Monday, September 14, 2015

A Proposed Democratic Presidential Alternative

The New York Times recently did a story about how Democratic Party establishment figures, watching Hillary Clinton falter over her e-mail issue and terrified of the possibility of Bernie Sanders winning the nomination, have been talking about possible alternatives to both candidates.  Martin O'Malley was not one of those alternatives.  Rather, the names of potential candidates under consideration were "white knight" figures that command national attention and respect even as O'Malley tries to make himself known outside his home state of Maryland.  They are, clockwise from top left below, former Vice President Albert Gore, Secretary of State John Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
This only demonstrates how limited and narrow imaginations are in a party that has largely been deprived of up-and-coming leaders and is run by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Of these so-called white knights, only Biden has indicated he might run.  Gore and Kerry, though possibly deserving of a second chance after having both lost to George Walker Bush on technicalities rooted in Republican mischief at the ballot box, are still hobbled by their charisma deficiencies, and Warren has made it clear that she's not interested in the Presidency; she's no white knight, and she's no lady-in-waiting either.  The fear among Democrats seems to be that, because Mrs. Clinton could be unelectable and Sanders is too liberal for a general election, there's no one else out there other than four guys (O'Malley, Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb, Lawrence Lessig) whose names people can't remember.  Ironically, two of the white knights listed above are two of the Seven Dwarfs, as the seven candidates for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination who were not named Gary Hart were called. Gore and Biden were among a field of seven Democratic candidates in the 1988 campaign derided by the press for having no national reputation or, in the case of Jesse Jackson, no chance of winning because of, not despite, his national reputation.  Funny how things work out . . . but then a lot of so-called nobodies in both parties went on to be somebody. So could Martin O'Malley. But no one in the Democratic leadership seems to want to hear that argument.
Well, if the Democrats are going to keep ignoring and resisting O'Malley, and if they want a white knight, may I make suggestion?  How about Chubby Rosalie?
Who???  Let me explain.  Chubby Rosalie was a scheduled guest on comedian Andy Kaufman's legendary TV special "Andy's Funhouse," which aired on ABC in 1979.  Kaufman didn't really want her on his special - when it was time to bring her out, he resisted, rhetorically asking, "Do I have to bring out that tub of lard?" - but he relented, and he introduced Chubby Rosalie to his viewing audience.
Then, without warning, before Chubby Rosalie stepped out onstage, ABC viewers saw their television sets apparently lose their signals and go to screen static.    
There was no Chubby Rosalie; Kaufman made her up!  It was only a setup for Kaufman to show screen static to make viewers think something had gone horribly wrong with their TV sets! 
My point - and I do have one - is that if the Democrats want a "white knight" to rescue them from Hillary or Bernie, that white knight does not exist.  Martin O'Malley isn't perfect, and some of the criminal-justice policies he pursued as mayor of Baltimore and some of the tax policies he advocated as governor of Maryland haven't been as successful as he would have liked - oh, he's made some mistakes, honey! - but who is a perfect candidate?  O'Malley has the best executive record among any declared Democratic presidential candidate,  he likely has the best chance of any of them to win a general election, and he's ready to defend his policies in as many debates as he's able to participate in.  Among the so-called white knights, Biden, as already noted, may actually run, and he may actually end up being a formidable candidate.  But don't expect him to remain as pure as Sir Galahad once he gets into the thick of the campaign.  Conclusion: Any Democrat who talks about finding a white knight to go to battle against the Republicans in the fall of 2016 is just giving us a lot of noisy static.     

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