Independence Day celebration season, moron style, featured the trashing of beaches in Falmouth and Dennis by hammered twenty-somethings with the sense of task and purpose of a skid mark. Once they get done paying for the vandalism and apologizing to the cops and residents they grossly disrespected, every last one of them could benefit from a few tours of duty in the Marines.

There, if they survived basic training without crying for mommy to come get them, they might develop some of the character on display from Congressman Seth Moulton (D-Sixth District) during an interview prior to the holiday.

Moulton is approaching a decade of service in Congress, and at times it’s been a bumpy ride. He’s made headlines for some questionable political judgment, most notably an unsuccessful effort to oust then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the grounds she and other House leaders were “too old.”

But the hallmark of character is when you learn from your mistakes and adjust your behavior accordingly. Moulton took the heat from pro-Pelosi constituents angry over his coup attempt, demonstrated renewed attention to his job and won easy re-election in 2020.

Nearly three years later, Moulton’s whiff of young-man-on-the-make arrogance has been supplanted by an approach much more consistent with his stellar military record, which includes multiple medals for selfless valor.

“There are a lot of people who don’t understand veterans,” said Moulton when asked about a recent, quickly withdrawn effort in the Boston City Council to slash funding for veterans’ services. “Some are running companies and starting businesses, and others literally end up on the street. So how do you get this separation? A lot of times, they just don’t make that transition successfully. Helping vets with that transition is exactly what this kind of money that the Boston City Council was trying to cut would do.”

Moulton has spoken out about his own struggles with service-related post-traumatic stress disorder, and promoted legislation to create a now one-year-old National 988 Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Hotline, as well as the Brandon Act, a bill aimed at improving mental health resources for active duty military. And he’s been front-and-center trashing Alabama GOP Senator Tommy Tuberville for stalling military leadership nominations in a tantrum over a Pentagon policy funding travel for female troops who need abortion services.

“Senator Tuberville; those are two words that probably should never be placed together,” says Moulton. “He has decided that he doesn’t like the DoD abortion policy, which simply makes it possible for service members to travel out of state if they need to get health care. One in five service members is a woman. He’s a 68 year old man who’s never served in the military himself, but…he’s trying to take us backwards 25 years, when we actually really need to be modernizing our military moving forward.”

More gratuitous bashing of his political elders? In the case of Tuberville, who would probably have joined the binge-and-pukers down the Cape over the Fourth if he was fifty years younger, it’s well deserved.

And in a sign of how Moulton has matured, he doesn’t hesitate to endorse another senior citizen, Joe Biden, who he ran against in 2020 and harshly criticized over the calamitous 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan, with praise that could apply to Moulton’s own evolution: “He’s been a remarkably productive president. He’s done a lot of good things for the country. And as a result, I think he deserves a second term.”

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Jon Keller has been reporting and commenting on local politics since 1978. A graduate of Brandeis University, he worked in radio as a producer and talk-show host before moving into print journalism at The Tab newspapers and the Boston Phoenix. Freelance credits include the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Boston Magazine, the New Republic and the Washington Post. Since 1991 his "Keller At Large" commentaries and interviews have been a fixture on Boston TV, first on WLVI-TV and, since 2005, on WBZ-TV. He is a 12-time Emmy Award winner for political reporting and commentary. He began his Massterlist column in March 2020.