Obama to nominate Hagel for Defense, Brennan for CIA: “President Obama on Monday plans to nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense and to announce that counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is his choice to direct the Central Intelligence Agency, administration officials said. The successful nomination of Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, would add a well-known Republican to the president’s second-term Cabinet at a time when he is looking to better bridge the partisan divide, particularly after a bitter election campaign.” (Washington Post)

Nati Harnik / The Associated Press

President Obama picks a nomination fight. Can he win it? “In conversations with a handful of current and former Senate aides — of both parties — over the weekend, there was almost uniform agreement that Hagel faces a rocky road to confirmation although none were willing to predict that he won’t make the finish line. The focus at the moment is on the Republican opposition to Hagel, opposition built around not simply his policy stances on Iran and Iraq, but also on his decision to, in their eyes, abandon the GOP once he left office.” (Washington Post)

The budget battles ahead: “Two months after the president handily won a second term and the Democrats increased their numbers in both the House and Senate, GOP congressional leaders were in no position to negotiate a good “fiscal cliff” resolution. So it’s not at all surprising that what emerged from the Biden–McConnell negotiations has satisfied almost no one, and certainly not many conservatives,” writes James Capretta. (National Review)

The real deficit argument: “Should our politicians dedicate themselves to solving the problems we face now? Or should they spend their time constructing largely theoretical deficit solutions for years far in the future to satisfy certain ideological and aesthetic urges?” asks Brookings’ E.J. Dionne. (Washington Post)

Room for Debate asks: When a newspaper in suburban New York published a list of residents with handgun permits, it also hired armed guards to protect its staff from the public’s reaction. Gun policy just might be the hottest of hot topics. Even if there is a “conspicuous asymmetry of fervor,” advocates on both sides feel strongly. What is it about gun policy that makes it such an emotional topic? (New York Times)

Fox guest compares gun control to Nazi Germany. (ThinkProgress)

Heritage’s James Carafano: Our progressive way of war. (Washington Examiner)

AEI’s Michael Barone: Dodd-Frank’s problems — and potential solutions. (National Review)

Cato’s Walter Olson: The lawsuit circus. (New York Post)

Manhattan Institute’s E.J. McMahon: The fed squeeze NY’s golden goose. (New York Post)