* The other big jobs fight you should be watching: My pick for read of the morning is Harold Meyerson’s excellent overview of the politics and high stakes involved in the battle over the bill to punish China for currency manipulation, which some estimates say could create over one million jobs. Crucially, he places this fight in the larger context of our political class’s utter failure to staunch the bleeding of manufacturing jobs, and notes that “elite opinion” is finally catching up with mass opinion on the idea that losing those jobs is, you know, a bad thing.
What to watch: Whether Obama will support the bill, and whether House GOP leaders will continue to block a vote on the measure, which is opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce but continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support:
House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor don’t want to jeopardize their assiduously cultivated Wall Street funding — even though polls show rank-and-file Republicans want a more assertive economic posture toward China.
It’s unclear what exactly is driving the House GOP leadership’s opposition to bringing the bill to a vote. But it remains true that 99 House Republicans voted for this measure last year, and this time around, exactly zero has signed the Dems’ petition to bring it to the floor.
* Obama needs fewer white voters for reelection: A must-read New York Times piece reports that Obama’s declining support among blue collar whites has led him to pin his hopes on higher-income independents and Latinos in states where changing demographics are upending the usual Democratic calculus about how to reach 270 electoral votes.
“In every election cycle, every year, every day, this country becomes more ethnically diverse. And that has an impact on the kind of coalition that you need to put together to win,” says GOP strategist Terry Nelson. “The truth is, Obama needs fewer white voters in 2012 than he did in 2008.”
* DNC continues pushing Obama’s jobs bill — among Hispanics: The DNC is going up with a new Spanish-language ad in Colorado and Nevada that directly calls out Republicans for blocking Obama’s proposed payroll tax cut extension, part of a move to reverse declining enthusiasm among a core constituency that may be even more pivotal in 2012 to winning crucial swing states than in 2008.
* Recession hit key swing states very hard: Relatedly, this National Journal analysis will be sobering to Obama’s reelection team:
A National Journal analysis of the census survey found that many of the swing states likely to decide the 2012 election have suffered the heaviest losses. The nine states that switched from voting for George W. Bush in 2004 to Barack Obama in 2008 experienced a greater decline in their median family income than did the nation overall. It’s the same story in the partially overlapping list of 14 states in which Obama attracted between 45 and 55 percent of the vote last time. Both groups, according to separate employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, have also lost a higher percentage of their jobs since 2008 than the nation overall.
The key here is that the crisis did some of its deepest damage in newly emerging swing states as well, which the Obama team is reportedly looking towards to offset the erosion in support among blue collar whites in the Rust Belt.
* Durbin says Dems don't have votes for jobs bill: I noted this last night, but it bears repeating, because it will drive discussion today. Dick Durbin admits that Dems don’t have the votes to pass the American Jobs Act in the Senate:
“The oil-producing state senators don’t like eliminating or reducing the subsidy for oil companies, “ Durbin tells WLS Radio. “There are some senators who are up for election who say I’m never gonna vote for a tax increase while I’m up for election, even on the wealthiest people. So, we’re not gonna have 100% Democratic senators. That’s why it needs to be bi-partisan and I hope we can find some Republicans who will join us to make it happen.”
Durbin added that this might change, and no one expected Obama’s jobs bill to pass in its current form, but this nonetheless represents a problem. If even some Democratic Senators are running away from the bill, what happens next month when the Senate takes it up in earnest?
* No, unions are not to blame for unemployment: Josh Hicks has a great takedown of Mitt Romney’s recent claim that so called “right to work” laws automatically lead straight to job creation; Hicks punctures the significance of the statistics Romney and others often use to push
* No, taxes and regulations are not to blame for unemployment: When you step back and survey the larger picture, as Paul Krugman does, the politics of the economic crisis really seem deeply surreal:
Never mind the fact that the housing bubble, the debt explosion and the financial crisis took place on the watch of a conservative, free-market-praising president; it’s that Democrat in the White House now who gets the blame.
But good politics can be very bad policy. The truth is that we’re in this mess because we had too little regulation, not too much. And now one of our two major parties is determined to double down on the mistakes that caused the disaster.
* Chris Christie is seriously considering a presidential run (part 973): His home state’s Star Ledger quotes a source close to the Governor claiming he’s seriously reconsidering his previous refusal to run, partly because of a campaign among GOP donors and activists who are unhappy with the rest of the field.
* But he can’t win the nomination: The Week lists five reasons Cristie will never be the GOP presidential nominee. Apparently that penchant for “blunt truth telling” that we keep hearing about extends to claiming that being in the country without proper papers is “not a crime,” that we should believe scientists about climate change, and that opponents of the assault weapons ban are “crazy.”
Oh well, that was fun while it lasted.
* Time to get to know Herman Cain: Simon van Zuylen-Wood on how Cain’s new book explains his surprising surge in popularity.
* And a note on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki: Glenn Greenwald: “The due-process-free assassination of U.S. citizens is now reality.”
The CIA’s view of al-Awlaki’s U.S. citizenship: “Awlaki is a terrorist, and yes, he’s a U.S. citizen, but he is first and foremost a terrorist and we’re going to treat him like a terrorist.”
What else is happening?