Salem News: The 113th Congress has some of the lowest approval ratings in history, with 13 percent approving and 83 percent disapproving of the job it is doing, according to a Gallup poll released last month. The legislative body, mired deeply in partisan politics, has devolved from a representative body into one where notions such as common sense, pragmatism and bipartisanship go to die.
This is unacceptable for a North Shore and a country facing multiple challenges — an ongoing immigration crisis, a shallow recovery from recession, rising student debt, deepening confusion over the country’s new health care law and the emergence of ISIS in the Middle East.
It is clearly time for new leadership. For local Democrats, that leader is Seth Moulton. He has our enthusiastic endorsement in next week’s primary election.
Five candidates are vying for the chance to face Republican Richard Tisei in the November general election: Moulton, immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco, incumbent John Tierney, John Devine of Woburn and John Gutta of Groveland.
DeFranco is a welcome addition to the race. She is a sharp debater with a strong handle on the issues and a refreshing, straightforward approach. But Moulton is the clear choice for those taking a Democratic ballot next week.
Moulton, a 35-year-old Marblehead native currently living in Salem, has a wide range of experience to bring to the job. As a Marine, he served four tours of duty in Iraq, serving as a platoon commander and fighting in the Battle of Najaf before becoming an aide to Gen. David Petraeus. Moulton, who has been endorsed by retired four-star Gen. Stanley McCrystal, has been sharply critical of those who pushed for the invasion, including former Vice President Dick Cheney. “George W. Bush and Dick Cheney didn’t just send us the wrong gear,” Moulton said in a column on these pages this summer. “They sent us to the wrong country. They sent us to the wrong war.”
After Iraq, Moulton earned three degrees from Harvard, including master’s degrees in public administration and business administration. He has spent time in the private sector, working on private-public partnerships as managing director of Texas Central Railway, a company hoping to build a high-speed rail line between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.
Moulton’s positions on the issues should appeal to most hard-core Democrats — he supports gay rights, abortion rights, tighter gun control laws and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. It is the candidate’s pragmatic approach, however, that should make others take notice. He wants to reform the tax code to help small businesses, the major economic engine of the North Shore. He doesn’t think Obamacare is perfect and is willing to make it better. And his support for immigration reform is personal; Moulton has often talked of the struggle to bring his Iraqi translator to the United States.
“There are reasonable things that both the right and left want,” Moulton said at a Saugus forum last month. “And if we could just get people to have that conversation about where we can find common ground, we could get comprehensive immigration reform passed.”
It is that willingness to engage those with competing interests in search of compromise — a skill, we suspect, tempered in negotiations with leaders in the fractured Iraq — that would make him a welcome addition to a mulish Congress currently marked by petulance and empty gamesmanship.
It would also be a departure from the approach taken by the incumbent Tierney, who consistently and loudly blames the GOP for the nation’s ills and has gone so far as to run attack ads claiming Moulton is a secret Republican in league with tea partiers.
While that approach may appeal to dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, it is repugnant to their more moderate brethren and is yet another example of why a new voice is needed in Washington, D.C. Seth Moulton deserves a chance to the final election this fall.
Read the original endorsement here.