Date: Sept. 5, 2006 Slug: ax-news14 assignment #183412 Photographer: Gerald Martineau Location: N. Virginia Hospital meeting room Summary: candidates discuss issues Caption: Congressional candidate Jim Moran. StaffPhoto imported to Merlin on Wed Sep 6 19:08:03 2006 Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) (Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post)

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) announced his retirement after 23 years in the House, and the House and the country are better for it. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic so his replacement will not be a GOP pick-up. However, chances are very high Moran’s successor will be a huge improvement.

Two years ago I wrote:

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has been roundly criticized in the past for his noxious comments about Jews and Israel. On an al-Hurra broadcast last night, he surpassed himself in calling much of the country a bunch of racists.

The Republican victories in the midterm elections, he said:

It happened for the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States. It happened because the Southern states, the slaveholding states, didn’t want to see a president who was opposed to slavery. In this case, I believe, a lot of people in the United States don’t want to be governed by an African-American, particularly one who is liberal, who wants to spend money and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society.

If there was an anti-Israel position, he was all for it, including signing a letter imploring the lifting of the Gaza blockade that prevents weapons and bomb-making equipment from getting into Israel. Others, including former representative Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), expressed regret for having signed the letter.

An official with a pro-Israel organization put it this way (I have added links to help refresh readers’ memories):

From screaming at 8-year-old kids he accuses of carjacking and [trying] to punch a fellow member of Congress on the House floor, to peddling vile anti-Jewish and anti-Israel conspiracies and screaming at military veterans and [disrespecting] their service to America, Jim Moran has been embarrassing Democrats and Virginians for decades. On foreign policy, he has one of the least supportive records in Congress when it comes to standing with our friends and allies, a view underscored by his relentless hostility to our only reliable and democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel.

Yes, it is shocking that no Democrat was able to knock him out before.

Democrats in 2014 will have, no doubt, many choices for their nominee in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. Picking even by lot, they’d improve Virginia’s representation and the House as a whole. Let’s hope they amply clear the low bar of “better than Moran.”