Camelot comeback?

There’s nothing like the Kennedy name to change the dynamics of a political contest in Massachusetts, especially at a time when the name is missing from congressional roll calls for the first time since 1947.

Joseph P. Kennedy III issued a statement saying he is quitting his job in the Middlesex DA’s office and setting up a committee to explore running for Barney Frank’s seat in Congress. The Globe practically salivates over the announcement, dissecting it from a variety of angles. Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Kennedy family biographer, says the announcement puts to rest all the speculation that the family’s involvement in state and national politics is over. “It was premature to say the Kennedy era had come to the end,” she said.

The Herald is equally excited, but in a different way. The tabloid’s front-page splash, “Camelot he’s not,” signals the newspaper’s opinion of Kennedy as well as its delight in having another Kennedy running for office. State Rep. Dan Winslow is quoted as saying it won’t be easy for Kennedy to win the newly redrawn district and predicts Republican money from across the country will pour into the coffers of any GOP challenger.

Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis says young Joe is the right choice to lead the family back in to the political limelight. “He’s the only one in the tribe right now who’s really got it,” one insider tells Gelzinis. The Daily Beast concurs, saying JPK3 has “the smile, the jawline, the shoulders. (Although, good Lord, could that hair be any brighter orange?)”

WBUR interviews old Kennedy hand Paul Kirk about the kid’s chances and – surprise, surprise — Kirk says young Joe is solid. “It goes without saying that the Kennedy family – its reason for being, if you will – is to try to make a difference in people’s lives” Kirk says. “Giving back to one’s community or one’s country is very much a part of the Kennedy characteristic, and I think young Joe embodies that.”

Two interesting tidbits from today’s coverage. The Globe reports that the 31-year-old would-be candidate is currently living with his mother in Cambridge but plans to move to a Newton apartment Feb. 1. And the Herald reaches young Joe at work and finds him unwilling to talk. “Dude. I’m at work. I can’t answer these questions right now,” he says.

                                                                                                                                                               –BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court rules that a 2009 law cutting off legal immigrants from subsidized health care coverage violates their rights under the Massachusetts Constitution, the Globe reports.

The state’s December tax revenues fall below projections.

The Sun Chronicle says looming MBTA cuts could further imperil a casino proposal in Foxborough.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Lawrence police are investigating how juvenile records of the leader of the effort to recall Mayor William Lantigua got posted on a pro-Lantigua Facebook page, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Charles Lincoln, a former Brockton cop who was acquitted of fraud when he did double duty as Plymouth County jail’s director of security to amass the largest pension in the county’s history, is sitting in Barnstable County jail for failing to pay his ex-wife court-ordered alimony.

Springfield residents talk about how to boost post-tornado civic pride and revitalize the city.

First-term New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell says he wants more money for economic development but with federal cutbacks in block grants is not sure where the funds would come from.

Smaller communities with volunteer firefighters will be getting some financial help from the state. Meanwhile, if enough people “like” the Freetown Fire Department on Facebook, they could win $5,000.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

The National Review says America’s military strength is in the money so President Obama’s cuts are indefensible.

Two writers in The New Republic offer a way around the controversy over presidential recess appointments — simply have the Senate majority admit they’re in recess.

Former Obama administration adviser Austan Goolsbee says the intense focus on near-term deficits is deflecting attention from the calamity down the road.

Sen. Scott Brown defends Obama’s recess appointment of a consumer protection bureau chief.

ELECTION 2012

The Globe endorses Jon Huntsman in the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire. Red Mass Group wonders why the Globe did that. The Eagle-Tribune backs Mitt Romney. Andrew Sullivan wonders just how strange is Mitt. Paul Krugman hits Romney with facts and figures and other unsavory things. The Atlantic distills Romney’s tax plan: A $100 tax hike for the poor, and a $100,000 tax cut for the rich. Of course, that’s mild compared to Romney’s rivals.

A vote counter in the quiet town of Moulton, Iowa, says a typo may have given Mitt Romney 20 votes he didn’t deserve. If true, the real winner in Iowa would be Rick Santorum, a local Des Moines TV station reports. Santorum, campaigning in New Hampshire, gets booed by a group of college students after comparing gay marriage to polygamy. Santorum also takes exception to reporters revisiting his claims that liberalism was at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandal. Herald editorial page editor Rachelle Cohen revisits them anyway. The New York Times examines Santorum’s soft post-Senate landing in the private sector.

The National Journal looks ahead to South Carolina.

The latest Rasmussen Poll shows Romney is the GOP’s best bet in November, coming in a tie with Obama at 42 percent each, though the president enjoys a 6-point advantage among the all-important independent voters. Via the Weekly Standard. The American Spectator says Romney needs to come clean on Romneycare and explain why that’s better than the federal reform.

A somewhat-unpopular Obama campaign gears up to run against a historically unpopular Congress.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Labor activists are once again trying to organize Walmart workers.

EDUCATION

Savoy considers closing its elementary school which serves 27 students and sending them to schools in Adams and Cheshire.

HEALTH CARE

The Steward Health Care System is accused of firing a nurse at a Methuen hospital for leading a union organizing drive, the Globe reports. The Eagle-Tribune reports the hospital is also accused of preventing nurses from wearing buttons in support of the fired nurse.

Pioneer Institute’s Joshua Archambault says the federal Medicaid waiver for Massachusetts is fraught with danger because it continues funding safety net hospitals at unsustainable levels and he has the numbers to back himself up.

Two recent federal reports show that eastern Massachusetts outpaces the rest of the country in heroin-induced emergency room visits and program admissions for opiate addiction.

TRANSPORTATION

The Black Falcon terminal in Southie could hit a new high in passenger visits this year as Massport is projecting more than 350,000 passengers will be aboard ships that dock and depart the terminal in 2012.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

MEDIA

Why too much social media may be a bad thing.