So much good stuff to get to, I’ll skip any introduction:

1. Taegan Goddard’s indispensable Political Wire has the latest on several South Carolina polls (including two that aren’t actually out yet) showing “a tight race between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.” As I said yesterday, if those two finish 1-2 in either order, I think it would clinch the nomination for Romney.

2. Mark Blumenthal argues that it’s time to start paying attention to the national polls.

3. Want to see the delegate totals? Josh Putnam has them.

4. Good post by Steve Kornacki on the history of fringe candidates and their attempts to extort speaking slots and policy concessions at the national convention.

5. Speaking of which: Katha Pollitt tweets, “Ron Paul hates govt intervention, likes mandatory vaginal ultrasound probes.”

6. The story behind that one, on the new intrusive Texas law, by Lori Stahl and Mary C. Curtis.

7. Paul Krugman on the moral cowardice of Mitt Romney. Nice.

8. And Romney’s campaign cash is apparently coming from big private equity firms, reports Michael Isikoff. Probably not what Romney wants to talk about this week.

9. Jonathan Chait is good on Romney, the rich and “quiet rooms.”

10. Recess appointments! Here’s the Justice Department opinion supporting last week’s appointments.

11. Adam Serwer explains the opinion.

12. Bush-era recess appointment supporter John Ellwood analyses it.

13. Recess appointment opponent Matt Glassman gives it a fair shake.

14. And I don’t usually do this, but I might as well toss in my view of the opinion.

15. The effects of redistricting in California: three retiring House Republicans. Reid Wilson is on it.

16. And the House Democrats are trumpeting the recruiting success of their campaign committee. Rep. Steve Israel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee : “[S]trong Democratic candidates have now stepped forward in 75 Republican and open districts — more than we ever could have predicted or imagined.”

17. And a New Hampshire state legislator has taken up the cause of DC statehood.