1. The big news of the afternoon: The White House has tossed in the towel on D.C. Circuit Court pick Caitlin Halligan. Defeated by filibuster. Rachel Weiner has the story. Republicans have not allowed Obama to put a single judge on that key court; there are now four vacancies, with only one current nominee.

2. Terrific piece by Garance Franke-Ruta about misperceptions about the United States economy.

3. The latest terrible polling numbers for Republicans from the Pew poll and Andrew Kohut.

4. Are Republicans preparing to raise the debt limit without sparking a default crisis this time?  That’s what Steve Benen is hearing in Speaker John Boehner’s rhetoric.

5. “Votarama” continues in the Senate on potentially dozens of amendments to the budget resolution, possibly until morning.

6. Paul Waldman likes the idea of taking presidential debates away from reporters.

7. Good Dan Larison on today’s fun story, the supposed Gingrich-Santorum “unity” ticket from 2012.

8. Nice catch from Brian Beutler: Senate Republicans voted both ways on Medicare during this budget debate: first to end it (“as we know it”) by voting for Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget, and then to preserve it on a separate amendment vote. As usual, the GOP position is: Cut all spending! Except for any specific program!

9. Kevin Drum is correct: don’t count the Republican Party out. At worst, Democrats have a very small plurality now; it’s not enough to prevent future GOP wins, even if it is stable.

10. How the Iraq War changed Dan Drezner’s views.

11. And what happened when Conor Friedersdorf tried to write about circa 2001 xenophobic panic.

12. Okay, Republicans have found one tiny, tiny, program to really want to cut: funding for political science research. Abby Rapoport explains how it happened and why it’s a terrible idea.

13. And Henry Farrell has more on defunding political science, with links to much more.