Stop beating up Seth Moulton

Long before Ayanna (Change can’t wait) Pressley defeated incumbent Mike Capuano and long before Joseph (I can’t wait) Kennedy III began ruminating about a run against US Sen. Edward Markey, there was Seth Moulton.

Moulton ran against incumbent US Rep. John Tierney in 2014 and won, becoming the first candidate to defeat a sitting Massachusetts congressman in a primary since 1992. He took a lot of heat for bucking the wait-your-turn mentality that tends to dominate in Massachusetts politics, but that didn’t stop him. He went against the tide – that’s what he does.

He served four combat tours in Iraq, a war he spoke out against.

He joined former governor Michael Dukakis in pushing for a rail link between North and South Stations – an expensive, transformative transportation proposal that is derisively dismissed as another Big Dig.

And Moulton had the audacity, in the eyes of many, to call for the ouster of Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the Democrats in the House. He felt it was time for a new generation of leaders to take control in Washington, yet many in the nation’s capital and some in his district criticized him for trying to undermine a female House speaker.

Now Moulton is on to his latest quixotic quest, seeking the Democratic nomination for president, arguing the country needs a younger Democrat who describes himself as progressive yet practical, someone who can bring the country together and not divide it. “It’s time for the generation that fought in the Iraq War to step up. It’s time for the generation that sent us there to step aside,” he says.

On paper, it’s a pretty good message. Diane Hessan, who is tracking the shifting attitudes of a group of 500 voters, says many Republicans on her panel are looking for an alternative to Trump but not finding it among the field of Democratic candidates, most of whom have moved far to the left on the big issues.

“Given that nearly 100 percent of my 500 voters are distressed about the divisiveness in our country, and nearly 100 percent would like a leader to bring us together, perhaps there is a candidate who can inspire us behind new common-sense, less hateful messages that both Democrats and Republicans could support? That may be our only hope for keeping the United States united,” she wrote in a column this week.

Few view Moulton as that guy – he’s had zero support in every qualifying poll for the debates since he entered the race in April – and the congressman has been lampooned for thinking he was ready to run for the nation’s highest office.

“America simply doesn’t see what he sees when he looks in the mirror,” said Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker. “Running for president was a premature — make that a rash — move….He has always treated the job he has like a steppingstone to his true destiny, and voters tend to resent that. His time as a congressman could be done.”

Maybe. But Kennedys have always treated their jobs in Congress like steppingstones to their true destiny, and it hasn’t hurt them that much. Moulton may be guilty of overreaching, but it’s nothing new. That’s just what he does.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Attorney General Maura Healey has sharply criticized the Baker administration’s handling of the unfolding scandal at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, but she sits on a largely dormant panel responsible for overseeing the RMV unit at the center of the storm. (Boston Globe

Efforts to pass a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags have become tangled up in Beacon Hill maneuvering, with some prominent backers of the drive now opposing a version of the bill that emerged from a legislative committee, saying it would be worse than no bill at all. (Boston Globe)

Twenty-nine activists sue the Department of Conservation and Recreation in a bid to block logging in the Wendell State Forest. (MassLive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

With needles, nips, and open drug use rampant, Herald columnist Jaclyn Cashman has a blunt message for Mayor Marty Walsh about his multimillion-dollar plan to refurbish Boston Common: “Before spending $28 million sprucing up the Boston Common, could you first please clear out the drug addicts and homeless who have destroyed the city’s gem?”

A woman said she was trying to move her furniture and other items from a U-Haul storage facility in Brockton when she was allegedly called a racist slur by an employee during a confrontation. (Brockton Enterprise) 

A townwide boil water order that Marshfield officials hoped would be over Monday will enter its ninth day today. The order has been in effect since August 12, when both a sewer and a water main broke. (Patriot Ledger) 

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump appears to again be backing off his vow to push for gun-buying background check legislation. (Washington Post)

Trump is reportedly angry that automakers are agreeing to California’s more stringent emission standards and not jumping at his administration’s move to relax pollution standards. (New York Times

ELECTIONS

An Ed Markey-Joe Kennedy primary for US Senate would test the loyalties of Massachusetts Democrats. (Boston Globe)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tells a gathering of Native Americans in Iowa she has “made mistakes” and apologizes — references to her past claims of Indian ancestry. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A survey of US business economists finds 76 percent believe a recession will batter the economy by the end of 2021. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION

Suffolk University will purchase the Ames Hotel in downtown Boston and turn it into student dormitories. (Boston Globe)

A second lawsuit seeking to reverse approval of a $117 million Dennis-Yarmouth regional middle school has temporarily blocked work on the embattled project from resuming. (Cape Cod Times) 

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Paul Hattis of Tufts University Medical School details what consumers deserve from the proposed Tufts Health Plan-Harvard Pilgrim Health Care merger. (CommonWealth)

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation put out a report mapping those without health insurance, and it found they tend to be men and 40 percent are non-citizens. (WBUR)

Planned Parenthood is pulling out of a federal family planning program because of a Trump administration rule barring referrals for abortions. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

ARTS/CULTURE

Marthe Cohn, 99, a Jewish woman who risked her life to spy for the Allies behind enemy lines about Nazi troop movements during World War II, will speak at Northern Essex Community College on Thursday. (Eagle-Tribune)

A memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing has been completed near the finish line on Boylston Street. (WGBH)

TRANSPORTATION

Red Line ridership hasn’t recovered since the June 11 derailment and customer satisfaction with the T remains at a near-record low. (CommonWealth

Advocates and city councilors are sounding the alarm about the thousands of Boston Public Schools students who will soon be relying on an unreliable MBTA to get them to school. (Boston Herald)

The union representing Registry of Motor Vehicles workers slams a report on the agency scandal for naming names, with the head of the union likening top officials in the Baker administration to  the “I see nothing” character of Sergeant Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes. (State House News)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Two views on the Trump administration’s Vineyard Wind delay — a cautious tone of urgency from angry congressional reps hailing from Massachusetts and Louisiana and measured praise from a group representing fishing interests. (CommonWealth)

A settlement with former fishing magnate Carlos Rafael will ensure that he cannot legally return to the commercial fishing industry and allows for the sale of the so-called Codfather’s many assets. (Associated Press) The current and former mayors of New Bedford discussed the agreement in the Standard Times. 

The arrival of sharks in large numbers to the waters off Cape Cod grabs the attention of the New York Times

CASINOS

MGM Springfield’s CEO insists things are on track — even though the casino’s revenue has fallen far short of projections and it has shed hundreds of jobs since its opening. (Boston Globe)

A Quincy developer is proposing a hotel, horse track — and casino — in Wareham. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Eric Matlock of Northampton, who is seeking $700,000 from the city for alleged retaliatory arrests, is arrested again after protesting outside a downtown store. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

After the trial of Walter Levitsky ended in a hung jury, prosecutors plan to take another run at the former Peabody neurologist accused of fondling a patient. (Salem News)

Shane Newman was ordered held on $250,000 bail after allegedly running over a jogger and leaving the scene in Millbury. (Telegram & Gazette)

Two Fall River police officers testified before a Superior Court grand jury against a fellow officer, leading to a 15-count indictment against the latter for alleged use of excessive force. They were granted immunity before admitting in court they filed false police reports. (Herald News)