* Is a big deficit deal good politics for Obama? Many of us have argued endlessly against prioritizing the deficit over job creation, but if you want to understand why the White House sees it as good politics for Obama to push for a grand deficit bargain, read Gerald Seib’s column this morning.
Cliff notes version: A big deal would reassure independents who fear the country is out of control; position Obama as the adult who made Washington work again; allow the President to tell Dems he put entitlements on sounder financial footing; and clear the decks to enact other priorities later.
The White House is promoting the piece, so you can assume it reflects the thinking of Obama advisers, and indeed, Obama himself talked in similar terms at his presser yesterday about the need to take the deficit off the table.
* Obama to GOP: Sorry, but the wealthy must share in deficit reduction: The latest on the debt ceiling impasse: In their private meeting late yesterday, Republicans again ruled out any revenue increases of any kind, prompting the President to reiterate that shared sacrifice is his bottom line.
Key quote: Obama insisted that we musn’t ask “moderate-income seniors to bear $500 or more of additional costs when you couldn’t ask the most well-off American to give an extra $5 to getting the deficit down.”
Cue up another bogus right wing “class-warfare” freakout...
* Deal remains elusive: The talks are now focusing in on the lower $2.4 trillion target for a deal, and while Eric Cantor is claiming that a compromise is within reach, Dems privately say there’s only consensus on $1.5 trillion in savings — and that’s assuming the GOP agrees to new revenues.
The White House, meanwhile, says that both sides have found roughly $1.8 trillion in cuts they agree upon, which, if true, suggests a deal remains very far off.
* Dems: NO votes from us without new revenues: Also at the meeting, Steny Hoyer, who counts votes for Dems, warned that he couldn’t guarantee a single Dem vote for a final deficit deal without new revenues.
This show a level of unity unusual among Dems, as well as an awareness that Dems can increase leverage by relying on the fact that the GOP leadership absolutely needs some Dems to get the final deal through the House. Hoyer is taking a page from the GOP playbook by insisting flatly that a deal without revenues cannot pass.
* Obama playing 12 dimensional chess on debt ceiling? Observers on both sides are beginning to wonder whether Obama is deliberately floating a big deficit deal that would require high revenues in the full knowledge that the GOP will reject it.
As Joan Walsh notes, this would allow Obama to look like he’s willing to take on his base over entitlements cuts while the GOP walked away to please the Tea Party. Allahpundit worries that this will enable Obama to argue that he was the only adult in the room willing to embrace meaningfully deep spending cuts.
* David Brooks warns that the GOP is committing “political suicide”: The conservative columnist has been infuriating Republicans by accurately calling out their anti-tax fanaticism, and today he amplifies the charge:
According to the Gallup Organization, only 20 percent of Americans believe the budget deal should consist of spending cuts only...Yet the G.O.P. is now oriented around this 20 percent. It is willing to alienate 80 percent of voters and commit political suicide because of its faith in the power of tax policy.
* Reports of Boehner-Cantor friction are greatly exaggerated: Despite all the talk about them being at odds, this account in The Hill says the two men are actually double-teaming in the deficit talks.
* Headline of the day: This headline from the Associated Press has to be one of the worst examples of fake even-handedness we’ve seen in a long while:
Obama, Republicans trapped by inflexible rhetoric
* It’s possible that one party is more at fault than the other: Eugene Robinson says what must never be said in polite company: One party is more to blame than the other for the debt ceiling impasse.
* Romney pilloried by conservatives over debt ceiling: Sorely needed Tuesday comic relief: Mitt Romney is getting hammered by conservatives because he won’t declare total opposition to raising the debt ceiling. Romney has already said it mustn’t be raised without substantial spending cuts, but only full-blown irresponsibility and demagoguery on the issue will do.
* Most idiotic fake controversy ever: Nutritionists say there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Michele Obama’s high-calorie Shake Shack lunch, since occasional indulgences are actually helpful in keeping people on a healthy track.
* Alan Grayson is back! He’s running for a new House seat that will be created by redistricting, on the theory that he lost last time because Dem turnout was abysmal not only in his race, but all over the country.
* And the first Wisconsin recall voting is set for today: The sham Dem primaries that the Wisconsin GOP has rigged up in order to delay the recall general elections are set to take place today. While the real Dems are expected to win them all, it’s an important first hurdle for Dems to get past in the quest to recapture the state senate.
What else is going on?