Tag Archives: Martin O’Malley

Martin, we hardly knew ye


How frustrating it must be for Martin O’Malley.

The former mayor of Baltimore and former governor of Maryland didn’t register among Iowa Democrats tonight in that state’s presidential caucus.

All that effort. All the time spent. All the posturing and preening one must do to get people’s attention when you run for president is all for naught. Nothin’, man.

O’Malley is going to “suspend” his campaign, which means it’s over. Suspension of campaigns is political-speak that enables candidates to keep raising money to pay off debts incurred for their failed efforts.

O’Malley couldn’t outshout Bernie Sanders or outspend Hillary Clinton. So, he’s about to be gone from the campaign.

His departure won’t matter much. Clinton and Sanders will fight it out between them.

You know what? To be brutally honest, I cannot think of a single landmark issue that set O’Malley apart. Clinton’s toughness and hawkish foreign policy has become her key point; Sanders’ battering of Wall Street and his call for wage equality have become his signature issues.

O’Malley was just the third candidate in the ring.

He will spin it positively, of course, as politicians do.

The frustration, and the pain, must hurt.


It’s just about the ‘worst case’ regarding those e-mails


The worst case hasn’t yet arrived with regard to the Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy.

However, it’s a lot closer than the presumed Democratic Party presidential frontrunner would like.

I won’t yet call this matter a “scandal.” It would elevate to that level if we found out that the classified e-mails that went out on the former secretary of state’s personal server got into the wrong hands.

The Obama administration today revealed that 22 e-mail messages that went through Clinton’s server have been labeled “top secret.” Clinton had said she didn’t knowingly send out sensitive material on the server.

The administration now says it won’t release the e-mails to the public because — that’s right — they are top secret!

We won’t be allowed to see what’s in them, which is just fine by me.

Most troubling, though, is that the e-mail messages very well could have gotten into the hands of those seeking to do serious harm to this nation.

We’ll need to know the truth about how those messages traveled through cyberspace containing the highly sensitive national security information.

Of course, the political ramifications of this revelation ramp up the stakes for Monday’s Iowa caucuses, where Clinton is locked in a tight battle with Sen. Bernie Sanders; former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is running a distant third, but suddenly he emerges as a potential spoiler.

Clinton is beginning to suffer from some trust issues with voters. The administration’s acknowledgment that the e-mails carried top secret information into potentially unsecured locations out there into the Internet universe could do serious harm to a candidacy once seen as unstoppable.


Ratings tank for Democratic debate … who knew?

debate stage

Why is anyone surprised that the TV ratings for the Democratic Party presidential debate headed for the tank?

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley duked it out in Des Moines, Iowa. CBS carried it and by many accounts, the big winner of the event was John Dickerson,Ā host of “Face the Nation” and the moderator of the debate.

I’ll offer a couple of theories on the ratings tumble.

First, the identity of the eventual Democratic nominee is pretty well known. It’s likely to be Clinton, the former first lady/U.S. senator/secretary of state. She stumbled a couple of times in Des Moines, but she did very little to harm her status as the prohibitive favorite to face whomever the Republicans nominate next summer.

Second, and this is probably the more telling reason, the debate was up against some late-night college football games.

I hate to acknowledge this, butĀ a football game between two competitive teams is far more exciting than watching three politicians try to out-insult each other.

(A point of personal privilege here: I was in and out of the debate,Ā tuning in finally to the final quarter of the Oregon-Stanford game that Fox was broadcasting. Oh yeah: the Ducks won it with a last-second defensive play in their own end zone. Go Ducks!)

Sure, the debate shed some lightĀ on important policy positions.

But there were no surprises. There was even less drama.

Hey, if it had been Republicans debating opposite those football games — even with their carnival atmosphere — I’m pretty sure football would have won those ratings, too.





Has a Hillary alternative arrived … finally?

Count me as one who welcomes the entry of Jim Webb into the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

It might be his military experience, although as an Army veteran myself, I cringe — good naturedly, of course — at the idea of a Marine running for president of the United States.

Perhaps it is the fact that he has executive experience running the Department of the Navy.

Maybe it’s his understanding — gained through his experience serving in Vietnam — of the trials and fears of the young men and women we send into combat.

Hey, it might even be that he served in a Republican administration, which gives him an appreciation of the need to reach across to those on the other side of the political aisle.

Webb jumped into the race today. He’s now the fifth Democrat to declare.


Yes, he frontrunner remains Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s no slouch herself in the realm of government experience.

