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

Sarah Palin

[credit provider=”David Shankbone via Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/4594193164/”]

Good morning!  Here’s what you need to know:1. The US Senate yesterday voted down the House Republican leadership’s budget plan, 57 to 40, in a Democratic effort to gain political advantage in deficit reduction talks and in next year’s elections.

2. By staging this vote, did Senate Democrats inadvertently make the Ryan plan less threatening to voters, thus making them less “worried” about voting Republican?  Mickey Kaus argues “yes.”

3. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports: Republican lawmakers yesterday reaffirmed “their embrace of a controversial Medicare overhaul despite an electoral setback, ensuring the federal health program will remain a divisive issue through the 2012 election.”

4.  Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty yesterday broke ranks with House Republicans on the Medicare issue.  He said his plan for securing Medicare’s finances would allow seniors to choose between the current fee-for-service program or other options.

5. The House GOP leadership today will lay out a “growth agenda” for economic recovery. “The plan includes a 25% top tax rate on corporations and individuals, compared with the current 35%, as well as higher domestic-energy production, new curbs on government regulations and overhauls of U.S. patent and visa systems to help entrepreneurs and high-tech firms,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

6. The New York Times reports that all signs are pointing toward a Palin presidential campaign in 2012. The Wall Street Journal reports that she likely will not run.  Whatever, she owns a new home in North Scottsdale, Arizona.

7. Republicans are moaning and groaning about the supposed weakness of their field of presidential candidates. New York Times political writer Matt Bai tells them to cheer up.

8. Donald Trump is sending signals that he may get back into the presidential race. 

9. President Obama said yesterday that the campaign to defeat Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi would be a long slog.

10. A spokesman said yesterday that the Taliban have no plans to attack Pakistan’s nuclear weapons facilities.  He said that the Taliban intend to take over Pakistan and thus take possession of those weapons.

11. Egypt will permanently open its border with the Gaza Strip on Saturday, The New York Times reports, “upending the dynamics of regional politics in a bid to shake up the deadlocked peace process and better respond to Egyptian public opinion. “

12. Yemen appears to be headed toward an outright civil war.