Senator ‘No’

US Sen. Elizabeth Warren sounded a little tempered last week when asked whether she’d be campaigning hard against the reelection of the state’s Republican governor, Charlie Baker, next year. That was a rare moment of moderation these days for the state’s senior senator, a leading voice of hard-edged Democratic opposition to the Trump administration and almost all things Republican.

With a new president who owes much of his success to a inclination to lead with a right hook rather than an olive branch, Warren is ready to respond in kind.

“We’re not here to make this normal,” she told Charles Homans, whose New York Times Magazine cover story yesterday, “The New Party of No,” describes the dug-in posture Warren and a growing number of Senate Democrats are assuming.

“To beat pugilistic right-wing populism, maybe you need pugilistic left-wing populism,” Homans writes of the approach of the emerging Democratic Senate opposition.

It dovetails with the strategy outlined by a trio of young former Democratic congressional staffers in a document that has become the blueprint for the new opposition effort dubbed “Indivisible.” Their view is that Democrats must show the same kind of inflexible, rabble-rousing opposition to compromise that was the hallmark of the Tea Party movement that struck fear into Republicans considering trying to work with the Obama administration.

“They understood that ‘no’ was a complete sentence,” one of the Indivisible leaders says admiringly of the Tea Partiers.

And so it will be for Warren and, increasingly, the party’s Senate leadership, starting with minority leader Chuck Schumer, who, the article says, is making a somewhat awkward transition from bipartisan Senate backslapper to defiant opposition stalwart.

Warren seemed to falter briefly when she voted to support Ben Carson’s nomination as housing and urban development secretary in an early committee vote. She heard about it from disgruntled liberal activists and voted no when his nomination came to the floor for a final vote.

The model going forward is going to be the liberal rock star moment when she “persisted” against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s order to stop reading on the floor a 1986 letter Coretta Scott King submitted to the Senate objecting to Jeff Sessions nomination for a federal judgeship.

This week, Warren is getting ready to take on Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. She penned an op-ed in this morning’s Globe detailing why she’ll oppose Gorsuch, arguing that he is more extreme in some views than the late conservative icon Antonin Scalia, whose seat he would fill if confirmed.

A New York Times analysis looks at the options Senate Democrats have on the Gorsuch nomination. One way or another, writes Carl Hulse, Gorsuch seems to be heading for a seat on the court. He says Democrats have two choices: “Get out of the way or get run over.”

Warren seems to be girding to end up with some tire tracks on her back, the sort of battle scars that anti-Trump activists want Democrats to wear proudly.

Hulse says the 52 Senate Republicans are counting on at least eight Democrats — including those facing reelection next year in states Trump won — to back Gorsuch. If they can’t muster 60 votes, Republicans say they’re prepared to do away with judicial filibuster rules and confirm Gorsuch with a simple majority vote.

While some Democrats don’t think the Gorsuch pick is worth a knock-down battle, others don’t believe Republicans have the votes to kill the filibuster rule. What’s more, says Hulse, they “also worry their party could face a severe political reprisal from its energized liberal backers if they do not do whatever they can to oppose Judge Gorsuch no matter the consequences.”

While it used to be key to getting things done in Washington, persistence has new meaning in a city that looks more divided than ever.



Two months after voting themselves a huge pay raise, legislators have not exactly been burning the midnight oil. But then that’s nothing new. (Boston Globe) It’s Trump’s fault! Speaker Robert DeLeo says legislative discussions have been sidetracked by constant focus on the latest outrage over President Trump. (Boston Herald)

Sen. Jamie Eldridge of Acton wants to install a single-payer health system in Massachusetts. (Telegram & Gazette)

Pot power play: State Treasurer Deb Goldberg is resisting growing sentiment in the Legislature that her office should not have sole oversight of the state’s new marijuana law. (Boston Globe) With a special Beacon Hill committee considering changes to the law, Lawrence DiCara says there is a long history of the Legislature applying fixes to measures passed by voters — and there’s nothing wrong with it. (CommonWealth)

Outrage at President Trump was fully channelled into the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston yesterday, where pols “took aim at the president the left loves to hate,” reports the Herald.


