1. Steve Benen notes another round of Republicans hitting “the president’s” Social Security cuts, and asks the key question:

[W]hat’s stopping the president from simply walking away from the idea he doesn’t like anyway? At this point, Obama could hardly be blamed for declaring, “I thought Republicans wanted this policy, but if they consider this a draconian attack on seniors that they cannot support, I’ll gladly drop the idea and we discuss something else.”

Absolutely correct.

2. Digby with a great one about “why we shouldn’t be wetting our pants over projected deficits or “shortfalls” projected many years into the future” on Medicare.

3. And an excellent explainer about debt, deficits, and budgets — family, corporate, government — from Josh Barro.

4. The strategy of selling the Affordable Care Act, from Sarah Kliff.

5. Why you should “get ready to see even more of Rubio” on immigration: nice analysis of the immigration “permission structure” in Congress from Francis Wilkinson.

6. Jonathan Chait: Christie will be too New Jersey for Republicans.

7. Erik Wemple makes the (non-loony) case for today’s Benghazi hearing. Worth remembering: this was in fact a policy failure.

8. But Spencer Ackerman reports that the testimony the House heard today is hardly uncontested. I’ll add: a real oversight hearing, which is what Wemple presumably wants, would not be stacked for one side of any disagreement.

9. Overall Kevin Drum has it right: “Was Benghazi mishaldned? Maybe. Are there lessons to be learned? Probably. Is there a scandal or a coverup? There’s never been any evidence of it, and there still isn’t.”

10. Paul Krugman on the incredible shrinking deficit.

11. Which won’t, alas, change the rhetoric of deficit scolds one bit, at least if past performance is any guide. Here’s on reason why, courtesy of Alec MacGillis: They’re training college students to be future deficit scolds — and some colleges are actually cooperating.

12. Don’t miss Atrios: “We are in the era of truly stupid Republicans, the ones who grew up believing the stuff that was supposed to be just for the rubes to believe…They’re unaware that government does some useful things.”

13. The Democratic and Republican budget priorities in one slide, via Ezra Klein.

14. Ed Kilgore on yesterday’s South Carolina House special election — always listen to Kilgore on Southern politics.

15. Nate Cohn on the future of the Obama electoral coalition, and why it’s not going away anytime soon.

17. And Jennifer Rubin really lays into Heritage over their immigration report.