* House GOP leadership cranks up heat on Obama over Libya: With Obama returning home from Latin America, there’s an unmistakable sense in Washington that criticism of Obama’s handling of Libya has entered a new and far more serious phase. House Speaker John Boehner has sent a letter to the President demanding answers to a host of questions that would more clearly define the mission, including: “What is your benchmark for success in Libya?”
The letter makes it clear that Republican leaders, who have thus far been somewhat more willing than conservative commentators to grant Obama maneuvering room as commander in chief, are giving him a very small window before the full-blown criticism kicks in.
Also note the not-terribly-subtle hint that Obama spent less time consulting with Congress and the American people than with “foreign entities such as the United Nations and the Arab League.” Expect this line to escalate.
* Could House defund the Libya mission? Also: Democrats and Republicans are pushing a measure to cut off funding for U.S. operations in Libya, on the theory that the mission is unconstitutional. Whatever the prospects of this measure’s success, it’s another sign that depth anger in Congress at Obama’s decision not to adequately consult them isn’t going away anytime soon and has paradoxically left Obama with less breathing room from Congressional critics.
* What’s next in Libya? Glenn Thrush and Abby Phillips have an illuminating rundown of the looming questions that will determine whether Obama’s mission goes down as a success or failure.
* Libya versus Darfur: Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler has an interesting and nuanced take on Obama’s failure to live up to the doctrine of humanitarian intervention as he himself once defined it.
* Breaking: Public thinks tax hikes should be part of deficit discussion: According to new Post polling, a large majority, 64 percent, thinks the best way to control the deficit is through a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts. Less than a third, 31 percent, think only the latter should be employed.
And yet it still remains unclear that tax hikes will figure at all in the so-called “bipartisan” deficit discussions that are underway, another sign of how dramatically removed Washington consensus is from public opinion on fiscal matters.
* White House needs to deal with “lack of leadership” meme: An important column from E.J. Dionne on why the GOP’s criticism of Obama as detached, ideologically indistinct and unwilling to lead represents a concerted and well thought out strategy that could badly damage Obama if the White House doesn’t get serious about countering it.
* Is Romney’s waiver scheme even legal?Igor Volsky on why Mitt Romney’s proposal to grant all 50 states waivers from “Obamacare” if elected president might not even be legal under current law, because such a move can’t be authorized by presidential edict alone and might require an act of Congress.
* Weiner-mania!!! Dana Milbank on how Dems would be far better off if more of them adopted the Anthony Weiner playbook: Unabashed and aggressive defense of core liberal priorities and Dem achievements, and nonstop take-no-prisoners attacks on Republicans.
* Takedown of the day: David Corn on how the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads GPS’s new initiative to push for transparency in government is already trafficking in easily debunked falsehoods, and hypocrisy.
* Union-busters hit snag in Ohio: It looks like the drive to roll back public employee bargaining rights in Ohio is hitting a patch of turbulence.
* No end to the Wisconsin GOP’s shenanigans: Newly released emails show that Wisconsin Republicans contemplated a surprising range of ways to punish Dems for fleeing the state, and even thought about denying them a year in the state retirement system.
* And the world according to Sarah Palin’s foreign policy doctrine: She offers some strikingly odd criticism of Obama’s handling of Libya, insisting we must get rid of Gaddafi before adding: “It’s not America’s role not to be out and about nation building and telling other countries how to live.”
What else is happening?