* Are senior Democrats on board with McConnell’s debt ceiling punt proposal?
Have we stumbled on a way out of the debt ceiling impasse? It’s too early to tell, but in a key revelation, Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane report that Harry Reid and top Dems privately see the Mitch McConnell proposal to transfer control of the debt ceiling to the president as a way to get out of the current crisis if it can be made acceptable to angry conservatives:
Privately, Reid has consulted with McConnell about making the proposal more palatable to reluctant Republicans by creating a joint committee to draft an enforceable debt-reduction plan, according to senior sources in both parties. Details are still being worked out, but the new committee would be stocked with Democratic and Republican lawmakers, and their budget-cutting plan could be fast-tracked to a vote in each chamber.
This likely has the tacit approval of the White House. Of course, it’s hard to imagine that any tweak can make the proposal more acceptable to conservatives who have made their opposition to raising the debt ceiling their number one defining ideological cause celebre of the moment. But could it pass the House anyway? It’s unclear at best, but if most Dems support the proposal, it wouldn’t require the backing of too many House GOPers to become law.
* Will House Dems support McConnell proposal? Steny Hoyer said this morning that Obama should not take McConnell’s offer, though this could be just posturing that reflects Dem reluctance to give the GOP an exit strategy.
* McConnell will continue pushing plan: Jennifer Rubin reports that McConnell will take to talk radio and the Senate floor today to keep pushing his idea. Key takeaway: The right’s temper tantrum over the McConnell proposal is not stopping him from moving forward.
* GOP establishment sees writing on the wall: The key here, I think, is that some in the GOP establishment have decided not to let unrealistic and ideologically rigid conservative expectations hijack this debate to the severe detriment of the party. They know full well that not raising the debt ceiling will be substantively and politically disastrous; they know that the GOP is on the defensive and is dangerously close to getting branded as ideologically intransigent; and they want a way out. Now.
Indeed, in another sign of this, the Wall Street Journal editorial page has now endorsed McConnell’s plan, arguing that the debt ceiling will be raised one way or another and in effect conceding that Obama is outmaneuvering Republicans in the standoff.
* Boehner on McConnell’s proposal: Despite what you may have read elsewhere, John Boehner did not say McConnell’s plan has no chance of passing the House. On Fox News last night he actually said that he didn’t know if it could, and that if the impasse drags on Republicans will be open to alternative ways out of the mess.
* McConnell proposal has elite support: The New York Times editorial board makes a good case that the House of Representatives should agree to go along with McConnell’s plan.
Key takeaway: Though some are concerned that the proposal would mean Obama gets blamed for hiking the debt ceiling, the paper points out that Republicans always planned to blame him for it in any case.
* Public still opposes raising the debt ceiling: Gallup finds that a majority of those following the debate very closely still oppose raising the debt ceiling, which could encourage House conservatives to hang tough against McConnell’s plan.
* GOP Senator urges Republicans to accept revenue increases: In another sign of worry among GOP elites, Senator Lindsey Graham says it’s time Republicans agreed to some form of revenue increases in order to avert disaster.
* Grassroots kicking into gear for Obama? The President hauled in a record breaking $86 million this quarter, almost all of it from donations under $250, a potential sign that worries that the grassroots wouldn’t activate for Obama may have been overstated.
Also: The haul highlights the fact that the GOP candidates have been badly lagging in fundraising, raising the possibility that the enthusiasm gap is now operating in Dems’ favor.
And: If the disparity persists, the GOP will be relying even more heavily this time on massive amounts of undisclosed outside spending.
* 2012 reality check of the day: White House officials are happy with the way Obama had handled the debt ceiling standoff, but they also recognize that there’s no room for moral victories here: If we default, it would wreck the economy and likely mean no second term.
* Mitt Romney rejects gay marriage pledge: Though he strongly supports “traditional marriage,” Romney announces that he won’t sign the pledge to denounce gay marriage that Michele Bachmann has championed. The fact that he had to respond to this insanity at all indicates how far to the right Bachmann is yanking the 2012 primary.
* And Wisconsin GOP shenanigans are a big bust: Yesterday real Dems swept all six of the primaries that were made necessary by the GOP’s costly scheme to run fake Dems to delay the real recall elections.
Kelly Steele of the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin emails: “Now that self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives have set $500,000 of taxpayer money on fire in fake primaries that served no purpose beyond their ‘do-anything’ quest to maintain power, voters will have a chance to put the brakes on Scott Walker and his extreme agenda in legitimate elections on August 9th.” Indeed.
What else is going on?