Moulton declares victory — and caves

It’s easy to poke some fun at Seth Moulton and liken his message to that of George Aiken, the Vermont senator who famously declared in 1966 that the US should simply declare victory in Vietnam and go home. The Salem congressman threw in the towel yesterday, saying it’s time to rally around Nancy Pelosi as the next House speaker after having led the charge to see her ousted as House Democratic leader.

But for all the battering Moulton has taken, including talk of a potential primary challenge two years from now, his claim of at least partial victory is much more than just empty talk. In exchange for the support of the band of rebel lawmakers Moulton was part of, Pelosi agreed to serve no more than four years as speaker and to support a rule change that would limit any Democratic speaker and those in the top two deputy positions to no more than eight years in power.

Politico called it an “unprecedented agreement, one that marks a major win for the group of a dozen-plus Pelosi critics.” The Washington Post said Pelosi made “a significant concession” to the “demands for generational change.”

In a Globe op-ed today, Moulton framed the Democratic wave in midterm elections that saw the party retake the House as a call for bold action on important issues — and for change in the party’s top leadership posts. He says the former cause has seen victories in agreements by leadership to take up issues like gun control and form a new subcommittee on climate change. The leadership challenge proved more contentious, with Moulton and his allies facing growing calls within the party to unify around Pelosi at a time when Democrats need to focus on using their new clout against President Trump.

“With these changes, the leaders of our caucus will no longer be determined by tenure and loyalty but by frequent and open elections, giving us a better chance to change and evolve as the country does,” Moulton wrote. “Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people,” he said of the intraparty battle.

The freewheeling debate and negotiations over how to run the Democratic caucus in the House make for sharp contrast to the way the Democratic House on Beacon Hill operates. Under the golden dome, term limits on the speaker were thrown overboard nearly four years ago, and speaker-for-life Robert DeLeo seems poised to be elected to a new two-year term next month.

Rather than a robust exchange on how things should run there, it was left to outgoing Democratic state rep Cory Atkins to rip the increasingly top-down ways of the House as she made for the doors and delivered her farewell address last week. There is talk among some newly elected lawmakers about pushing for greater transparency in the Legislature. Time will tell if any of the Moulton moxie rubs off there.



The Eagle-Tribune does its own exit interview with the House’s most conservative member, Rep. Jim Lyons of Andover, who was defeated in the recent election by Democrat Tram Nguyen.

Maurice Cunningham says the social justice claims of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance ring hollow and the conservative group should look in the mirror when it goes looking for questionable campaign finance issues. (CommonWealth) Here’s what Mass Fiscal’s Paul Craney had to say earlier. (CommonWealth)


More than 4,500 signatures were submitted to begin the recall process against Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia, nearly twice the number required to begin the process. (Herald News)

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera can’t run for reelection, but he’s holding a fundraiser anyway. (Eagle-Tribune)

Neighborhood residents voiced objections at a City Hall hearing on a proposal by the Red Sox to host as many as 12 concerts next summer at Fenway Park. (Boston Herald)


The publisher of the National Enquirer admitted paying off a former Playboy model to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Donald Trump in order to bolster his presidential campaign, a development that experts say greatly enhances the president’s potential legal troubles in conjunction with the three-year prison sentence handed down to his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. (New York Times)

WBUR explores a Boston student’s deportation and what it reveals about school police and gang intelligence.


Geoff Diehl, the Trump-backing state rep who suffered a lopsided loss last month to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, appears to be poised to seek the chairmanship of the state Republican Party, putting him on a collision course with Gov. Charlie Baker’s more moderate wing of the party. (Boston Globe)

Sure, Warren has hit a rough patch in recent days, but does it matter in the grander scheme of presidential campaign things? (Boston Globe)

Joyce Ferriabough Bolling scans the would-be 2020 field and doesn’t see anyone yet who looks like the Great Hope to vanquish Donald Trump. (Boston Herald)


Four finalists are being considered for school superintendent in Stoughton. (Enterprise News)


With $2 million in state funds, the Metrowest Regional Transit Authority plans to replace 24 buses. (Metrowest Daily News)


Why are electricity prices spiking this winter in eastern Massachusetts. A new comprehensive energy plan from the Baker administration suggests the cause can be traced to last winter’s severe cold snap. (CommonWealth) The new energy plan starts to shift the state’s attention to reducing emissions from transportation and heating. (MassLive)

Gov. Charlie Baker says gas service has been restored to 98 percent of those homes affected by the explosions and outages in the Merrimack Valley. (Boston Globe)

Objections from area fishermen could threaten the nation’s first major offshore wind farm, which is planned for the waters between Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island. (Boston Globe)  Meanwhile, three ocean tracts totaling 390,000 acres are being auctioned off today to wind farm developers. (State House News)


Officials in Plainville and three surrounding communities want the Plainridge slots parlor to be able to expand to include table games. (Boston Globe)

Rachelle Cohen offers a defense of Wynn Resorts keeping its Everett casino license, saying the company’s main shareholder is now founder Steve Wynn’s two-time ex-wife (they married and divorced twice) Elaine Wynn, and Cohen asks whether the company should “be made to pay for the sins of the man who done her wrong?” (Boston Globe)


US Attorney Andrew Lelling, in a round table discussion with reporters, said his office has “all but eradicated” the violent Central American-based street gang MS-13 from the Boston area. (Boston Globe) He also said his office will continue to focus on drug trafficking in Lawrence, including through strict enforcement of immigration laws. (Boston Herald)  Lelling also says he won’t bar ICE agents from courthouses. (WGBH)


Republican Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky blasts the Louisville Courier-Journal for partnering with ProPublica, which he said was funded by “George ‘I hate America’ Soros.” (Mediaite)

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski is taking heat over a homophobic slur she used on the air to criticize  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Washington Post)