From the weekend

FROM THE WEEKEND…. It was a surprisingly busy weekend here at Political Animal. Here’s a recap of what we covered.

On Sunday, we talked about:

* White House officials have begun crafting a plan on how to proceed in 2011 and 2012. If they expect to have a constructive relationship with congressional Republicans, they’re making a mistake.

* Why, oh why, does the Washington Post keep running tiresome op-eds from Doug Schoen and Patrick Caddell, “Democrats” who hate Democrats?

* Tea Partiers are pretty worked up about competing “alternative” orientation programs for incoming congressional freshmen.

* Voters in Indiana said they wanted a Senate candidate who can relate to the concerns of regular people and can bring a fresh perspective to the entrenched insiders in Congress. They elected an old, wealthy Washington insider, who left Indiana more than a decade ago, and who’s spent several years as a corporate lobbyist.

* I had a new op-ed in the New York Daily News yesterday, exploring areas of overlap between President Obama’s agenda and selected Republican ideas.

* On Thursday, Cindy McCain appeared in an ad denouncing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” On Friday, Cindy McCain pulled a 180 and announced that she supports “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I wonder what her husband said to make her change her mind.

And on Saturday, we talked about:

* Did incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) commit a felony when he met privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vowing to oppose U.S. policy in the Middle East? By Cantor’s own standards, perhaps.

* When the political world assumes that the public really cares about the deficit, the political world is wrong.

* The debate over health care policy offers a case study on the ways in which Republicans make bipartisanship impossible.

* In “This Week in God,” we covered a variety of topics, including some unintended consequences of Oklahoma’s decision to combat the imaginary sharia threat.

* There’s some evidence that some Republican senators just don’t like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) very much.

* The administration still hopes it can commit to some new nuclear investments in order to pick up votes for New START.

* House Democrats resolved their leadership dispute by creating a new position for outgoing House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.