Have you seen this man?
Former Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley has dropped off the radar screen since he was last seen asking Lester Holt for thirty seconds, but he hasn't been inactive. He's been going to small colleges and a couple of the larger land-grant schools campaigning for Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that Hillary and her minions likely don't appreciate his efforts. Why should they? After all, they dissed him during the primary campaign, they haven't invited him to join the nominee at any rallies (unlike Bernie Sanders), and they probably think they could win this thing without him.
And yet O'Malley campaigns vigorously for her as if all that stuff he said about her in the primary race had all been meaningless hyperbole. He's actually being nice to her. Consider what he said in a recent e-mail to his onetime supporters, sent just before the first presidential debate in the general election campaign:
"In the Democratic primary, I stood on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton. We didn't agree on every issue, but I can tell you this: she is tough as nails. She is also the only candidate in this race who understands the big and bold actions our next President will have to take to build on President Obama's legacy. Whether it's confronting climate change, reforming our inhumane immigration system, or taking on economic inequality, she is the clear, progressive choice in this campaign."
What a classy guy.
I know, I know - if you genuinely feared Donald Trump, as O'Malley does, you'd be out campaigning for a woman who disrespects you, too. And I hope that Trump is the only reason O'Malley is fighting hard for the Clinton-Kaine ticket. Because I wouldn't want to think that he believes that his efforts in the fall race will help him in a possible second try for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 or 2024. Or that Hillary may be thinking of naming him Democratic Party chair if she wins.
Here's the deal. Martin O'Malley is a loyal Democrat. He's given his political life to the party. But I don't think anyone in the party, never mind just Hillary's minions, appreciates him. I don't think anyone in the party even likes him. Not only was he scoffed at by Hillary, he was also dismissed by the campaign of Bernie Sanders (who isn't really even a Democrat), Debbie Wasserman Schultz - now out of the party chairmanship but still an honorary chair of Hillary's campaign - obviously can't stand him, and many rank-and-file Democrats don't even seem to either to know or care who he is.
If I may slip into second-person mode for a moment or two . . . Martin, why are you even in this party? If you left tomorrow, no one would miss you. You've been treated so badly, your campaign for President was rigged to fail, and when you spoke at the Democratic convention, you got seven minutes in a terrible TV time slot. Can't you take a hint? Oh, I know that a couple of folks in the party are pulling for you to become the next Democratic chairman. But will Hillary nominate for that post someone with your negative baggage - especially since she was the one who dumped it on you? And here's something Michael Barone noted about the Democrats; the party is so wrapped up in identity politics that they'll never give a guy like you a fair shot for the White House in the future whether Hillary wins or loses. "One lesson of recent presidential primaries," Barone recently wrote, "is that Democratic voters are transfixed by identity politics, having elected the first black president and chosen the first female presidential nominee . . .. What they haven't been interested in is cisgendered white male liberals. The largely forgotten John Edwards fell by the wayside quickly in 2008, and Martin O'Malley, with credentials similar to those of Bill Clinton and Michael Dukakis, attracted zero support in 2016."
Martin, you were marginalized long ago. When you said you were getting your door-knocking shoes ready to campaign for the Democratic ticket, I thought you meant it literally. But then, going out and giving speeches for Hillary in obscure schools like East Carolina University and Grinnell College is the same thing as going door to door in some suburban neighborhood out in the Midwest.
Dear readers, I think it's time for an intervention. Martin O'Malley needs to be convinced that he can't go on in this abusive relationship with the Democratic Party, and that he should walk away from it and help found a new liberal opposition party. He should leave the party repeating to himself, "I will not be a victim!" Let's let him campaign for Hillary through November, though, because he clearly believes that Donald Trump should never get into the White House (no argument here), and he believes with equal clarity that giving his all to help Hillary is the best and only thing he can do to stop Trump. But once the race is over, no matter who wins, Martin should tell the Democratic Party that he wants to start seeing other people.