* GOP increasingly isolated in debt ceiling fight: It’s hard to escape the sense that a consensus has been reached among the media and political establishment: The GOP is mostly to blame for the continuing debt ceiling impasse; the public views the standoff on the White House’s terms and wants Republican leaders to give up what it takes to get a deal; and the party’s intransience is leaving it increasingly isolated and at risk.
Case in point: This big-picture piece in the Los Angeles Times on how Republicans holding out against a debt limit are alienating the public, and frustrating the GOP establishment.
The story pins the blame for the impasse squarely on House Republicans, claiming they are the “key obstacle” to a compromise, without any of the fake even-handedness and false equivalence that have dominated much coverage of the battle.
Also note a key quote from five-term GOP Rep Tom Cole, who is bewildered that Tea Partyers don’t understand that the deep spending cuts GOP leaders have secured in exchange for the inevitable debt ceiling hike already constitute a victory: “Some of the members who haven’t been here don’t appreciate how much John Boehner has gotten for them.” A key point worth keeping in mind.
* Senate Republicans to House GOP: Time to get real: Another example of the above from Politico:
Senate Republicans are starting to send a message to their increasingly isolated House counterparts: It’s time to abandon the hard line or face a public backlash.
* Dems to use Reagan as weapon to go on offense in key districts: I’m told that the DCCC will use Ronald Reagan’s legacy — he presided over 16 debt ceiling hikes — as a weapon to hammer away today at House Republicans in over 50 districts. From the release going out in Rep. Steve King’s district:
President Ronald Reagan was emphatic that Congress needed to raise the debt limit in order to avoid default because it was America’s responsibility to meet our obligations. House Republicans like Steve King hold up Reagan as an example of fiscal responsibility so the question is whether he agrees and will he step up to help the U.S. avoid economic catastrophe?
The move reflects a sense among top Dems — reflected in multiple national polls — that the White House and Democrats are winning the public opinion war over the debt limit and that the GOP is on the defensive with no clear exit strategy.
* Labor, White House allies launch new debt limit ad blitz: Relatedly, SEIU and the labor-backed Americans United for Change are going up with new ads targeting four House GOPers over the debt limit.
“Sean Duffy and Republicans in Congress are driving us towards the edge of a cliff, recklessly risking default,” one version of the ad says. “They’re willing to risk it all to protect tax breaks for millionaires, oil companies, and CEOs who fly around in corporate jets.” The other versions target Dave Camp, Chip Cravaack, and Richard Hanna.
Key takeaway: None of the Dem or labor messaging actually mentions the need to raise debt limit, which the public has been skeptical of in some recent polls (though that’s changing), opting instead to focus on potential default and economic catastrophe.
* Is grand bargain still possible? After last night’s meeting between Obama and GOP leaders, aides in both sides privately say that a $4 trillion deal is back on the table, the latest effort to create a sense that a grand bargain is still feasible. Key Eric Cantor nugget:
In a brief interview after the White House meeting, Cantor said he remained committed to “not raising taxes” but did not deny that discussions included a larger plan. “Again, there are a lot of things that may or may not be possible, but we’re just trying to drive toward a result right now,” he said.
* Is McConnell plan doomed in the House? That letter I’ve been reporting on that opposes any vote on the McConnell escape hatch proposal has now been signed by 90 House Republicans, a clear sign that getting this last-resort plan through the House could prove a major hurdle.
* What will House GOPers do when the drop dead moment arrives? That’s becoming the key question, but as Ezra Klein notes, it’s an unknowable: “what no one quite knows is what the House GOP will accept when the clock is one minute from midnight, or, in more pessimistic tellings, the Dow is 1,000 points below whatever it was at the day before.”
Indeed, there’s good reason for skepticism that conservative House Republican opposition to a hike is softening in the face of relentless pressure.
* Obama assesses his reelection chances: In an interview with a Missouri TV station, the President offers a blunt look at what will determine whether voters award him a second term:
“They don’t expect everything to be solved overnight,” Obama said. “They do expect that their president’s going to be thinking about them every single day and going to be focused on how do we win the future. And if next November they feel like I’ve been on their side and I’ve been working as hard as I can and have been getting some things done to move us in the right direction, I’ll win. If they don’t, then I’ll lose.”
The President is articulating the reelection bar he needs to clear: Persuade the public that he’s worked as hard as he can for them — something they may be inclined to accept, given his good personal ratings — and that things are generally moving forward, even if voters remain unhappy with the pace of the recovery.
* Obama approval watch: Gallup has the President in sub-50 percent for the last quarter, but it’s too early to tell what this suggests about his reelection chances.
* Major labor war to keep an eye on: I meant to get to this yesterday, but a big battle has broken out over House GOP efforts to tie Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization to a measure designed to hinder union organizing. Note the strong response from Dems and the White House, who are urging a clean reauthorization without the union-busting provision.
* Could Bachmann’s migraines and manhandling of reporter help her? Jed Lewison speculates: “the GOP base hates the `liberal’ media and if they think she’s under unfair attack, it will make her more attractive to Republican primary voters, not less.”
Also: As Taegan Goddard notes, the migraine story has been front page news in Iowa for two days running.
* And let’s get to know the real Michele Bachmann: The liberal group American Bridge unearths footage of Bachmann in 2006 suggesting that gay marriage might open the door to poligamy and “group marriage.”
What else is going on?