The other three are running to the left of HRC, led by avowed “Democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders. Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee are seeking to join Sanders on the fringe left edge of their party.

Meanwhile, Webb — a former U.S. senator from Virginia — is camped out squarely in the middle.

Still, it well might be that Webb’s own military experience in combat during the Vietnam War has prepared him to avoid future blunders abroad. ā€œI warned in writing five months before that (Iraq) Ā invasion that we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world, and that this invasion would be a strategic blunder of historic proportions, empowering Iran and in the long run China, unleashing sectarian violence inside Iraq and turning our troops into terrorist targets,ā€Ā he said in announcing his presidential campaign.

Does he have a chance of derailing the HRC express? Maybe, to borrow a phrase, a puncher’s chance.

But I’m glad he’s in.


Hey, what’s happening on the Democratic side?

Republican presidential candidates are gobbling up all the attention these days.

Have you noticed what’s happening in the “other” party’s presidential race? The once-unstoppable Hillary Rodham Clinton is looking, well, a bit stoppable these days.

Polling data suggest that Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who’s running in the Democratic Party primary against Clinton, has closed a lot of the once-huge gap between the two of them.

He trails Clinton now by just 9 points in New Hampshire, according to new data.

OK, it’s fair to ask: Is that a home-boy advantage for Sanders, given that he hails from next-door Vermont?

His crowds are huge. The excitement appears to be real. He’s speaking to the Everyman among us, railing against wage equality and declaring — without equivocation — that he opposed the Iraq War authorization from the get-go, unlike Clinton, who approved it.

It’s still a significant stretch to believe that Sanders is going to be nominated next summer at the Democratic National Convention. Two others also are running to the left of HRC — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Democrats aren’t likely to actually nominate an avowed socialist whose major campaign platform plank has been to call for massive redistribution of wealth.

Actually, of the three men running against Clinton, I find Chafee to be the most interesting, given that he once was a Republican.

But those gentlemen are far behind the two Democratic frontrunners.

How strange it seems to be talking today about Sen. Sanders as someone with at least a shot at derailing the Clinton Express.

Now, let’sĀ all turn our attentionĀ back to those crazy Republicans … shall we?


And … what about Jim Webb?


I almost forgot about Jim Webb. He’s a Democrat who’s also running for president of the United States. Or at least he’s thinking about it.

A recent blog I posted noted the entry of former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley into the 2016 Democratic presidential primary race. I mentioned that O’Malley joins Sen. Bernie Sanders as declared “anti-Hillary Clinton” Democrats and that former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee is likely to join the race.

I didn’t even mention Jim Webb, the former U.S. senator from Virginia.

It might be that I keep forgetting that Webb is even a Democrat. He served the Reagan administration, for crying out loud, back in the 1980s.

Webb, though, has a nice following of supporters around the country who admire him — as I do — for his service in Vietnam as a Marine and his no-nonsense approach to governing.

Future blog posts will have to mention this fine man.

My bad.

HRC doesn’t deserve a free ride

Omalley runs for pres

One of the recurring themes of my column, back when I worked as a daily print journalist, used to drive incumbent officeholders nuts.

I liked to write during election season that no incumbent — regardless of his or her record — deserved to run unopposed for public office.

Every so often, I’d write such an essay and I’d hear from an incumbent who’d gripe half-heartedly about my insistence that they draw an opponent.

“Too bad,” I’d say. “You shouldn’t get a free pass. You need to work for it.”

So it is with some joy that I welcome the entrance of another challenger to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 Democratic Party primary race for president of the United States.

Wait. Hillary’s not an incumbent? Oh, I almost forgot. But she’s such a prohibitive favorite to win her party’s nomination next that she might as well be one.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has joined the field. I’m not sure precisely how he’s going to separate himself from Clinton. He wants wage equality; so does she. He wants to improve everyone economic future; same for Clinton. He calls himself a “liberal”; I’m betting Clinton will tack to the left as well.


He referred to Clinton as a “dinosaur,” and promises to bring fresh ideas. The “crowd” that greeted his campaign kickoff was, to say the least, modest in size — about 300 or so supporters; Clinton draws that many while she’s eating at a diner.

O’Malley’s in, along with Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a card-carrying socialist; it looks as though former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee — a one-time Republican — is going to run as a Democrat, too.

Good. The more the merrier.

Clinton remains the heavy favorite for the party’s nomination and is a favorite still to win the White House in November 2016.

