Moulton on the move

 

There has been no shortage of head shaking and hand-wringing in Democratic Party circles following this week’s double loss in special elections for House seats in Georgia and South Carolina. But US Rep. Seth Moulton wasted no time pouting. He started tweeting.

Only about 20 minutes after the Georgia race was called for the Republican contender, Karen Handel, the Salem congressman took to Twitter, writes the Globe’s James Pindell. Moulton called the race a “wake up call for Democrats” and said “business as usual isn’t working.”

Moulton said the party needs to stop “rehashing 2016 and talk about the future.”

He was talking about the party’s future, but the aggressive posture Moulton is staking out is generating plenty of talk about his future, and the second-term Democrat is doing little to tamp it down.

Pindell says the talk is about everything from pursuit of a House leadership post to a primary run against Sen. Ed Markey or a White House bid in 2020. Yesterday, a day after the election losses, Moulton, an Iraq War Marine platoon leader, issued a press release declaring his support for eight veterans seeking House seats in next year’s midterm election.

The party clearly is in trouble. But no one has any clear idea what the fix is.

Moulton’s message to stop talking about 2016 (read: Trump) and talk about the future seems to be exactly what Jon Ossoff did as he eggshell-walked his way to defeat in the Georgia race.

“Our brand is worse than Trump,” declared Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan.

There is fresh talk about ousting Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Ryan is a no-name congressman from Ohio who made an unsuccessful run at Pelosi in January but was able to garner votes from about a third of the Democratic caucus, including Moulton.

Pelosi is an easy target. She’s long been pigeonholed as a “San Francisco liberal,” which is somehow worse than other kinds of liberals who hold the same views. Pelosi may not convey the optics some Democrats think is needed, but it’s not entirely clear what is wrong with her leadership or her message of fighting to preserve the main elements of the Affordable Care Act and other pillars of the party platform.

Esquire’s Charlie Pierce says the talk of going after Pelosi only plays into Republican hands. He calls Pelosi a “manifestly better legislative strategist than Paul Ryan,” and says if Democrats dump her because Republicans have turned her into a caricature of some unhinged, far-left bomb thrower, “aren’t you already pretty much admitting defeat?”

But Moulton seemed to double down yesterday on the idea that the party needs a fresh start. “It’s time for change, and personally I think it’s time for a new generation of leadership in the party,” he told reporters.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of a new generation — that includes Moulton — taking charge. “What Democrats should be doing is listening to people like US Reps. Seth Moulton and Joe Kennedy III, who have been saying for months that Democrats need to come up with a better message,” writes Joe Battenfeld in today’s Herald. “They need to craft one that speaks to ordinary voters and their concerns. And the message can’t just be to dump Trump.”

All well and good. They just have to figure out what that “better message” is.

–MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

The House does a major rewrite of the voter-approved marijuana law, boosting the tax rate and the amount of money going to addiction prevention. The bill also revamps regulatory oversight, makes it easier for communities to bar pot shops, and directs regulators to steer jobs toward the minority community. (State House News)

Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley and Shanel Lindsay and Shaleen Title, two of the drafters of the pot ballot question, say the marijuana law must address the racial impact of the War on Drugs. (CommonWealth) A Dorchester Reporter editorial, posted in advance of yesterday’s House vote, calls for maintaining the 12 percent upper limit on pot taxes and for requiring a municipal ballot question vote to ban retail shops, not just a vote of the local governing body — both of which were scuttled by the House bill.

In Worcester, federal prosecutors are seeking a five-year mandatory minimum sentence against a woman accused of growing and selling marijuana. She reportedly had 100 marijuana plants in her basement. (Telegram & Gazette)

Massachusetts is not the only state struggling with lower-than-expected tax revenues. A new survey finds 33 states are facing that predicament and responding by paring back spending and funneling more money into their rainy day funds. (Governing)

Lauren Baker is helping to transform the DCF Kids Fund into the Wonderfund. (Salem News)

Beacon Hill lawmakers remember Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, who died of cancer at the age of 63. (State House News)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A Middleboro police officer was dispatched to the Board of Selectmen’s meeting after several residents called the station to report the meeting was getting heated when the chairman called another member a “liar” and the two had an angry exchange. (The Enterprise)

A Millis resident has filed suit against the town in an effort to save a small forest from being cut down to make way for a new elementary school. (MetroWest Daily News)

The Somerset Board of Selectmen approved a proposal to change zoning regulations to expand the areas in town where medical marijuana dispensaries can operate. (Herald News)

Tour guides in Salem push back against proposed rules on the way they conduct their business. (Salem News)

Ashland officials have hired a consulting firm to come up with a design and cost estimates to revitalize the downtown and attract economic development. (MetroWest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Details emerge on the Senate health care bill, which repeals Obamacare taxes and provides bigger subsidies for low-income Americans than the House bill. (Washington Post)

ELECTIONS

Despite warnings to the contrary, the vast majority of Massachusetts millionaires won’t flee the state if an income tax surcharge is imposed on high earners, reports the Globe. The most comprehensive research evidence for that conclusion, says the story, comes from a study by Stanford’s Cristobal Young. Young wrote about his research findings earlier this week in CommonWealth.

