If not Huck, then who?
Mike Huckabee's non-candidacy is the "most consequential" non-candidacy yet, writes Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com. That's mainly because it throws the Iowa caucuses, which Huckabee won in '08 and was favored to win again, wide open. It's a mixed bag for Mitt Romney; the frontrunner-by-default can no longer follow through on his threat to skip Iowa and head straight for the friendlier New Hampshire primary. But Huckabee's exit is unalloyed good news for another GOP heavyweight in the wings: "Ms. Palin’s prospects," writes Silver, "look brighter now than they have in weeks." [Five Thirty Eight]
Polluters win reprieve from Obama EPA
Politics have trumped science again, as the Obama EPA has bowed to the complaints of industrial polluters and rescinded new limits toxic emissions including mercury, dioxin and lead. What's the price Americans will pay for unburdening big business? The EPA estimated last year that the new rules would save as many as "4,800 premature deaths a year from respiratory ailments." [LA Times]
Gingrich stakes out both sides of Ryan Budget
Newt Gingrich made headlines over the weekend denoucing Paul Ryan's Medicare overhaul as "right-wing social engineering." But Jay Newton-Small recalls that Gingrich told her just weeks ago that he would have voted for Ryan's proposal. At the time, Gingrich called it a "first step." This weekend he blasted it as "radical" change. "How does one go from praising a plan as 'the first step,'" Newton-Small asks, "to criticizing it as 'too big a jump?'" [TIME]