STILL ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS…. The top story for most of the day on Mark Halperin’s “The Page” featured a headline that stood out for me. It read, “The Big Questions: Deficit, Gas and Libya.”

It’s since been replaced with a new, more important top story — apparently a former half-term governor is mad at a liberal filmmaker about something — but the “Deficit, Gas and Libya” caught my attention for what it leaves out.

This isn’t to pick on Halperin. The truth is, the political world is dominated right now by a handful of questions, and “Deficit, Gas and Libya” sums up the discussion fairly well. The only other thing being bandied about in D.C. today is an anti-Muslim hearing in the House Homeland Security Committee.

But job creation and economic growth just doesn’t seem to matter to the establishment anymore. Peter King’s crusade against Islam won’t create jobs. The focus on the deficit will almost certainly make the job landscape much worse.

Taking the economic recovery for granted, as if everything is right on track and we no longer have anything to worry about, is a dreadful mistake. Just today, the economic news out of China was discouraging; Spain’s debt issues are renewing cause for concern out of Europe; and first-time unemployment filings in the U.S. were unexpectedly higher. And yet, a discussion about how to bolster the recovery just isn’t happening, and by all appearances, isn’t going to happen for the foreseeable future.

For Americans, economic growth and job creation easily top the list of priorities, but these don’t make the cut on the list of “big questions,” because the political establishment seems to have moved on.

The recovery is fragile and could easily slip away, just as it did about a year ago at this time. That Washington is deliberately taking its eye off the ball is hard to understand.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.