Moran has been assigned the top redistricting role for the House by DeLeo. He, with his Senate counterpart Stan Rosenberg of Amherst, has taken the task seriously, attending conferences and familiarizing himself with the intricacies of Census data. He will not — as Petrolati did — approach the process with such naked political blinders that he couldn't even explain afterward the demographic basis behind the districts he created.

But Moran is also a savvy inside political player, with a reputation as a DeLeo (and former DiMasi) yes-man. Regardless of his best intentions, Moran must understand that by heading this process, in its current tainted form, he will be tainted along with it.

Moran has often touted himself as a progressive, with an independent streak. He needs to demonstrate that now, by publicly endorsing the creation of an independent redistricting commission — and the rest of the Boston caucus should stand behind him.

The right call
While we are glad that Senator Scott Brown eventually chose to vote the right way — in favor of ending the US armed service's indefensible "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy of excluding admitted homosexuals from serving their country openly — we believe that he did so out of political calculation, rather than principle or conviction. Why should we think otherwise? He has never apologized for, or recanted, his long-standing and noxious anti-gay positions.

The same holds for Brown's last-minute support for ratification of New START — a decision he could have, and should have, made on the merits six months ago.

Brown, who must stand for re-election in 2012, has been carefully calculating when to cater to the national conservatives and Tea Party voters who funded his startling victory, and when to please the Massachusetts moderates and independents who will decide whether to send him back to Washington for a full six-year term. On these two important issues, we count ourselves lucky that his calculus favored the latter over the former.

Perhaps Brown took a close look at the Bay State's November election results, and realized his January win was an anomaly, and not a fundamental shift to the right in Massachusetts.

We are more enthusiastic in thanking Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, who took a strong, unwavering stand on DADT, and Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, who stuck with their beliefs despite the likelihood of a primary challenge from the right.

As for Brown — we'll take whatever good votes we can get from him. But we will not forget that he has cast plenty of bad votes as well. And we remind him that in 2012 he'll likely face a tougher opponent, and a more prepared Democratic Party, than he did last January. We hope that political reality will prompt him to cast more good votes, since we doubt his principles will.

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Related: The X factor, Does Scott Brown’s victory mean doom for RI Democrats?, Careful carving: Keep politics out of redistricting, More more >
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