Morning Examiner: Exit Ensign 

NV Sen: Sen. John Ensign (R) announced yesterday he will resign from the Senate effective May 3rd. Since the Senate Ethics Committee has no jurisdiction over former members, the early departure ensures the committee’s report on Ensign’s affair with a former staffer will not be made public. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is likely to appoint Rep. Dean Heller (R) to fulfill the rest of Ensign’s term. Heller had already announced he would run for the seat in 2012 and Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) announced she would oppose him last week.

Grassroots #fail: Politico reports today that the SEIU plans to spend millions of dollars” to try to build a grass-roots movement of public protest and organization similar to the massive show of pro-labor support that overran Wisconsin last month.” Specifically, the SEIU will fund a “17-city blitz” in which more than 1,500 SEIU staffers will visit more than 3,000 households in areas where the average income is less than $35,000 a year. The astroturf campaign comes at the same time that genuine grassroots anger has failed to materialize at town hall events this Easter recess. Progressives had hoped that the Republican House vote for the Paul Ryan budget would produce the same kind of town hall moments that the Tea Party did after the Democratic House voted for Obamacare in 2009. But as Slate‘s David Weigel reports, despite some isolated skepticism, the passion on the left just isn’t there. Part of the reason why could be seen outside President Obama’s campaign stop in Los Angeles where protestors were holding signs that read: “$ for jobs & schools, not war” and “OBUSHA. We’ve been had,” with the O replaced by the blue and red Obama campaign symbol.

The ‘waste, fraud, and abuse’ of energy policy: President Obama’s solution for high gas prices is virtually identical to his solution for high Medicare spending: appoint a panel of experts to identify fraud and abuse. Yesterday, at a town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada, Obama announced that Attorney General Eric Holder would head a “broad government task force” to “root out any cases of fraud or manipulation” in gasoline prices and investigate “the role of traders and speculators.” This line will work on Obama’s hard core supporters, 33% of Americans do blame oil companies for high gas prices, but for the rest of the nation this nonsense will fall flat. Forbes‘ Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren explain why.

2012 round up: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson officially announced his candidacy yesterday … Donald Trump has become the media’s new Sarah Palin … Mitt Romney hit Obama for “mission creep” in Libya … Newt Gingrich rejected Ryan’s budget on his Facebook page.

Righty playbook:

  • National Review‘s Kevin Williamson explains why tax cuts do not generally increase revenue.
  • The Corner‘s Robert Costa covers Grover Norquist’s efforts to oust Tom Coburn from the Gang of Six budget talks.
  • Hot Air‘s Allahpundit notes that the young are much more willing to reform Medicare than seniors.
  • RealClearPolitic‘s Sean Trende makes the case that an Obama reelect is not a slam dunk.
  • The Foundry‘s Mike Brownfield identifies some deep cuts that need to be made in the Energy Department.
  • Gregg Easterbrook notes that while Obama is calling for other wealthy Americans to pay 39.6% in taxes, he only paid 26.2% this year.

Lefty playbook:

  • Greg Sargent notes that Ryan’s budget includes a debt limit $9 trillion higher than they are today.
  • The New Republic‘s Brad Plummer laments the total political failure of the environmental movement.
  • At The Huffington Post, Council on Foreign Relations Visiting Fellow Gian Gentile writes that without a strategy, Libya will end in disaster.
  • Think Progress introduces Gary Johnson as a “Nullificationist Who Opposes Child Labor Laws.”
  • Talking Points Memo is concerned that Dick Durbin will allow the Gang of Six to cut Social Security.

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