Driving the Week: Libya and the GOP ’12 Field

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Mark Halperin on Morning Joe previews what’s next.

1.Is Libya now engaged in civil war?

As President Obama formulates policy –on the fly when he must, and in thoughtful consideration when he can — sharp administration heads are looking to the United Nations and NATO to take the onus and focus off the United States if military force is used. But if reports of widespread government atrocities and murders continue, will Obama be pushed into unilateral action?

2. Will the positive jobs number snowball?

Last week’s unemployment data was a political shot in the arm for the White House. Now the question is: in the real world, will the numbers spur more economic dynamism and risk taking, prompting another burst of positive jobs news for the President?

3. Is 2012 underway — or not?

Gingrich has announced an exploratory website, Romney is taking a fresh defensive/offensive stand in the Granite State, while restive GOPers worry that the Obama Death Star is becoming fully operational. Will any of the other major presidential contenders seize the moment (by establishing a beachhead in Iowa, perchance?) or let another week slip by?

4. Will Wisconsin really go national?

With labor disputes breaking out all over and the situation in Madison dragging on, the conventional wisdom remains undecided if Governor Scott Walker’s battle with the state’s public employees unions will have a coast-to-coast spillover effect. Other Republican governors have shied away from embracing the Wisconsin precedent, and if Walker wins, labor will try to halt the trend. Will the unions start pressuring the White House to take a more explicit public stance?

5. Whose move is it on the entitlement chessboard?

The president showed a little leg on a Florida fundraising swing and in his Saturday morning address, emphasizing bipartisan compromise over partisan bashing. Speaker Boehner flashed even more gam when he told the Wall Street Journal that House Republicans were ready to produce a budget with real entitlement savings. Which side will make the next incremental move to keep the momentum going for a grand bargain deal?

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