* HuffPo reports that three Dem Senators who co-sponsored the Iran sanctions bill, Joe Manchin, Kirstin Gillibrand and Chris Coons, are retreating and saying a vote now could imperil diplomacy, the latest sign that the momentum for a vote has dissipated entirely. Note this from Manchin:
“I did not sign it with the intention that it would ever be voted upon or used upon while we were negotiating,” Manchin said on MSNBC. “I signed it because I wanted to make sure the president had a hammer if he needed it and showed them how determined we were to do it and use it if we had to.”
He added that it’s better to “give peace a chance.”
Manchin thought the intention all along was to give diplomacy a chance to work? Wherever did he get that idea?
* A terrific E.J. Dionne column on what Obama’s speech tells us about the tension between a country that’s moving leftward nationally while seemingly implacable structural factors keep tugging Congress to the right.
* Jonathan Bernstein on the House passage of the farm bill, why it shows that mainstream conservatives can matter more than the Tea Party, and why that’s the route forward if Republicans want to govern.
* Video of the day, courtesy of Daniel Strauss: Georgia GOP Senate primary candidates rush to be the first to say they’d never extend benefits to thousands of unemployed residents in their state. Dems hope an extreme Senate nominee makes a pick-up possible — which could make GOP control of the Senate a much steeper climb.
* Speaking of which, an update on that new plan to extend unemployment benefits: Suzy Khimm reports that Senate Dems are now in talks with Republicans Susan Collins and Dean Heller over the idea, and it could get a vote as soon as Friday.
* Progressive candidates for Congress see Obama’s speech as a victory for the left, and a good template for campaigning on this year. Watch for the minimum wage hike to be an issue in multiple races.
* Fernando Espuelas reaches back into history and reminds Republicans who are equivocating over immigration reform: Remember Pete Wilson syndrome?
* John Boehner told gay lawmakers that there is “no way” ENDA can pass the House this year, according to one attendee, and the evolution of the GOP into the 21st Century continues to proceed on schedule.
* Dave Weigel brings us the lamest slice-and-dice oppo hit ever.