But she’s going to get a test in her primary. The individuals who will challenge her will — and should — ask her about her coziness with big banks, overseas contributors, her work with the Clinton Foundation and whether she actually built a record as secretary of state and as a U.S. senator before that.

Competition is good for the process, not to mention for the candidates’ souls.


HRC set to launch bid; now the fun really begins

You may take this to the bank.

The moment Hillary Rodham Clinton declares her candidacy for the presidency is when the campaign for the White House becomes really and truly a blast.

Clinton is set to announce her candidacy on Sunday. She’ll make known what almost every political junkie on Planet Earth has known all along. She wants to make history by becoming the first woman president of the world’s greatest power.


Why the “blast” factor?

Because the growing horde of Republican candidates are going to set their sights on Clinton. They are going to virtually ignore each other. They’re going to be talking to their party’s base voters, trying to persuade them that only they — and no one else — can defeat the Democratic nominee in November 2016.

As for Clinton’s possible Democratic primary rivals, a couple of them are beginning to show themselves in public. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has talked openly about running. Just this seek, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a one-time Republican who’s turned Democrat, announced plans to form an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mass.? She says she isn’t running for the White House, but she has yet to make that statement that she won’t run change her mind between today and, say, the day after tomorrow.

Many on the left and far left yearn for an alternative to Clinton. Meanwhile, many on the right and far right think the former U.S. senator, secretary of state and first lady is as evil as her husband, the former president and the current president.

Oh, boy. This campaign is going to be worth watching.

Go for it, Hillary!


Beware of big money, former Sen. Hart warns

Former Vice President Walter Mondale once asked famously of then-Sen. Gary Hart: Where’s the beef?

He sought to smoke out Hart’s position on the issues that were driving the 1984 Democratic Party primary presidential campaign.

These days, though, the former senator is giving us plenty to chew on as he warns of the influence of big money — as in really big money — on the upcoming 2016 campaign for president.


Hart’s target? Former Sen. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who figures to raise as much as a billion bucks to run for president. Hart doesn’t like that kind of influence. While he expresses admiration and respect for Clinton, he sounds like he’s leaning toward a possible alternative candidate for president — say, Elizabeth Warren or Martin O’Malley.

As Politico reported: “The post-Citizens United campaign finance environment has sullied the presidential process, he said, benefiting establishment politicians who cater to financial backers. He pointed to his own experience, noting that he and his wife mortgaged their home for between $50,000 and $75,000 ā€” an amount that made a significant difference in his first campaign in 1984.”

Ah, yes, Citizens United.

That was the infamous Supreme Court decision that ruled in 2010 that campaign contributors cannot be limited in the amount of money they give. Why, it’s a free speech issue, the court ruled. President Obama then stood in the lectern at a State of the Union speech and scolded the justices as they sat right in front of him for their decision. Although the setting was inappropriate for such a tongue-lashing, the guts of what the president said hold up today: It is that money wields too much influence in the modern political process.

Those who suggest that enabling corporations to give mountains of money to candidates is simply allowing “free speech” do not seem to grasp that some speech is heard more clearly than others. Politicians are going to listen to those who can give huge sums of money more than they’ll listen to you and me.

Is their voice more important than ours?

That’s the kind of influence Sen. Hart is warning us about.

Gary Hart hasĀ found the beef.


O'Malley is right; pass him the 'crown'

Martin O’Malley wants to be president of the United States.

Look for the former Maryland governor to announce his candidacy soon for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. The man who once supported Hillary Clinton’s desire to be president now says the presidency isn’t some “crown” that should be passed between two families.


He refers, of course, to the Clintons and the Bushes.

Actually, O’Malley is getting way ahead of himself.

It seems likely that Clinton will run for president again; Jeb Bush is likely to seek the GOP nomination.

Are either of them locks for their parties’ nomination? Hardly.

Clinton once was a lock. She’s still the strongest Democrat out there, but her grip on the nomination has slipped bit since the email controversy broke a few weeks ago.

Bush hardly is a cinch for the GOP nomination. He’s got his own baggage, chief among it the memory of his brother’s recent presidency.

The burden now falls on folks such as O’Malley to prove why they deserve to be seen and heard. It’s not just about candidates with recognizable names.

As this “crown” business relates to the Clintons, it’s good to remember that Bill Clinton wasn’t exactly from a filthy rich family when he ran for president in 1992. He came from fairly humble beginnings, as did his wife.

Still, I’m willing to listen to candidates such as O’Malley make their case, as I am willing to listen to the thundering herd of Republicans getting ready to run for the White House.

Bring it on!