Thursday, November 12, 2015


With Martin O'Malley the only challenger to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination, the dynamic of the Democratic debate on November 14 will be quite different from that of the October 13 debate, when Marty was one of three long-shot candidates vying for attention that no one was ready to give him . . . or give to Lincoln Chafee or Jim Webb, for that matter.  On Saturday he'll be in a better position to get into the debate and keep it from being a Hillary-versus-Bernie show. 
The only problem is, the mainstream media continue to ignore him.  They seem to go out of their way to avoid noticing him or even acknowledging his existence.  
After O'Malley appeared at the Democratic presidential forum in South Carolina hosted by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on November 6, it looked like Democratic voters might finally be giving him a serious look.  He was the first candidate Maddow interviewed, he gave forceful answers, and he enunciated his positions quite clearly.  His best moment had to be when Maddow asked him if he would support high-speed rail or a mission to Mars.  "I reject the framing of the question," he declared.  "I believe we can do both!"
Opening the Democratic forum, appearing with the most popular progressive political pundit on television . . . what could go wrong?  Well, the media doted on Hillary's appearance at the forum, overlooking her slick cautiousness, her pat answers, and her arrogant defense of her ties to Wall Street.  And for someone Ed Schultz says isn't getting any mainstream media attention, Sanders got some good press from his appearance at the forum as well.  But O'Malley?  A funny thing happened to him on the way from the forum - he was dismissed yet again by the pundits.  Amy Walter and Tamara Keith, the Monday evening commentators on the PBS Newshour, didn't mention his name once this past Monday night.  And on CBS's "Face The Nation," journalist Molly Ball almost forgot to mention him and jokingly pretended not to remember his name.  Someone should have referred her to a detailed profile of O'Malley in the December 2014 issue of The Atlantic - for which the outgoing governor of Maryland himself was interviewed - that gave a solid measure of the man.  Ironically, this same article referred to him as someone who could be "the most ignored presidential candidate" of 2016.  The author of this article was . . . Molly Ball.  
I'm ticked off now.  I hope Marty comes on strong at the debate on Saturday and turns in a command of the issues and an understanding of the Presidency that is so good the media can't ignore him.  Some pundits have said that Saturday's debate is his last best chance to make a formidable impression.  Many of these same pundits have said the same thing about him regarding earlier debates and events, so they're pretty much giving Marty his third or fourth last best chance.  
Hmm, maybe some media commentators like Martin O'Malley more than they're willing to admit . . . 


Anonymous said...

Fortunately, the people of Iowa are beginning to give Martin O'Malley more serious consideration. The national media have a poor record at identifying our future Presidents this early in the process.

Steve said...

I predict that he will surprise a lot of people on February 1! :-)