Greg Sargent: So the big story of the day is that House Tea Partyers are vowing up and down that they may be willing to allow the country to default on its obligations to prove to Obama how serious they are about cutting spending.
Today, at his presser, Obama reiterated that there will be no negotiating over the debt ceiling….
…. even more so than the fiscal cliff battle, this year’s debt ceiling fight is shaping up as a kind of epic final confrontation — perhaps the Tea Party’s last chance to force Obama to do what the what American people emphatically declared in the election that don’t want, i.e., solve the country’s fiscal problems primarily by dramatically shrinking government, unraveling the safety net, and sparing the rich more sacrifice. And while we should reserve judgment until we see what happens in the end, Obama is certainly behaving like someone who is determined to break the Tea Party once and for all.
Charles Pierce: … Today’s action-packed episode is another in their continuing series: Stuff Republicans Tell Us That We Will Print Verbatim….
In this installment, our intrepid gumshoes manage to pry loose quotes from various vandals and dumbasses … to the effect that they have every intention of blowing up the American economy over the next few weeks if they don’t get absolutely everything they absolutely want. (There are drug gangs in Mexico who are more open to negotiations than these people.) ….
…. Presented with a clear example of how the Republicans have become demented …. Politico instead presents this information merely as a threat to the speakership of John Boehner, as though that’s all that’s at risk here. (This problem might have been solved if the two newshounds had talked to, you know, Democrats, but this is Politico, and y’all know better than that) ….
NYT: Several parents whose children were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting joined the national debate on gun violence on Monday, gathering to begin sketching their response to the massacre by helping start a nonprofit organization intended to help prevent the kind of bloodshed that turned this quaint New England community into a national symbol of grief.
In some of their first public statements since the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 20 children and 6 staff members at the school, the families of 11 of the children and adult victims appeared at a news conference and called for a national dialogue around issues of mental health, school safety and what their organization, called Sandy Hook Promise, described as “gun responsibility.”
Steve Benen: Though much of the right has been unhappy with Vice President Biden’s task force on gun violence, an unscripted comment Biden made last week caused conservatives to ring the alarm even more aggressively …. “The president is going to act. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken….”
…. the right, without having seen the still-unwritten orders, accused President Obama of taking dictatorial actions on guns without congressional approval…
…. The fact that Bush/Quayle administration issued an executive order on guns, within its legal authority, did not mean the then-president had seized authoritarian power in a bloodless coup …. So can we stop pretending perfectly legal executive orders are evidence of creeping tyranny?
Greg Sargent: Yep: The NRA represents an extreme worldview. A new Post poll finds that 65 percent of Americans support banning high capacity magazine clips; 58 percent support an assault weapons ban; and a whopping 88 percent support closing the gun show loophole.
Also: 89 percent of Republicans support closing that loophole, and 69 percent of Republicans support requiring background checks on those buying gun ammunition.
Meanwhile, a new Pew poll finds solid to overwhelming majorities support background checks, a federal gun-tracking database, and bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips….
Charles Pierce: The voices inside the head of Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin are unanimous in their dislike for Chuck Hagel … I think this is an unusual display of harmony for the voices inside Jennifer Rubin’s head since, during the presidential campaign just past, all the voices in Jennifer Rubin’s head had different opinions regarding Willard Romney. Was he merely awesome? Super awesome? Super-duper awesome? Super-duper-infinity awesome? Or was he a steaming super-duper-infinity awesome hunk of brilliantly coiffed man-meat who could make the bobsleds run on time while hitting Lady Liberty’s G-spot until she crooned “Columbia, The Gem Of The Ocean.” Now, though, all the voices hate Chuck Hagel. It must be a lot quieter around Rubin’s ears these days….
WH press listen as President Obama answers ‘no diversity’ charge (sorry for pic quality, there was a lot of glare)
PM Carpenter: Consider the mortifying irony: The president of the most powerful and one of the more literate nations on earth has been reduced to holding press conferences in which he must explain–and explain, and explain–for the edification of that nation’s most ignorant but also most internally powerful political faction that two and two make four and that bills accumulated really should be paid.