* Maybe it’s time for that pivot to jobs? The finding in today’s big Post poll that doesn’t matter at all: That Mitt Romney is roughly tied with Obama. It’s far too early for such head-to-head matchups to have any meaning, particularly since we don’t even know who the GOP nominee will be and the eventual nominee may find his or her standing and/or image dramatically impacted by a long and difficult GOP primary.
The findings that do matter, a lot: About six in ten disapprove of Obama on the economy and the deficit, with nearly half strongly disapproving of his performance in those areas. Forty five percent trust Congressional Republicans more than the president on the economy, up 11 points since March, versus 42 percent who trust the President.
Key takeaway: All the nonstop talk about the deficit is doing nothing to buoy Obama on the issue that matters most to voters. Indeed, the fact that all the chatter about the deficit isn’t allaying people’s anxiety about the deficit either may support the view — argued convincingly in many places — that deficit worries mainly reflect anxiety about the economy. Did somebody say we were trapped in a “Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop”?
One assumes that the Obama reelection team expects him to get a lift if and when the President is seen presiding over a deficit deal with Republicans. This will neutralize Dem overspending as a political issue, the thinking goes, at which point Obama can turn to jobs. But it’s not clear what Dems can do in policy terms on that front, since they seem to have concluded — perhaps rightly — that more spending to jump-start the economy is too tough a sell with the public.
One other point about today’s poll: The Dems’ undeniable success in attacking the GOP over Medicare risks lulling them into forgetting that the economy is likely to play a far greater role than the Medicare debate in deciding the fate of Obama and Dems next year.
* Quote of the day: From James Carville, who predicts that Obama will have a rough time getting reelected if the unemployment crisis persists:
“This unemployment rate, for this long, is a humanitarian crisis of the first magnitude.”
* The Dem job creation plan: Hope? As Joan McCarter notes, chronic unemployment “isn’t going to be solved by business tax credits and hope.”
* T-Paw to attack Obama on economy today: With Mitt Romney seeming to have some success making the economy central to his campaign, Tim Pawlenty will give a speech today launching an attack on Obama’s “big government and heavy handed regulations.”
And, in a startling development, T-Paw will propose slashing taxes on corporations and the rich.
* The “serious conversation” about health care that will never happen: Ezra Klein asks: What if the only real way to control health care costs is the only solution that nobody is talking about? As Ezra notes, “socialized medicine” has worked in other countries — and the Dem solution is at least a step in that direction, while the GOP solution is a step away from it.
* Dems drawing hare line against Medicare benefits cuts? If what Chuck Schumer says here is the overarching Dem strategy, it seems Dems are prepared to draw a hard line against cuts to Medicare benefits, and are challenging the GOP to find saving by trimming giveaways to pharmecutical companies.
Indeed, Roll Call reports that this is the emerging plan.
* Conservatives ratchet up pressure on GOP leaders over debt ceiling: Conservatives are insisting that Republicans must not settle for less than $2 trillion in spending cuts in exchange for a debt ceiling hike — a sign of how little maneuvering room the GOP leadership has.
Key point: Such pressure can play in the GOP leadership’s favor — they can point to it as proof that they “can’t” reach a deal without maximum spending-cut concessions from Dems.
* What should Weiner do now? Steve Kornacki makes a strong case that there’s no real percentage for Anthony Weiner in staying in Congress, and suggests that a dignified exit is the better course.
* Weiner’s constituents seem set to forgive him: Interestingly, Weiner supporters in Queens and Brookly, while mystified by his confession, think he should survive and are prepared to vote for him again.
* Obama overselling the auto-bailout’s success?Glenn Kessler makes the case that Obama is stretching the facts a bit to oversell the auto-bailout’s success, and suggests that Obama let the achievement speak for itself.
* Michele Bachmann 2012! New Bachmann strategist Ed Rollins on why she really could be a credible contender for the 2012 GOP nomination if she can expand past Iowa, where she’s expected to be quite competitive.
* Sorely needed Tuesday comic relief: A GOP state legislator in North Carolina gets a letter from his own daughter asking him not to cut education funding — and he then blames Democrats for it.
* And can we stop talking about Sarah Palin yet? The new Post poll also finds that two thirds of Americans say they would “definitely not vote” for Palin for president — including 42 percent of Republicans. Please, media outlets — stop falling for Palin’s ongoing con job and stop treating this woman as a credible candidate for president. Thanks in advance.
What else is happening?