* Dems crank up for 2012: Here’s a clear sign that Obama’s allies are going to go on the offensive early and often in the presidential race: Priorities USA, the new outside group that will raise huge sums for Obama’s reelection, is going up with the first ad of the 2012 cycle. The spot uses Newt Gingrich’s claim that the GOP Medicare plan is “radical” to hammer Mitt Romney for seeming to agree with it.
The ad, which is airing in South Carolina to coincide with Romney’s visit there, shows that Obama’s top supporters are already moving to aggressively use the Paul Ryan plan to frame the presidential race at the outset. The Gingrich gaffe — which will now be fodder against the 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls — just keeps on giving.
* Labor declaring independence from Dems? What to watch today: AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is giving a big speech in which he’ll suggest that unions — disappointed with Obama and Dems — are going to start shifting resources away from federal races and into their own organizing efforts.
This sort of threat from labor has tended to fizzle in the past, but the events in Wisconsin has changed the landscape in ways that do make a real shift in strategy more likely.
* Democrats moving to the left in deficit talks? Forget the “Gang of Six.” Senate Dems now seem to be coalescing around a deficit reduction plan that roughly splits deficit savings between spending cuts and tax hikes.
Also: Rather than release their own budget — which Republicans are deriding for lack of leadership — Dems are now putting their chips on the Biden-led negotiations, which appear to be trending towards a 50-50 revenue-cuts split. That would track with Nancy Pelosi’s claim yesterday that these talks are moving in a positive direction.
* Breaking: New revenues are necessary to reach deficit deal: Say what you will about conservative Senator Tom Coburn, but at least he’s willing to say that you can’t fix our fiscal situation without bringing in new revenues.
Key takeaway: Coburn has taken a massive hit from the right for this, even though he isn’t even suggesting we raise tax rates, just that we close various loopholes. It’s another sign of how hardened conservative anti-tax dogma has become.
* Is Obama about to break the law? Very good point from Jake Tapper: The legal basis for conducting the U.S. military intervention in Libya without Congressional authorization expires today. And the White House won’t say what they’re going to do about it.
Could the U.S. lose its credit rating? Ezra Klein continues sounding the alarm: With enough “defaut deniers” saying it won’t be a big deal if we won’t raise the debt ceiling, it really isn't out of the realm of possibility that we won’t raise the debt ceiling.
* Flip flop of the day: Wow, that was fast. Jon Huntsman, who reportedly used to support the Affordable Care Act when he worked for Obama, said this morning that he would support repealing it, now that he’s stumping for GOP primary voter support in New Hampshire.
“Huntsman has flip flopped on his previous support for the Affordable Care less than 24 hours into his first trip to the state,” emails Eddie Vale of ProtectYourCare.org, a liberal group set up to defend health reform.
* Obama’s Mideast speech crossed the Rubicon: Glenn Kessler has the most extensive and nuanced explanation I’ve seen yet of why Obama’s proposal to make the pre-1967 lines the basis for Israeli-Palestinian talks was — despite claims to the contrary — big news and a politically difficult step for the President to take.
* How the Arab world viewed the speech: The big story may be that its reception in the Arab world only highlights America’s fading relevance in the region.
* 2012 GOP hopefuls telling falsehoods about Obama’s speech: No one will care, but the claim by some 2012 GOP candidates that Obama called for Israel to return to its 1967 borders happens to be completely false.
* Holding conservative critics accountable for being wrong: Paul Krugman is one of the few voices reminding us that the right initially derided Obama’s successful rescue of the auto industry as a war on capitalism. Krugman’s question: Why we should listen to them when they claim to “know something about creating prosperity”?
* And Eric Schneiderman deserves your praise and attention: A very interesting read from Glenn Greenwald on New York’s new Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, a high-profile proponent of full-scale marriage equality who’s moving aggressively to hold Wall Street accountable for the financial crisis. I used to speak to Schneiderman regularly back when he was a state senator, and he was always a sharp and funny spokesman for liberal causes.
As Greenwald notes, it’s always a pleasant surprise to be able to write in praise of a high level elected official.
What else is happening?