* Reid, Boehner stake out different public postures in budget brinkmanship: Despite the inability of Obama, John Boehner and Harry Reid to reach a deal in last night’s meeting, it appears that behind the scenes, negotiators are making some progress towards some kind of agreement. Obama is now describing their differences as “relatively narrow,” and Reid added that talks have “narrowed the issues significantly.”
By contrast, Boehner is projecting more public pessimism about the possibility of a deal, insisting that there’s “no agreement on a number, and there’s no agreement on the policy questions.”
* Why Boehner is holding out: The difference in their public postures makes it clearer, as I wrote the other day, that Boeher is bringing us to the edge a shutdown in order to make it easier to sell an eventual compromise to House conservatives later. The White House does not want a shutdown, because it will damage the recovery and sully Obama’s “adult in chief” peacekeeping role.
By arguing that his willingness to bring us to the brink put pressure on Dems to agree to maximum concessions, Boehner can limit the fallout on his right that a compromise is likely to bring. He can perhaps — perhaps — get conservatives to accept that they can’t get everything they want immediately, on the understanding that the bigger battles are to come.
* Two polls find Republicans and Tea Partyers want a shutdown: If that’s what Boehner is up to, it’s made more understandable by two new polls. Gallupfinds that Republicans are the only group who expect their leaders to hold out for what they want (51-44), even if it leads to a shutdown. By contrast, Dems (68 percent) and independents (60 percent) strongly support a compromise.
And the new NBC/WSJ poll finds that 68 percent of Tea Party supporters, and 56 percent of Republicans overall, want GOP leaders to stick to their positions even if no consensus is reached. Only 38 percent of Republicans want compromise.
* Boehner keeps hammering EPA and Planned Parenthood: The need to appease his right flank would also help explain why the Speaker, on Good Morning America today, kept insisting that the budget rein in the EPA and federal funding for Planned Parenthood, even though he knows these are both non-starters with Obama and Dems.
* House conservatives suddenly realize shutdown not such a good idea: Separately, in a sign of progress, it’s suddenly dawning on House conservatives that they might not be able to put the shutdown genie they unleashed back into the bottle, and that they will be the losers for it.
* Obama lectures Republicans and Democrats on budget: An interesting observation from Jeff Zeleny on Obama’s handling of the budget fight:
The president is so intent on trying to elevate himself over the partisan feuds of the day that he sometimes refers to Democrats in the third person, as though he is not the leader of the party.
* Why are Dems more willing to compromise? Relatedly, Digby argues, provocatively, that it’s the fault of Dem leaders who have failed to clearly articulate just how far to the right Republicans dragged the budget debate, making rank and file Dems more willing to meet them in the “middle.”
* Recount looms in Wisconsin state Supreme Court race: Now that a recount is all but certain, it will only further stoke the grassroots in Wisconsin and lend more energy to the recall drives. The dynamic appears not to be changing: The battle just keeps escalating.
* Deficit hawk fraudulence of the day: Conservatives who hate government spending suddenly find they aren’t crazy about the idea of parting with it in their own districts.
* The route to fiscal sanity that must never be discussed: Mark Thompson on how Paul Ryan’s bold and courageous proposal isn’t particularly bold and courageous when it comes to even contemplating a reduction in defense spending.
* Birther hucksterism pays off: Is Donald Trump’s surprising vault to second place in a new 2012 GOP primary poll best explained by his recent and very public conversion to birtherism?
* And take a peek inside the “sharia panic factory”: You’ll be stunned to hear that those who are issuing the shrillest warnings about the impending sharia takeover of America are also the most likely to have no idea what they’re talking about .
What else is happening?