Your Ad Here

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Op-Ed: If You Haven't Heard of This Guy, You Will

His name is Martin O'Malley. A Democrat, he's been mayor of Baltimore since 1999 but tomorrow he will be sworn in as governor of Maryland. In November, O'Malley became the only Democrat to beat an incumbent Republican governor.

But he'll run for president someday. It's only a matter of time.

Actually, in a way, he already is. O'Malley's been running at least since 2005. At the time, Martin O'Malley was still a second-term mayor and hadn't even kicked off his campaign against Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

In August 2005, Martin O'Malley delivered a major speech on homeland security at the National Press Club in Washington. Like all mayors and governors who focus on domestic policy, O'Malley plainly looked at his speech as a means to demonstrate he understands and can talk tough about security and defense issues.
O'Malley clearly articulated not only what cities and states need to do better in terms of homeland security, but the federal government as well. And he very obviously used the occasion to take on President Bush and burnish not only Democrats' security qualifications, but his own.
"The way I see it, there are two ways to look at the issue of federal responsibility for our national defense at home," O'Malley said. "One view says that our homeland security should be a federal funding responsibility -- that it is the responsibility of all Americans to contribute to her defense during a time of war. The second view says homeland security should be a local funding responsibility -- that the people of a poor city or a rich suburb should do the best they can, using local taxes and the proceeds from fire hall bingo nights. Unfortunately for America's security in this time of war, the second view now controls the White House and Congress.
"This 'weak-defense' view, which sees homeland security as an unfunded local option, cannot truthfully be called 'conservative,'" O'Malley added. "President Eisenhower made a massive federal investment in building the National System of Interstate and Defense highways to better protect America in the event of a nuclear attack. Ronald Reagan was unabashed when it came to federal investments in defense. But in Washington today, the traditional strong defense values of the party of Abraham Lincoln are found only in the words carved on the cold walls of his memorial."
Martin O'Malley has a very Clintonesque quality about him. He's very smart but has a very folksy way about him and can easily tap into spirtual and religious dimensions without sounding strident. He can also, as he did in his homeland security speech, bash the opposition without coming across as too partisan, but as common sensical.
Like Bill Clinton, Martin O'Malley is cool. He's the leader of an Irish rock band called O'Malley's March. O'Malley's St. Patrick's Day concerts are the stuff of legend in Baltimore.
As a presidential candidate and as president, Martin O'Malley has the opportunity to be Clinton without the baggage. In fact, in the recent governor's race, O'Malley's opponents tried to use the womanizing smear against him in a very Clinton-like way only to have it backfire. Ehrlich was forced to fire the staffer who was peddling the rumors.
The big knock on Martin O'Malley is ambition. He's too ambitious, some people say. I'm not sure why people see ambition among public servants as a bad thing, though. When you or I are good at our job, we hope for and expect raises and promotions. It's a very positive quality in America. Why shouldn't the same hold true for good public servants.
Martin O'Malley, though, understands one can be too ambitious. That's why O'Malley sat out the 2002 governor's race. At that time, he was still a first-term mayor. He waited until he got re-elected to ponder a run for governor.
The same will be true when O'Malley runs for president.
So when will he run? O'Malley will wait to be a re-elected governor in 2010 before he looks further to the national stage. Further timing will depend on whether a Democrat wins the White House in 2008. If a Democrat becomes president in January 2009, O'Malley won't challenge the incumbent in 2012, but will wait until 2016. He's a young man and can bide his time.
If a Republican wins in 2008, however, O'Malley may stage a run against the GOP incumbent as a sitting governor in 2012.

Watch Martin O'Malley. You will be hearing more from him sooner or later.

Bookmark and drop back in sometime.

Enter your Email

Preview Powered by FeedBlitz


Labels: , , , , ,


Blogger ron2 said...

O'Malley's got no future beyond Maryland politics, mainly because of his very rough stint as Balt. Mayor (he went through 7 police chiefs in 7 yrs). He also won by the slimmest margin of any Gov in the USA in 06 even in heavily Dem Maryland in a very anti-Repub yr. And he's been criticized by the national Dem party for his bizarre statement at a Kerry fundraiser that Osama Bin Laden's Al Quaida terrorist organization was more of a threat to the US than Bush's policies. In a nutshell, O'Malley's already too tained to ever seek national office. He made a very bad mistake by not running for Gov in 2002 and now he's stuck with the consequences. Your observation that he'll run in 2016 if a Dem wins in 2008 misses the point because it's likely that by then 2 yrs out of office O'Malley will be long forgotten and almost 55 yrs old, hardly the "young man" you describe. See ya.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Scott Nance said...

I take your points, but if O'Malley has a successful tenure as governor (certainly an open question) then I think a history of police chiefs, etc., will be largely overshadowed if he moves to the national stage. The bigger question will be: what did he do right for Maryland and how will that translate for the nation.

Thanks for reading.

All the best,


4:50 PM  
Blogger Marshall said...

Carcetti for President? Never in a million years.

8:08 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home