Morning Examiner: The White House budget game plan 

Budget: The White House strategy on the budget is coming into sharper focus. Obama administrator Jack Lew met with Senate Democrats yesterday and tried to sell them on the “debt trigger” that Obama proposed in April deficit-reduction speech. Such a trigger would require tax hikes if certain deficit targets are not met.

Meanwhile, Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has moved to the left and is now demanding $2 trillion in tax hikes to match $2 trillion in spending cuts over a 10-year window. This transparently sets up Obama’s April-deficit reduction speech 3-1 spending-cuts to tax-hikes ratio as the “middle ground.”

But it is still unclear how exactly Democrats plan to force these terms on Republicans who are attacking both Conrad’s Gang of Six and the White House’s Blair House talks. On the talks led by Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told Politico: “It will be historic, but it will be meaningless.” But on the Gang of Six, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters yesterday: “With all due respect to the Gang of Six…the discussions that could lead to a result are the talks being led by Vice President Biden.” Since both sides are so far apart, odds are neither venue produces anything long-term. The best bet is a short-term deal that does not commit either side to anything beyond the lifespan of a new debt limit increase.

And while liberals and the media are trying everything they can to create the appearance of a division between Senate and House Republicans, all five senators at the unveiling of Sen. Pat Toomey’s ,R-Pa., budget yesterday (Sens. Toomey, Jim Demint, Marco Rubio ,R-Fla., Ron Johnson ,R-Wis., and Mike Lee, R-Utah), said they would vote for the Ryan plan when it came to the Senate floor.

Oil: Senate Democrats are bizarrely trying to connect the gas price issue with Washington’s deficit. On Tuesday, they unveiled a plan to raise taxes on just the five largest oil companies by $21 billion over ten years. How exactly this will decrease gas prices Democrats don’t say. In fact the Congressional Research Service has pointed out that raising taxes on oil companies is the same as raising gas taxes on consumers at the pump. In a twist, however, instead of funneling these revenues to useless green energy subsidies like they normally do, this time Democrats will use the proceeds for deficit reduction. But when they are asking for $2 trillion in tax hikes, $20 billion seems like a drop in the bucket.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports today that Obama administration efforts to restrict oil new exploration in Alaska are threatening to shut down the entire Alaska pipeline which requires a certain minimum amount of oil flowing through it every day to function at all. Losing the pipeline would increase the cost of gas for drivers on the west coast and decrease federal revenues.

Immigration: If you needed any evidence that Obama’s amnesty-speech in El Paso, Texas, yesterday had nothing to do with policy and everything to do with politics, just visit Obama’s campaign website which has created a special page promoting video of Obama’s speech and asking supporters to supply the campaign with their email address.

2012 round up: Mitt Romney will give big health care speech in Michigan on Thursday … Mitch Daniels told the AP his odds of beating Obama are “quite good” … Jon Huntsman nabs former-Barbour aide James Richardson.

Righty playbook:

  • The Show-Me Institute reports that Sears, like many other Illinois businesses looking for a lower-tax state, is considering leaving Illinois.
  • Red State‘s Erick Erickson writes on NY-26 and asks, “Are New York Tea Partiers really willing to sell out?”
  • At Commentary, Peter Wehner calls Obama “the easiest incumbent to beat since 1980.”
  • The Foundry‘s Nick Loris debunks the White House’s “Energy Agenda and Gas Prices” page.
  • At The Corner, The Heritage Foundation’s JD Foster details Heritage’s long-term budget plan: Saving the American Dream.

Lefty playbook:

  • ThinkProgress attacks Apple over working conditions for those making iPads in China.
  • Talking Points Memo celebrates the DCCC’s $250,000 ad buy in NY-26.
  • The Washington Monthly‘s Steve Benen complains about too many Republicans being on the Sunday talk shows.
  • Emptywheel encourages the White House to brag about auto jobs saved by the G.M. bailout.
  • Firedoglake‘s David Dayen is one of many on the left attacking Florida State for accepting money from Charles Koch.

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