* Can Dems corner GOP over payroll tax cut? Lede of the morning, from this New York Times story on the latest in the battle over GOP opposition to extending the payroll tax cut:
It is hard to find a tax cut that Congressional Republicans dislike. Unless it is a tax cut pushed by President Obama.
The story also tells us something important: Dems are moving to force Republicans to vote on the tax cut extension some time this fall. “One way or another, there will be a vote on extending these tax cuts,” says Chuck Schumer, adding that the game plan is to put Republicans on record: “if they oppose it they are for tax cuts for the rich but not for the middle class.”
It's hard to overstate how giddy Dems are about the politics of the payroll tax cut fight. But in the fall the focus will return — again — to deficit reduction when the Congressional “super-committee” begins its machinations. And as the Times notes, the payroll tax cut could become a mere bargaining chip in those negotiations. More broadly, it remains to be seen whether the White House’s planned offensive on jobs will be able to break through the roar of deficit chatter that we’ll be hearing again after Labor Day. The question is whether the same dynamic that dominated our political conversation in the spring and summer — the Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop — will merely reasset itself.
* Is Obama’s political team “blowing it”?A very harsh assessment from Michael Tomasky, who argues that the quest to win back independents with an “adult in the room” strategy is proving a total failure in the wake of independents’ rejection of the debt ceiling deal.
* Richard Trumka puts Obama on notice: The AFL-CIO chief tells Obama that the best way to ensure that labor works hard in 2012 is to focus on jobs, not the deficit, and to stop letting the GOP set the terms of the debate.
Labor is sending conflicting signs about how much they’ll invest in the 2012 elections, but it does seem clear that an aggressive offensive on jobs (which the White House appears to be planning) will be necessary to prevent union voters from staying home at 2010 levels.
* Mitt Romney’s timid views on climate science: Romney appeared yesterday to back away from his previous belief in climate science, a move that seemed like a response to Rick Perry’s entry into the race. But Stephen Stromberg parses Romney’s positions carefully and finds consistent support for the idea that humans do contribute somewhat to global warming, though they may not be the primary cause.
* Time to take Rick Perry seriously: Good read from David Brooks, who notes that Perry has a very real shot at the nomination, because his message resonates perfectly with those who have taken over today’s GOP: Grievance-minded conservatives and the “alternative-reality right.”
* Perry slams Romney over health care: I’m a bit late to this, but it’s interesting to see that Perry is now hammering Romney over one of his chief vulnerabilities among conservatives: Romneycare. Perry rightly says that it’s a “huge problem” for the former Massachusetts governor.
Still outstanding question: When — and how — will Mitt pivot out of his Perry-doesn’t-exist posture, which is clearly no longer operable, and fight back?
* Perry ramps up in Iowa: Real Clear Politics’ Scott Conroy reports that Perry is rapidly building up his operation in Iowa, a sign he’s dead serious about outworking Michele Bachmann, knocking her out of the race and setting up a head-to-head contest with Romney.
* Bachmann rethinks opposition to farm subsidies: Bachmann used to describe farm subsidies as “outrageous pork,” but now that the Tea Party warrior queen and foe of government spending is trying to win in agriculture-dependent Iowa, she suddenly thinks ending farm subsidies might not be such a great idea after all.
* Eric Schneiderman keeps fighting the good fight: In case you need to get up to speed on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman getting kicked off a panel probing foreclosure fraud after pushing for more aggressive settlement terms than the Obama administration reportedly wanted, here’s a quick and useful overview.
This will only help raise the profile of Schneiderman, a rising star among national liberals who we should be watching.
* Today in the right wing blogosphere: The entertaining battle rages on between the Tea Party candidate in the Virginia Senate race and Redstate.com’s Erick Erickson, who appears to have modulated his coverage of it because his employers are socially connected to George Allen. The latest: The candidate is demanding an apology for an Erickson blog post containing anonymous quotes smearing her for being drunk while giving a speech. Such high reportorial standards!
* And the 2012 hucksterism of the day: After getting a bunch of media attention by pretending to flirt with a presidential run, George Pataki leaks word that the presidential run that was never going to happen now officially won’t happen.
What else is happening?