Driving the Week: Libya and the Budget

Mark Halperin on Morning Joe previews what’s next.

“Driving the Week” with Mark Halperin appears on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC every Monday.

1. Will the Libya crisis drive the news for the foreseeable future?

A true unbridled civil war will force the American government and its allies to focus on the humanitarian costs and the challenges of intervention. Will President Obama intercede publicly if the chaos escalates and the death toll rises considerably?

2. Will the expected budget deal beget more budget deals — or just forestall gridlock?

The relative ease with which Democrats and Republicans reached the current tentative compromise to keep the government running and allow time to negotiate a longer-term fix is a good sign for those who think grand bipartisan bargains are in the national interest. But it is worth asking: was this just the product of low-hanging fruit?

3. Will the 2012 Republican race go from zero to 180 mph?

After a late start in candidate action, several major players are taking serious steps towards the starting line. Newt Gingrich is promising an imminent announcement, Haley Barbour is scheduling some significant March events, Tim Pawlenty is putting his final pieces in place, and Mike Huckabee is blanketing the political airwaves to hawk his book. With activists, donors, and the media demanding the contest get underway, will more potential candidates stop shuffling their feet?

4. Will any governors call out the president?

Monday’s White House meeting gives the state Republican chief executives a chance to confront Obama on spending, taxes, regulation, health care, and more. This is the same event that has been the site of some memorable past clashes. If there IS a contretemps, which GOPer is most likely to initiate it?

5. What cultural significance will be attached to the Oscar results?

The national obsession with film and awards insures that the cable and web chatter about the Academy Awards will continue throughout the week. But will movie lovers decide that seasonal awards glut and studio overhype have spoiled the thrill?

Related Topics: News, Video

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