Opening Act: 2016 Already

I’m trying to avoid 2016 speculation, which suggests that my status as a political junkie is in deep decline. But when Jodi Kantor writes, you read.

Mrs. Clinton may find that her freedom comes with one huge constraint. The more serious she is about 2016, the less she can do — no frank, seen-it-all memoir; no clients, commissions or controversial positions that could prove problematic. She will be under heavy scrutiny even by Clinton standards, discovering what it means to be a supposedly private citizen in the age of Twitter. With the election four years away — a political eon — she will have to tend and protect her popularity, and she may find herself in a cushy kind of limbo, unable to make many decisions about her life until she makes the big one about another White House try.

Manu Raju has the latest intel on the Democrats’ filibuster reform discussions. The very existence of the story affects the internal discussions – Republicans need to believe that Democrats have the votes.

Dick Armey, newly free of FreedomWorks, joins the “Republicans woulda won if it wasn’t for those lousy gaffes” club.

The Montgomery/Kane readout on the fiscal cliff talks suggests that the White House is still considering further Medicare cuts, while standing fast on Social Security cuts.

Obama has proposed $350 billion in health savings over the next decade. Boehner has suggested $600 billion from health programs, and an additional $200 billion from using a stingier measure of inflation, reducing cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients.

And my colleague Dana Stevens is going to break your heart about The Hobbit.