Yes, it is way too early to talk about 2016. But, since there have already been so many Hillary 2016 pro and con diaries posted and I have spent way too much time complaining about Hillary, I thought I would instead discuss why I am backing Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley.
Here's my brief list of why he is my choice for 2016:
Martin O'Malley holding a Saturday meet & greet with Dems in Beaverdale, Iowa -- a hotbed of Obama organizing activity in '08 + '12— Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) June 19, 2014
2. He has a long list of progressive accomplishments to run on. I don't care all that much about rhetoric. I am more interested in action. This is some of what O'Malley has done as Governor:
Passed DREAM Act
Signed Same-Sex Marriage Act and then campaigned extensively for voters to affirm SSM rights at ballot box
Repealed Death Penalty
Raised the Minimum Wage
Set-up offshore wind farm
Increased spending on education including expanding pre-K
Capped tuition at Maryland public univiersities
Increased Gun control measures
Minor Marijuana decriminalization
3. On the issues that matter to me most (education, immigration, voting rights, environment), his views align with my own and he isn't all talk:
He passed the DREAM Act in 2011 (now 36,000 undocumented immigrants have access to in-state tuition); the state gave driver’s licenses to tax-paying undocumented immigrants in 2013; and in April of this year, O’Malley informed the Department of Homeland Security that Maryland would no longer comply with the Secure Communities program that facilitates the deportation of undocumented immigrants.4. He is working his ass off for 2014. He's been doing GOTV efforts in his home state of Maryland. He was just in Iowa campaigning for the Governor and Senate races and in Wisconsin. He understands the importance of party-building and is willing to take it to Republicans:
Maryland has the lowest Hispanic unemployment rate at 5.1% (compared with 9.1% nationally)
“He’s very clearly the most pro-Latino and pro-immigrant governor in the country,” Torres said. “He believes we are all immigrants, for centuries we are immigrants. He calls us new Americans because he believes it is a really good way to describe the contribution of the immigrant community.”
“When Pope Francis urged American Catholics to fight poverty, Congressman Ryan thought he said, ‘Fight the poor,’ ” O’Malley said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s Founders Day Gala in Milwaukee.5. He believes in progressive ideals as shown by his actions while in office and great speech in Iowa this past weekend.
Here are some highlights from the speech:
A stronger middle class is not the consequence of economic growth -- it is the CAUSE of economic growth.6. Sen. Tom Harkin is an O'Malley fan. Harkin is one of the few politicians whose opinions I care about. He's one of the people that made me start taking Howard Dean seriously. Here's what he said about O'Malley this past weekend:
The proof is in the results
.Maryland is creating jobs at the second fast rate in our region – in fact, our state has created about 9,000 jobs in the past two months alone.
Not only do our people now earn the highest median income in the nation, but we're also rated one of the top states for UPWARD economic mobility.
But progress is also about creating a more just, more inclusive, and more secure future for our children.
With a belief in the dignity of work -- we expanded and protected collective bargaining rights.
We don't attack and belittle our teachers. We support them.
With a belief in the dignity of every child's full potential -- we passed the DREAM Act in Maryland.
And with a belief in the dignity of every human being -- we passed marriage equality in Maryland.
Together, we have driven crime down to 30-year lows in Maryland and we passed an important gun safety law that focuses on school safety, mental health reform, and stronger background checks for handgun purchases.
And because climate change is real, we've expanded renewable energy…, accelerated energy conservation…, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Progress is a choice.
We do not move forward by chance.
Hope drives belief. Belief drives action. And action achieves results.
Harkin described O’Malley as “a great progressive Democrat and someone we can look up to as we move forward in America.”7. He has fundraising ability:
Meet the money: Has many bases covered as one of the party's top fundraisers. Raised more than $1 million for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and in December ended his year as finance chairman for the Democratic Governors Association.8. He's young (for a presidential nominee) and the future of this party.
On a less important note, the superficial nonsense that matters in presidential elections is in his favor as well. O'Malley has an interesting life story, he is hot, has an adorable family, he was made into a character on The Wire, etc. Yes, this is stupid stuff but it matters to the beltway media and casual voters.
When I bring up O'Malley's potential as a presidential nominee, here are the criticisms I've heard and my defense of them:
1. His 2012 DNC speech was a dud. However, I've seen him give some great speeches and he's not the only person who has comeback from a bad DNC speech.
2. He had that one bad appearance on Meet the Press. He's had other great appearances on MTP. Not terribly worried about one bad appearance.
3. The Maryland Obamacare exchange rollout was a disaster. Yes, it was. But, by 2016 I think that will be a nothingburger. Maryland is moving to purchase Connecticut's Obamacare exchange that worked so well, is suing the contractor who built the Maryland exchange and has still enrolled over mm people in Obamacare.
4. He was part of DLC. Who cares? Look at his policy views and what he has accomplished. That's what matters.
5. He has no name recognition. It's 2014. It's too early to care. I am not worried about polling until fall of 2015 and even then only really care about the early primary/caucus state polling. We saw how fast polls can change from 2006 to 2008.
Any thoughts on Martin O'Malley as our Democratic nominee in 2016 even though it is way too early for this conversation?