If you’re thinking “I didn’t know he was running,” that’s understandable. Moulton never managed to qualify for the first two debates even though the DNC broke them into two-night events to accommodate as many candidates as possible.
I mean, Eric Swalwell managed to make the first debate. Imagine waking up in the morning to the reality that you’ve performed worse than Eric Swalwell.
I have no idea why Moulton was running for president this year he did have the distinction of owning one of the most impressive resumes of any candidate. He’s a Marine who did four tours in Iraq and received the Bronze Star, ultimately working as a special liaison to Iraqi tribal leaders for David Petraeus. He joined the Corps fresh off graduation from Harvard; when he left with the rank of captain, he went back to Harvard and got two postgrad degrees. He got elected to Congress a few years later and showed some stones in trying to organize an insurrection against Pelosi as Democratic leader, insisting that younger leadership was needed.
Still: Couldn’t manage to beat out Swalwell, or Tim Ryan Steve Bullock Michael Bennet John Hickenlooper (I have trouble keeping them straight), for a debate slot.
Two interesting details about his departure. One: He thinks if he’d gotten in just a bit sooner he might have made the first debate after all. That may be true, in which case why’d he wait? Presumably the whole point of him running this year was to try to raise his name recognition among Democratic voters, especially back home in Massachusetts. He’s only 40; he’s sure to run for a Senate seat or for governor eventually once a spot opens up. But by missing the debates he defeated the purpose of his candidacy.
In an interview this week, Moulton said that “getting in late to the race was a handicap, much worse than expected. If I had gotten in even just a few weeks earlier, I probably would have made the first debate.”
But by waiting until April 22, Moulton joined a field that already had 18 candidates and was the most crowded primary in the party’s modern history. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, in particular, was surging at the time, and his presence made it harder for Moulton since they both were running on themes related to generational change and military experience.
Did he decide to run on a lark, at the last minute? In a field that already had 18 candidates, when the entire point was to try to use the spotlight of a presidential run to raise his public profile?
Doesn’t seem very well thought out.
The other interesting detail: Sounds like he’s all-in on Grandpa Joe.
“I do think that Trump is going to be hard to beat,” Moulton said. “I think Vice President Biden would make a fantastic president. He’s a mentor and a friend, and I’ve been impressed by the campaign he has run so far.”
Moulton added, “It’s evident now that this is essentially a three-way race” among Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Moulton said he worries that “veering too far left could lose us this election” and warned his party against embracing Medicare-for-all proposals on health care.
That’s an interesting salvage plan for his candidacy. Moulton doubtless made some enemies in the Democratic establishment when he tried to depose Pelosi. Going to bat for Biden and for center-leftism more generally at a moment when the leadership’s worried about the challenge from progressives (“I think we should strengthen Obamacare and have a robust public option that can compete against private plans,” he told WaPo) might heal that rift, which will be good for his prospects statewide in Massachusetts in the future. Maybe he’ll even end up on the trail for Biden. Moulton is among the youngest candidates running this year, a quality that Team Joe would doubtless value in a surrogate amid worries about Biden’s age. Moulton’s stellar military credentials are an added bonus. Presumably he’ll be in line for some sort of administration appointment if he hops aboard the Biden Bus now and Joe wins.
Here’s his favorite candidate yesterday on the trail, sounding sharp as ever.
Joe Biden thanks his longfriend timefriend who's a friend and has been a friend in and out of public life. pic.twitter.com/EoUWZeW0an
— Florian (@BetaODork) August 22, 2019