Politics In 60 Seconds: What You Need To Know Right Now

15th Hole Augusta National

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:

1.  The shutdown of the United States government looms as budget talks fail to produce agreement.  President Obama urged Congressional leaders to “act like grown-ups” and get a deal done.

2. The House Republican plan to reduce the Federal deficit (and the role of the Federal government in the lives of its citizenry) was released yesterday.  Reaction ranged from praise (mostly conservative) to scorn (mostly liberal). 

3.  Rep Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” is an enormous political gamble.  Veteran Democratic pollster and political analyst Pat Caddell described it as a nearly-suicidal act by House Republicans, one that would lead them “off the cliff.”  Others agreed with that assessment.

4.  From a policy perspective, Rep. Ryan’s “Roadmap” inadvertently (we assume) highlights the need for “higher taxes” to help speed US fiscal recovery.  So argues veteran Wall Street Journal columnist David Wessel.

5.  The special election for State Supreme Court Justice in Wisconsin, which became a referendum on newly-elected Governor Scott Walker (R) and his aggressive anti-public union agenda, ended in a tie, give or take a thousand votes or so.  We’ll update what happens next throughout the day.

6.  Governor Walker launched his political career from his post as Milwaukee County Executive, winning two elections therein by relatively comfortable margins.  Last night, the Democratic candidate for Milwaukee County Executive slaughtered the Republican candidate.  The election was made necessary by Mr. Walker’s 2010 election to the governorship.

7. The Obama Administration sent to Congress a gloomy report on the Afghanistan War and the state of Pakistan.  In recent days, the “situations” in both countries have deteriorated markedly.

8. Al Qaeda is on the rebound in Afghanistan.  Nearly a decade after the American invasion, the Valley of Death (Korengal) is alive with terrorist training camps

9. Banks remain the Achilles Heel of Germany’s booming economy — because of their cross-border exposure — and “a big obstacle to cleaning up the eurozone’s financial and fiscal crisis,” according to a Financial Times analysis.

10. Wolfgang Munchau: “…the Eurozone has made hardly any progress in actual crisis resolution – in spite of its pretentious grand bargain.”  And the much expressed optimism about Spain is surely misplaced.