A Framingham police union has filed a pair of complaints with the state Department of Labor Relations protesting a decision by the acting police chief banning officers from performing out-of-town details and rescinding special pay for certain positions. (MetroWest Daily News)


House Speaker Paul Ryan signals a willingness to compromise on legislation replacing Obamacare in advance of a critical vote. (Time)

Thomas P. O’Neill III says President Trump’s proposed budget shows shocking values. (CommonWealth)

Former US attorney Preet Bharara was reportedly conducting an investigation of possible illegal stock trading by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price when New York’s top federal prosecutor was fired by President Trump. (ProPublica)

Trump apologist Jeffrey Lord says former President Barack Obama should be subpoenaed to testify on the baseless allegations that he had the phones at Trump Tower tapped. (American Spectator)


The Herald says William “Mo” Cowan’s status as a former US senator means he’ll have unrivaled access to the clubby world of the Senate in his new post as vice president of legal policy for General Electric.

The New York Times chronicles the meteoric rise and the ongoing fall of activist hedge fund manager William Ackman, whose investment firm may have set a record with a $4 billion loss from its stake in a pharmaceutical company.  Ackman’s company, Pershing Square Capital Management, is one of 28 investment managers for the Massachusetts state employees’ pension fund and was the recent focus of a campaign finance violation. (CommonWealth)

Automobile insurance premium costs are heading up, thanks to much higher costs to repair today’s computer-saturated cars and increases in accidents due to distracted drivers. (Boston Globe)

A new report from a human services trade association says the state will need at least 25,000 more human service providers in the next decade as demand for services coupled with a shortage of applicants is straining the workforce. (The Enterprise)

China’s taste for American lobster is growing fast as the country set a new record for imports of the crustacean with more than 14 million pounds. (Associated Press)


Sunday’s Globe chronicled the big financial hole UMass Boston finds itself in.

A Lowell Sun editorial criticizes the school committee for failing to consider the implications of declaring the city’s schools off-limits to federal immigration agents.


A federal judge dismissed a suit by a former president of Shields Health Solutions claiming CEO Jack Shields fired him for raising concerns over allegedly illegal business practices. But Shields has a counter suit in state court against Thomas Guilfoile seeking $12 million claiming the suit and a press release about the court action defamed him. (Patriot Ledger)

A rare bit of bipartisan agreement — that drug prices in the US are too high — could put a damper on the fortunes of the biopharma industry. (Boston Globe)


Boston Carmen’s Union chief Jimmy O’Brien says it wasn’t the Pacheco Law exemption that prompted his members to accept wage cuts but a desire to help the T invest in its tracks and equipment. (CommonWealth)

Adding another wrinkle to the talk of suspending the MBTA’s weekend commuter rail service, some say it would only be fair for such a move to be accompanied by a reduction in the cost of a monthly commuter rail pass — not exactly the direction T managers are trying to go on the revenue side of the equation. (Boston Herald)

Next up on the T’s outsourcing agenda: customer service agents who help people figure out how to put money on Charlie Cards or find their way to the right Green Line train. (Boston Globe)

Jeff Jones, the chief operating officer of Uber, quits after just six months on the job. (Recode)


The Globe has a primer on what you should know about those alternative electricity providers that fill your mailboxes with promotions and harass you with telemarketing phone calls.


An investigation by the New York Times finds at least 81 civilian deaths, both suspects and bystanders, and 13 officer deaths between 2010 and 2016 from surprise forcible entry raids by SWAT teams with none resulting in charges against officers even in wrongful deaths. Among the deaths in the Times investigation is Eurie Stamps, a retired MBTA mechanic who was accidently shot in the head by a Framingham SWAT team and whose death was featured in a CommonWealth story on officer-involved shootings.

A 60-day trial for a new policy at Barnstable District Court restricting possession of cellphones inside the building has resulted in long lines and court officers turning visitors away who had no place to put their devices. (Cape Cod Times)

A Herald editorial says there is “something fishy” about Boston’s delay in implementing department-wide use of body-worn cameras on its police force, and it speculates it has a lot to do with police union objections to the new technology.


With a reelection race looming next year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren — famous for her “creative media-dodging habits” — is suddenly very available and accessible to Massachusetts reporters, writes Politico’s Lauren Dezenski.


Legendary columnist Jimmy Breslin — who “until very recently, was still pushing somebody’s buttons with two-finger jabs at his keyboard,” according to the New York Times —  died over the weekend following a bout with pneumonia. He was 88.

Chuck Berry, a “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and king of rock and roll, died at his Missouri home on Saturday at the age of 90. (New York Times)