The Senate unveils its long-awaited, secretly negotiated GOP health plan but with no clear read on votes and a process stumble in including abortion restrictions, its outcome is fuzzy. (New York Times) Meanwhile, a poll in advance of the plan finds support for the Republican measure has slipped to just 35 percent with nearly half of voters — 49 percent — opposed to the bill. (U.S. News & World Report)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Quincy officials gave the green light to a mixed-use development on the MBTA’s North Quincy Red Line station that would include a parking garage and more than 600 top-of-the-market housing units in exchange for $230 million for the T over the course of the 99-year lease. (Patriot Ledger)

MIT unveiled plans for a massive mixed-used development on the site of the former federal Volpe Center in Kendall Square, which it’s buying for $750 million. (Boston Globe)

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell wrote a letter to federal officials urging them to keep 13 fishing permits owned by Carlos Rafael, the so-called “Codfather” who was convicted of money laundering and violating catch limits, in the Whaling City. Members of Maine’s congressional delegation have argued the permits should be distributed to all eligible permit holders. (Standard-Times)

EDUCATION

With the future of Haverhill’s Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School in doubt, parents and educators are starting to abandon ship. (Eagle-Tribune) An Eagle-Tribune editorial says the school was undermined by the Haverhill teachers union, which provided a “cynical lesson in educational politics.”

Jeff Riley, the state-appointed superintendent of the Lawrence schools, is called a “dictator” who is leading a “colonial occupation” after a dispute erupts over his decision to use a big portion of the high school library for an academy for high-performing students. (Eagle-Tribune)

The decision over the siting of a new $340 million high school in Lowell has divided the city more than last year’s presidential race, says one city councilor. (Boston Herald)

Catholic schools in Fitchburg and Milford shut their doors, citing declining enrollment. (Telegram & Gazette)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Yvonne Abraham says creating “safe injection sites” for drug addicts is the right thing to do. (Boston Globe) A Globe editorial calls a day shelter planned for Methadone Mile a good start in helping addicts and the homeless in the area.

TRANSPORTATION

MBTA officials plan to close the Wollaston Red Line stop in Quincy for up to 20 months  to upgrade the station to make it handicap-accessible but residents say the closure will disrupt parking and their commute. (Patriot Ledger)

It is costing the state about $12 million in incentive payments to get rid of the toll collectors on the Mass. Pike. (Boston Globe)

The captain and the pilot of the high-speed ferry from Nantucket that crashed into a jetty in Hyannisport injuring 15 people have been placed on paid administrative leave. Meanwhile, with the heavy tourist season underway, the Steamship Authority said it has leased another ferry for the short term while the damaged boat undergoes repairs expected to take three to four weeks. (Cape Cod Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Clean energy advocates Peter Rothstein and Michael Behrmann detail the upside of renewables, disputing there is any downside. (CommonWealth)

CASINOS

MGM Resorts, which is building a casino in Springfield, loses an appeal challenging Connecticut’s decision to award its two tribal casinos a license to build a third gambling facility. (Boston Herald)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A federal judge orders disgraced state chemist Annie Dookhan to pay $2 million to Leonardo Johnson, who was wrongfully convicted and jailed based on her false testimony that the piece of nut he sold to an undercover officer contained crack cocaine. “Ain’t no way, no how a cashew can turn into crack,” Johnson said after the ruling. (Boston Globe)

State Rep. Evandro Carvalho argues that most criminal offenders under 21 should be handled in juvenile courts, with only the most serious offenses for those 18 to 20 years old tried in adult court. (Dorchester Reporter)

A North Reading man is charged with shouting insults at a Muslim woman on an Orange Line train. (MassLive)

A Lynn man is arrested in connection with a hit-and-run incident and ICE is going after him as well. (Salem News)

New York Mayor Bill deBlasio will unveil a plan to shut down the infamous Rikers Island jail within a decade, a task he admits “will not be easy.” (New York Times)

MEDIA

The Wall Street Journal fires Jay Solomon, its chief foreign affairs correspondent, after a news report that he had business dealings with sources. (Associated Press)

Meet the Author
The Globe has look back — and ahead — as its editorial and business staffers move to gleaming new space in downtown Boston.

The Telegram & Gazette challenges a federal court order sealing pretrial documents in a case involving a family suing the city of Worcester for a SWAT team raid on their home. (Telegram & Gazette)