Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What a Lucky Man He Ain't

Political pundits are unanimous in their assessment of Martin O'Malley's performance at the third Democratic debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire on ABC:  They hated it.
With little to lose, Marty came out fighting and fighting hard against Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, so much that Sanders, of all people, had to ask Marty to calm down over the gun control issue.  When Great Depression child Sanders and Baby Boomer elder Clinton offered up their views on foreign policy, the 52-year-old O'Malley tried to offer an argument against the old Cold War-derived mentality of good guys versus bad guys, saying it was a different perspective from his generation, which resulted in boos from a crowd that thought he was picking on his opponents for being too old.   In the process, he made the very valid point that it's not for Americans to decide whether Syrian Preisdent Bashar al-Assad should be removed from power.  When ABC journalists David Muir and Martha Raddatz failed to ask him questions or call on him, he seized whatever opportunity he could grab to be heard.  In other words, he did exactly what he had to do - take a more aggressive tone and refuse to be ignored.  
The good news is that the media no longer ignore Martin O'Malley.  The bad news is that they revile him.  Pundits found Marty to be a petulant, mean-spirited brat delivering a non-presidential, awfully sad performance, and they gleefully praised the moderators and the other candidates for chastising him.  Summation:  Martin O'Malley spent the fall talking about how he wanted to debate so badly, and at the ABC debate, he did just that.           
Now, wait a minute.  This is the same punditocracy that spent months ignoring or ridiculing O'Malley's campaign and his very existence.  They wouldn't take him seriously, even after he offered up his impressive record as governor of Maryland and remained in the campaign after Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee dropped out.  They kept trying to frame the contest as being just Hillary versus Bernie, following a narrative in which Hillary bests Bernie, and when O'Malley did come up, it was as a punch line, with some pundits all but asking, "Who is this pointy-eared mick with the Crab Cake Corners accent, and who the f--- invited him anyway?"  Saturday night's debate showed Marty taking off the gloves and refusing to stand for the media's cavalier dismissal of him, only to be . . . cavalierly dismissed by the media, and after doing what he had to do.  The only petulance or meanness of spirit I can see is coming from the media, in the rotten way they've covered the O'Malley campaign.
Yeah, the pundits hate him, but then, rock critics hated Emerson, Lake and Palmer, so what do the critics know, right?  Well, unfortunately, political pundits have more influence than rock critics ever had, so if they say he's finished, that likely means he's finished.  Except that he's not.  The debate showed that he's only begun to fight, despite having been in the low single digits in the polls for so long.  And if we O'Malley supporters don't want him to go the way of Reubin Askew (Google him if you don't know who he was; a lot of folks don't), we have to push back harder against the naysayers.  I myself am prepared to volunteer to call voters in Iowa come January if I have to.  It's not over yet.
By the way, Emerson, Lake and Palmer really were a terrible band . . .     

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