Congressional authorization is now drawing criticism from both sides of the aisle, including Senator Jim Webb, who insists:
“This isn’t the way our system is supposed to work. We have not put this issue in front of the American people in any meaningful way.”
* Dem wants emergency Congressional session on Libya: Relatedly, veteran Dem Rep. John Conyers calls for an emergency session of Congress to review the Libya engagement, arguing that the “Constitution grants sole authority to the Conress to commit the nation to battle,” and that Congress should “never abdicate this responsibility to the President.” Something tells me there won’t be many takers on this one.
* It’s not easy being president: Marc Ambinder has an interesting look at the multiple cross-currents and pressures buffeting Obama as he ponders the way forward in Libya.
* What about war funding? One interesting measure of our involvement in Libya will be whether the Obama admininstration asks Congress for funding for the mission. Though there are no plans to do that at this time, a change would signal a longer involvment than expected.
* Wisconsin history lesson of the day: A great read from Wisconsin history professor William Cronon, who reaches deep into the state’s history to illustrate with great clarity just how radical Scott Walker’s proposals and behavior have become. Note the reference to another famous Wisconsin Republican whose last name has become synonymous with overreach and indecency.
* So-called deficit hawks refuse to discuss tax hikes for the rich: Jed Lewison nails it:
If you’re serious about deficit reduction, you have to be serious about getting rid of the Bush tax cuts — it’s pure fantasy to believe you can balance the budget through spending cuts alone. Unfortunately, however, there is very little will power in our nation’s capitol to admit this obvious fact.
* Get ready for a very long fight over health reform:Polling guru Mark Blumenthal on how historical precedent shows that it might take literally years for public opinion to shift on the health reform law, and why its fate could remain up in the air for just as long.
* A Congressional race worth watching: Florida GOP Rep. and Tea Party darling Allen West gets a Democratic challenger, and the DCCC is making West one of its top targets.
* Haley Barbour a formidable contender for 2012: Karen Tumulty on why Barbour is a serious contender for the GOP nomination, even though his affection for the confederate flag and smoke-filled-room lobbyist persona make him seem almost comically out of step with the age of Barack Obama.
* Sharron Angle, chastened and repentant: Good catch by Taegan Goddard: As Angle gears up for a run for Congress, she is seeking a detente with the news media, which she famously disparaged and ran away from during her Senate race, helping lead to her crash and burn.
* And don’t miss the comically phony Tea Party pander of the day: You really must read Mitt Romney’s criticism of Obama’s handling of Libya, which is so canned and riddled with buzzwords designed to pander to the right wing base that it feels like he subjected his language to a dozen Tea Party focus groups before daring to open his mouth.
Romney actually says he supports the mission in Libya. But he somehow manages to slip in references to Obama’s alleged non-belief in American exceptionalism and his alleged apologizing for America (neither of which exist in the real world) before wrapping up with an absurdly heavy-handed suggestion that Arabs are dictating American foreign policy. Quite an impressive feat.
What else is happening?