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Commonwealth Magazine: The Codcast, Moulton doesn’t mince words

April 21st, 2017

By Commonwealth staff

The phrase “mealy-mouthed politician” often seems redundant, so closely do we associate political figures with an aversion to direct answers that cut through the usual fog.

That does not describe Seth Moulton, the second-term Democratic congressman from Salem. Moulton answers questions with a degree of candor that is refreshing and sometimes jarring.

When CommonWealth sat down with him for this Conversation interview in November 2014, just after his election, Moulton said he was now wearing the politician badge reluctantly. When Bruce Mohl and I talked to him for this week’s Codcast, he still seemed to be in full candor mode.

Moulton has become a huge booster of the North-South Rail Link, and we dug into the details of why. (The project still looks like a longshot — but Moulton is a pretty good salesman.)  He had nothing positive to say, however, about the MBTA and its ability to constructively lead the way on the effort. “The T is very wedded to this old-fashioned 1950s-era diesel-powered commuter rail system,” he said. “I’m just afraid they’re really out of touch with what’s going on in the rest of the world.”

And if the project were to ever get the green light, Moulton doesn’t want the T in charge during the construction phase, favoring instead the idea of a public-private partnership. “The T’s track record for construction projects is absolutely atrocious,” he said.

Moving on to the new White House occupant, he said, President Trump has “lived up to my worst fears.” The word from the inside is that things in the White House are “chaotic,” said Moulton, who has been a relentless critic of the new administration. “There’s just general incompetence.”

He scoffed at the idea that there is anything resembling a Trump doctrine when it comes to foreign policy. “It’s incoherent, it’s irresponsible,” he says of the administration’s foreign affairs conduct to date.

Moulton has been equally willing to call out problems within his own party, stepping up to support Rep. Tim Ryan’s unsuccessful effort to oust Nancy Pelosi from the Democratic leader post in the House. He says Democrats have fallen out of touch with the concerns of those between the coasts who have an increasingly tenuous grip on the middle class.

Full article here.

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