Ryan leads, Obama follows: The White House can deny it all they want, but everyone who is paying attention knows President Obama is playing follower to Paul Ryan's leader. Mother Jones flags the best evidence for this noting that last December when President Obama's debt commission released the Bowles-Simpson plan, Center for American Progress president John Podesta called the plan "substantively flawed" as well as "fundamentally unbalanced and unrealistic." But now that Ryan has produced his plan, Podesta is singing a different tune, telling Mother Jones: "I agree with Congressman Van Hollen that Bowles-Simpson is a good starting place for the discussion." By failing to lead, Obama has allowed Ryan to shift the goalposts about a hundred yards to the right. And Ryan isn't letting up. He will be directly responding to Obama's Wednesday speech with a Thursday address of his own.
Budget deal rebellion: An AP story headed "Obama prevents budget cuts to favorite programs" might just bring down the budget deal Speaker Boehner cut Friday. Widely linked to on conservative sites, the story details the "sleight of hand" accounting used to reach the top line $38 billion in cuts. Bottom line: the deal only contains around $15 billion in real cuts. With leading conservatives like Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Republican Study Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) already on record against the deal, leadership can not lose many more votes. House Majority Whip Eric Cantor moved to quell the uprising late Tuesday assuring reporters the bill will pass with "strong Republican support."
Dems in debt limit disarray: President Obama and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer have both admitted their past votes against raising the debt ceiling were "a mistake." Meanwhile, The Weekly Standard reports that Sen. Tom Caper (D-DE) does not regret his 2006 vote against raising the debt ceiling, Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) doesn't remember why he voted against it, and Majority Leader Reid can't even remember that he voted against. Apocalyptic Senate Democratic rhetoric on the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling not going to gain any traction until they figure out a way to explain their own voting pasts.