* Jill Lawrence vividly illustrates just how massive a con job it is for Paul Ryan to include Obamacare repeal in his budget. What does the need for GOP officials to continue feeding the repeal fantasy to the base say about the prospects for that GOP “makeover”?
* Jamelle Bouie on how the forthcoming budgets from Paul Ryan and Senate Democrats embody starkly different visions of our country’s future, and on why Dems should not offer entitlement cuts up front to a party that has refused compromise at the outset.
* A provocative argument from David Dayen: What if the recent good economic news is inflated and exaggerated by climate change?
* Big read of the day: Adam Liptak’s deep dive into how the clout of small states is only growing in the Senate, with unforeseen effects on the chances of passing legislative solutions to the country’s most pressing problems. Key tidbit:
What is certain is that the power of the smaller states is large and growing. Political scientists call it a striking exception to the democratic principle of “one person, one vote.” Indeed, they say, the Senate may be the least democratic legislative chamber in any developed nation.
* Suzy Khimm on the five things you need to know about Thomas Perez, Obama’s new pick for labor secretary, one of which explains why Republicans (natch) are likely to filibuster the choice.
* Is Obama’s outreach to Republicans a sign that a bipartisan compromise including new revenues is possible? E.J. Dionne is optimistic.
* Joe Lieberman lands at the American Enterprise Institute, and David Atkins aptly explains how this neatly fits into the grand conservative plan.
* Also: Ed Kilgore on how Lieberman will likely accomplish little more in the new gig than “nursing grudges and settling old scores.”
* Reality check of the day: Steve Benen offers a sobering big picture view of what Congress has done for the economy — or, more accurately, what Congress has done to it:
Going into 2013, there was reason to believe the U.S. economy would start to see a more stable and robust recovery, with stronger growth and vastly improved job creation. With positive projections on the horizon, Congress has responded with the following: an end to the payroll tax break, more public-sector layoffs, the possibility of a government shutdown, the possibility of a debt-ceiling crisis, and a sequestration policy that’s already undermining the economy.
Ideally, lawmakers would be taking deliberate steps to improve the economy, but at this point, I’d be satisfied if congressional Republicans stopped making things worse.
* Erik Wemple has the backstory on that hoax scoop claiming Paul Krugman filed for bankruptcy, a tale that hoodwinked Breitbart.
* New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is running for Mayor, and Jonathan Capehart ponders what it means that her introductory video didn’t even mention her own same-sex marriage — even though she’d make history as New York’s first openly gay mayor.
And boy does that bring back memories. I interviewed Quinn 14 years ago, and she confirmed it: Despite rumors about her being straight her enemies were spreading in her heavily gay Council district, she confirmed she’s 100 percent a lesbian.