[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir]

As noted below, the Senate votes on President Obama’s jobs bill tonight. And although Democrats have more than 50 votes in their caucus, it’s not clear they’ll get 50 votes for this bill. President Obama takes a lot of grief for political timidity and, at least some of the time, he deserves it. But if Democrats can’t get 50 tonight, that’s not on him. In the last few weeks, he’s said all the right things and made all the right moves. And it still might not be enough. That’s the reality of our political system. When the constitution gives Nebraska the same voting power as California, Democratic presidents are going to depend on some pretty feckless supporters.

One programming note for tonight: My talented and self-sacrificing colleague Alec MacGillis will be live-tweeting the debate tonight, using @TNR. I will not be live-tweeting the debate. Instead, I will be live-drinking with some friends while we watch the Tigers and Rangers.

Oh, who am I kidding? My friends work in politics. We'll probably end up watching the debate instead.

Elsewhere:

From the National Security Desk: "Federal authorities foiled a plot by men linked to the Iranian government to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States and to bomb a Saudi embassy, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a news conference on Tuesday." - New York Times

Are Republicans Trying to Sabotage the Economy? Plenty of people have suggested as much. Now the Obama campaign is, too. Steve Benen has details.

Line of the Day: “The more we learn about the last ten years, the more it seems like not only a Lost Decade, but a Decade of Losses.” – Derek Thompson, for the Atlantic.

Have Cake, Eat It Too. Economists talk about the inevitable trade-offs between efficiency and equity – i.e., between an economy that grows fast and an economy that distributes benefits broadly. Mark Thoma says it’s not so inevitable.

Bend the Curve. Just Not Yet. That’s the takeaway from a post by Charles Roehrig, from the Altarum Institute in Ann Arbor, who points out that growth in health care spending has meant growth in health care jobs, at a time when we desperately need more jobs not less.

Factory Jobs? In Michigan? Changing Gears has a story about the trouble manufacturers are having filling factory jobs. I’d love to hear what labor economists think about this. Unemployment in the Rust Belt has come down in the last two years, thanks to manufacturing growth, but unemployment is still high. The jobs are temporary, so perhaps that’s part of the explanation.

Not So Elitist. The Vanity Fair profile of Elizabeth Warren.

Yeah, Good Questions. Aaron Carroll of The Incidental Economist proposes ten very smart questions for tonight’s Republican presidential debate.

Burn, Baby, Burn: In the middle of a piece reacting to Ezra Klein’s weekend article on the economy, Ryan Avent argues that the Fed should convince the world it's not going to be so responsible (at least by the financial community's definition) in order to boost growth. And how should it do this? Avent suggests “the chairman should take to the podium to tell Americans they'd better start spending their dough soon before it's worthless, lighting a cigar with a $100 bill all the while.”

Reader Line of the Day: “The man's a Kenyan.” That’s reader “Nusholtz” on my item about Mitt Romney and his support for health care reforms that look like the Affordable Care Act.

Video Dedication of the Day: For all you filibustering senators out there, Elvis has a message:

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons