Will the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction turn us into a second-rate power? “Now comes the moment when Americans must confront the costs of remaining the world’s sole superpower, the guarantor of an international system that has created a generation of great-power peace, widespread prosperity, and unprecedented human liberty. The committee members must take action to avert the train wreck awaiting the Pentagon: doing nothing will result in an automatic ‘sequestration’ that will make the cumulative reductions in military spending of the Obama years something above $1.3 trillion.”

Will Bill Clinton turn out to be a thorn in President Obama’s side in 2012? “I got tickled by watching Governor Perry announce for governor, for president. He’s a good-looking rascal.” Pure Clinton.

It turns out the Tea Partyers aren’t the enraged ones. “It’s so important that candidates seem to enjoy campaigning and [Michele] Bachmann appears to be a happy warrior, or if you prefer, per Newsweek, a happy Queen of Rage.”

The GOP race turns to jobs. (At least one party has its eye on the ball.) “Romney and Perry spar over jobs records.”

The Republican presidential primary could turn on South Carolina. “Gov. Nikki Haley urged voters Monday to ask the tough questions of the Republican presidential candidates as they trek through South Carolina in the weeks and months ahead of the first Southern GOP primary. . . . Among other hard questions, the governor said, are the candidates’ positions on unions and how they would handle the National Labor Relations Board.” Romney-Haley? Perry-Haley? GOP could do worse (and likely will).

This could turn out to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s first real gaffe, as Ben Smith reports: “I asked him about his suggestion to Newsweek last year that he’d replace Social Security with state-run pension programs, and he backed only slightly away from it. ‘I’m for having a conversation with the country about how we find some solutions,’ he said. ‘Having the states doing it is one of the ways.’ What he didn’t do: Intone the usual Republican defensive point that his promise is to save and secure Social Security; he remains open to repealing it and replacing it with a different system. That’s the tip of a policy iceberg aimed at a wholesale policy devolution to the states, one he seems willing to sell on the stump.”

When the bus tour turns into fodder for late-night comics it’s a problem. “Leno: President Obama is off on his three-state bus tour this week. I believe the three states are Confusion, Delusion and Desperation.”

If Democrats are going to start attacking Texas jobs, this will not turn out well for them. “If the national economy is still doing poorly when President Obama stands for reelection, attacking the job gains in Texas is not going to be an effective political strategy, for several reasons. One is that with things looking that bad, any economic success story is going to look good by comparison, even if liberals try to poke holes in it. Second, as David Freddoso noted, is that Texas’s jobs are 40 percent of the national jobs numbers — so is Obama going to argue that a good chunk of the jobs created under his presidency were bogus? Third — is Obama going to attack Perry’s job figures as spurious, and then turn around and claim that his administration ‘saved or created’ 4 million jobs and expect to be taken seriously?”