Yes, you read that right. You have heard the whispers accurately. Martin O’Malley, Maryland’s Governor, may well be running for President in 2016. Some have noted that he is making himself very visible during this whole hurricane thing. He may well be politicking himself into something bigger.
O’Malley was called to speak at the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte over the summer. Conventions are a showcase of party all stars or future stars. It can also be a curse. The Governor’s new found publicity on the national stage has exposed his record with spending and high unemployment for all to see. On top of that, there were a number of reports circulating about all of the people who have fled Maryland due to the taxes and economy. It did a lot to hurt his growth as a star in his party. In fact, the Democrats appeared to change their minds somewhat. They decided to give him one of the smaller roles at the convention. This is certainly a sign that O’Malley has to do better with some of his policies if he wants his party to take him seriously.
O’Malley is a strong pick in many ways as well. He has good looks and he’s a decent public speaker. He has an Irish band. A band is the gimmick that a Presidential candidate would need in order to get noticed. Yes, you heard me right, a candidate needs a good gimmick to be noticed. People remember you as “That guy who ___.” You have to give them something to fill in the blank. JFK was the guy who had that New England accent. Eisenhower was the guy who was in the military. Jimmy Carter was the guy who was a peanut farmer. Martin O’Malley will be the guy who has an Irish band. This works in his favor, people will like it.
I spent a few years covering a politician who was talked about as a possible Presidential candidate. His name was Brian Schweitzer and he was the popular Governor of Montana. They said he was the only Democrat west of the Mississippi who anyone would want to associate themselves with. Other top names of the time such as Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi were more polarizing.
Schweitzer was a great public speaker and, I can tell you from experience, he knew how to work well with the media. He was funny, productive and smart. Much like O’Malley in 2012, the Democrats decided to give Schweitzer a slot in their 2008 convention. However, we haven’t heard much talk of a bigger political role for Mr. Schweitzer since. O’Malley may well have the same fate. Like the Montana governor, he may be someone who was supposed to be a future star, but never made it too far.
I am personally not betting on O’Malley winning any Presidential election. He has too many things working against him. However, one never knows what can happen. If you have been around for a while, you probably remember back in the early 1990s when Bill Clinton was seen as a joke. Most knew him as the guy who gave the long and yawn provoking speech at the 1988 Democratic convention. He was written off by a lot of people. Yet, “The Man from Hope” managed to turn himself into a serious contender and eventually the President. Who knows? Maybe O’Malley is Clinton for the next generation.