They have their exits and their entrances

T-Paw is gone and Rick Perry is the man.  Oh yeah, and the lady from Minnesota is popular with party die-hards in Iowa, but don’t take her too seriously. The first of these is fact; the next two are all conjecture, but that’s what political reporters seem to live for these days.

It was an action-packed weekend on the road to the Republican presidential nomination, as prognosticators raced to say “what it all means” in real time as events unfolded. Simply keeping up in real time actually means falling behind, as the heavy breathing of the excited punditocracy was in full swoon over Texas Gov. Rick Perry last week before his actual kick-off announcement on Saturday. And if the over/under was 300 for the number of media outlets using the term “game changer” in the context of Perry’s announcement, you won if you took the over.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty made a fast exit from the race following a disappointing third-place finish in the Ames straw poll. “I think the audience, so to speak, was looking for something different,” Pawlenty said. But who would have thought that when Pawlenty was ramping up his campaign, bringing on all sorts of top-gun GOP consultants and operatives and the line was that he had the perfect mix of conservative economic and social stands and a record of electoral success in a blue state? So much for the wisdom of the handicappers.

But there’s no time to waste regretting past miscalculations when the T-Paw scratch and the brash new Texas entrant have reset the horse race. The Times takes the cautious road and sees a three-way race for the nomination. But the National Journal’s Beth Reinhard jumps out fast,  declaring the GOP contest now a two-man race between Mitt Romney and Perry, even with Michele Bachmann still basking in the glow of her victory in Saturday’s Iowa straw poll.

“Sure, Perry jumped into the race only one day ago and needs to prove he’s worthy of the national stage,” Reinhard writes. “Yes, Michele Bachmann is the one who boxed Tim Pawlenty out of the race with her triumph in the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday. But it is the governor of the great big state of Texas, not the Minnesota congresswoman, who poses the biggest threat to Romney from here on out. That’s because Perry boasts that killer combination of assets: the power to grab hold of voters — which Bachmann shares — plus a concrete record of creating jobs. It’s the rhetoric plus the results, the inspiration layered on top of the perspiration.”

She may well be right that the GOP race will come down to an Austin-Boston battle. But with Perry’s candidacy barely 48 hours old, maybe we should stop with the first part of her pronouncement and see how Perry does on the national stage first before pronouncing him an imminent threat to Romney. That, after all, is what campaigns are for. 

                                                                                                                                                                    –MICHAEL JONAS


No flies on state Treasurer Steve Grossman: ““I think it’s pretty clear that we are in some kind of economic crisis,” he told Keller@Large. He also called on Congress to return from vacation and make some moves to right the ship.

The Springfield Republican says Massachusetts residents should be able to videotape police.


Leaders of the effort to recall Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua vow to try again, the Eagle-Tribune reports. They say their initial bid was sabotaged by City Clerk William Maloney. They gathered 5,483 signatures, but only 4,366 were verified as registered city voters. Even City Councilor Marc Laplante’s signature was rejected. In an editorial, the paper says the failed recall effort should serve as a warning to the mayor.

Lawrence City Councilor Grisel Silva say FBI agents have come to her home four times in the last three months gathering information for their investigation of Lantigua, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

In an op-ed in the Boston Herald, Colman Herman says the Boston Finance Commission has become a “watchdog in name only.”

Haverhill wins $4.8 million in state Green Repair funds to fix up city schools, but officials say they may receive less because they can’t come up with the full $2 million city match, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Bridgewater officials are seeking state permission to close the waiting list for the town’s 12 public housing units because the list now stands at 517 low-income families and it will be years before any unit becomes available.

The controversy over the wind turbine in Falmouth continues.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino comes out against opening Long Island to the public.


Billionaire Warren Buffett, writing in The New York Times, says last year he paid $6.8 million in federal taxes, about 17.4 percent of his taxable income, a lower percentage than everyone else in his office. He says it’s time to stop coddling the super-rich.

Elitist liberal rag tries to lecture conservatives about macro-economics.


President Obama’s approval rating hits an all-time low, The Hill reports. Meanwhile Andrew Sullivan salutes a Washington Monthly commenter who explains just why the president hasn’t gone ballistic on the Republicans.  Norman Ornstein, on The New Republic’s site, offers an interesting take on how Obama could channel Harry Truman to win reelection in a down economy following a mid-term sweep by Republicans who are overplaying their hand.

The National Review taps its stable of conservative observers to assess the GOP field after the debate, straw poll, entrance of Rick Perry, and exit of Tim Pawlenty.

Cue the Rick Perry flip-flops.  Meanwhile, one of Perry’s former Texas gubernatorial challengers has some advice for anyone running against  him.

The Springfield Republican says the short-lived controversy over Mitt Romney’s “mystery” campaign contributor points up the flaws in the campaign finance system.

Iowans swoon for un-candidate Sarah Palin.


The state’s Department of Telecommunications and Cable is overhauling its regulations to include governing the cell phone industry’s billing and marketing practices.

The Berkshire Eagle says that striking Verizon workers need to stop harassing management personnel.

Small businesses, which are usually the engines of any job-producing recovery, are not rushing to hire.


In an editorial, the Globe says free speech rights at Boston School Committee meetings shouldn’t extend to sort of the disruptive and intimidating behavior that’s been exhibited there in recent months.


Deep federal cuts will translate into deep state cuts in HIV prevention programs, state health officials tell the Globe.

The MetroWest Daily News argues that Massachusetts should make reining in health care costs a top priority.


The MBTA tries to rein in runaway costs on The Ride, but disabled riders fear they’ll get “sacrificed exclusively for financial reasons.”

The odds on a proposed national infrastructure bank grow longer.


Salem, with $30,000 in state Green Communities grant money, plans to launch a bike-sharing program with 30 bikes, the Salem News reports.


The always edgy — some would say consistently tasteless — sports blog is getting heat for publishing a photo of Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady’s 2-year-old son running nude on the beach, and some on the panel at Beat The Press think not only have they crossed the line, the blog’s owners may face child pornography charges.

Time explores whether “American supercop” Bill Bratton can make a difference in London.

Fake IDs are increasing in number and sophistication, causing criminal and national security concerns for law enforcement officials beyond the usual college student trying to buy booze or get into bars.


Jane Fonda talks about her new book, Prime Time, with Newsweek.


Peter Looney, a pillar of civic life in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood, died at age 69.