Budget, what budget? “Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) downplayed the lack of a Democratic budget proposal Monday, saying there’s simply no room to deal with an alternative until the Senate has voted on the House GOP’s controversial proposal.”

The Democrats say growth, what growth problem ? “It could hardly be clearer that this decline in federal revenues has resulted not from a cut in tax rates but rather from a marked decline in economic growth. The recession and the subsequent lackluster recovery have had the effect of lowering Americans’ taxes. Thus, every time Democrats say that we currently have a revenue problem, they are inadvertently highlighting that we currently have a growth problem. They are highlighting that the Obama administration’s policies have failed to spur growth or produce prosperity.”

Conventional wisdom, what wisdom?: “GOP insiders: 2012 field set.” The last place to look for smart political analysis is from political insiders.

Set field, what set field? “Cantor nudges Rep. Ryan to jump into 2012 White House race.”

Friend of Israel, what friend? Bret Stephens comes out and calls President Obama anti-Israel: “When this president wants to make a show of his exquisite diplomatic sensitivity—burgers with Medvedev, bows to Abdullah, New Year’s greetings to the mullahs—he knows how. And when he wants to show his contempt, he knows how, too. The contempt was again on display Sunday, when Mr. Obama spoke to the Aipac policy conference in Washington. The speech was stocked with the perennial bromides about U.S.-Israeli friendship, which brought an anxious crowd to its feet a few times. As for the rest, it was a thin tissue of falsehoods, rhetorical legerdemain, telling omissions and self-contradictions.” Read the whole thing.

Front-runner, what front-runner? Maybe it’s not (and never has been Mitt Romney): “With the wide-open battle for the Republican presidential nomination solidifying, Tim Pawlenty moved quickly Monday to offer himself as the leading alternative to presumptive front-runner Mitt Romney and to seize the mantle of a tough, truth-talking fiscal conservative.”

Mr. Nice, what Mr. Nice? Tim Pawlenty is becoming Mr. Tough Guy. His “willingness to buck the conventional wisdom on ethanol subsidies” is reshaping the impression that he’s not up to taking on Obama.