Libya: The hawkish triumvirate of Sens. John McCain (R-Ari.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) increased pressure on President Obama to escalate U.S. involvement in Libya on yesterday’s Sunday shows. Graham wants to bomb Tripoli and McCain wants Obama to retake control from NATO. As The Council on Foreign Relations’ James Lindsay explains, at some point Obama is going to have make a choice: “We’ve intervened in someone else’s civil war but we’ve not intervened with sufficient force to change the outcome to our liking. Likely the fighting is going to continue, the death rate will be high, the TV images are going to be awful, the drumbeat of criticism from the news corps, the punditocracy and the intervention caucus on Capitol Hill will get really loud. Should we get to that point, Obama’s going to have a choice: Do more or find a way out.”
Gas wars: The battle lines are drawn for this summer’s gas price blame game. Sen. Richard Blumentahal (D-Conn.) told Face the Nation that Obama should issue subpoenas and convene a grand jury to “uncover the potential wrongdoing” by oil companies. GOPers, meanwhile, are going to pin the blame squarely on Obama’s offshore oil drilling moratorium which has already decreased domestic offshore oil production by 13% this year. The wild card, however, will be Libya. A plurality of Americans blames unrest in the Middle East for high gas pries. If Obama continues to look clueless on Libya, expect these issues to blend together.
Debt limit: The Obama administration’s chicken little campaign on the debt limit isn’t working. The GOPers on the Sunday shows were defiant. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) told Face the Nation that dangers of not raising the debt ceiling are being “overstated,” noting that Congress has failed to raise the limit before and “Armageddon didn’t hit.” And an unnamed Capitol Hill aide tells Politico: “Obama is trying to create a false premise that we need a debt limit increase immediately but reforms over the long-term, that isn’t the case and is also a non-starter.” Democrats, meanwhile, are under the impression that Wall Street will do their dirty work for them. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told Politico: “In the end, the Republicans are not going to be able to withstand the pressure from the business community, the guys who finance their campaigns. … In the end, they have to do this.”
Daniels: Last week the Indiana State Senate approved what would become the largest school voucher program in the United States. The program will be Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signature education reform accomplishment. But the state legislature session ends on April 29th. As The Washington Post‘s Dan Balz notes today, that is the date Daniels has long set as the time he would announce whether or not he will be a 2012 candidate. With both the base and the Washington press corps unsatisfied with the current GOP field, the pressure on Daniels to make a decision quickly will be immense.
2012 round up: According to the New York Board of Elections Donald Trump hasn’t voted in a Republican primary since 1989 … Rick Santorum admitted his 2003 vote in favor of Bush’s Medicare expansion was a mistake … Mitt Romney is the only GOPer leading President Obama in New Hampshire in Dartmouth’s latest poll.