Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Martin Has a Dream Today

I'd be lying if I said anyone was paying attention to the hints coming from former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley that he might oppose Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.  Perhaps people should pay attention.  O'Malley, who is expected to decide on a presidential run by Memorial Day, envisions a new role for Washington in the years ahead.  He advocates an approach to using government to put people before profits and the general welfare before General Electric.  Hillary Clinton is advocating that, too, but in a more cynical way, having talks with small groups of people that keep out most of the media and prevent the press from asking tough questions. (Tamara Keith of National Public Radio has reported that the Clinton campaign leads reporters to decoy locations of her "intimate chats" to keep reporters off balance.)  O'Malley, who has spent time with the voters in a more open fashion, has impressed people with his easy-going approach and his progressive record as governor of Maryland (he abolished capital punishment and singed a bill allowing children of undocumented immigrants to be eligible for in-state college tuition under special conditions, among other things).  He clearly has a desire to stand for election as a liberal alternative to the moderate Mrs. Clinton.  Moreover, he has something Hillary doesn't have - executive experience, both as governor of Maryland and as mayor of Baltimore.  And he doesn't have something she has - political baggage.
Henry Adams, speaking of President Ulysses S. Grant, said that Grant was a great soldier who had proven to be a baby politician.  O'Malley, who was a great governor and could be a great President, might be a baby candidate; in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation," he came across as someone who wasn't ready to take on Hillary and seemed unsure of his own viability as a presidential contender.  That's fine; it's still early.  As O'Malley takes baby steps toward a possible presidential run, he's also making it clear where he stands.  He supports policies to promote higher wages for workers, investments in education and universal pre-kindergarten classes, opposing trade deals that outsource American jobs, expanding Social Security making the financial sector more accountable for its abuses.  He also told a National Public Radio reporter that there's no truth in Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's assertion that government regulation "holds poor people down or regulation keeps middle class from advancing. That’s kind of patently bull—t."  (The expletive was bleeped out, but it's gotten him more attention - and contributions.)  Hillary, meanwhile, is currently making few policy statements as she tries to be all things to all people.  It's time we stopped accepting at face value the squishy Democratic centrism of the Clintons and, sorry, President Obama ("He's not your boyfriend!" - Bill Maher) and encouraged O'Malley, a real liberal, to run and make the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination process not a coronation of Mrs. Clinton but a contest over where the country should go.  It's a contest he might win.
So why does Hillary look like she's about to be crowned the Democratic nominee? Why is there currently no other declared Democratic presidential candidate?  The disastrous 2010 and 2014 midterms that snuffed out so many Democratic rising stars and diminished those who survived (Cory who?) are one factor, but another is that Hillary has wanted to be President for a long time and has constructed an elaborate political machine to ensure that she gets the Democratic nomination.  She's sucked up all the money and oxygen on the Democratic side, and the Clintons tolerate no opposition to their objective to put Hillary in the White House.  But if Hillary is Goliath, there's always room for a David - like Obama in 2008 - to defeat her.  By simply suggesting that it could be done and that it is he who could do it, O'Malley might just be the one to pull it off, or at least move Hillary more to the left for the general election, just as sure as the Republicans are moving more to the right than ever before.
And to those white bourgeois Westchester County yuppie feminists who may view O'Malley's possible competition in the Democratic primaries and caucuses as a threat to the goal of electing the first female President of the United States, consider this: The Kochs are backing Scott WalKKKer for F├╝hrer - er, President.  If you think mild-mannered Marty O'Malley is the greatest threat to your cherished dreams, you'd best think again.          
Here are some of O'Malley's comments on National Public Radio.          

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