Martin O'Malley has been the Mayor of Baltimore and the Governor of Maryland, a career trajectory that made him the inspiration for a character on The Wire. But the thing about Martin O'Malley is that while everyone claims to have watched The Wire, no one knows who the f*ck Martin O'Malley is.
This will presumably be a hurdle for O'Malley when he officially launches his presidential campaign this weekend.
We’re getting the distinct impression that Martin O’Malley will indeed confirm Saturday that he is running for president.
A day before his announcement at Baltimore’s Federal Hill Park, the O’Malley campaign released a video Friday of the former Maryland governor tuning up his guitar.
He then strums the opening notes of a familiar song: “Hail to the Chief.”
“Stay tuned,” the video said.
Well, now we know one thing; Martin O'Malley is a tease!
But despite the fact that O'Malley's announcement will make it only three candidates in the democratic field (a rough ratio of 1/1,000 to the republican primary so far) he's going to have to do a lot more to separate and define himself.
To be fair, he won't need to work to hard to distance himself from everyone's favorite Brooklyn-born socialist Vermonter, Bernie Sanders, but he will have to start yapping about why he's an alternative to the presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.
You see, O'Malley has a lot in common with the Clinton camp. In fact, O'Malley's very reminiscent of Hillary's first husband Bill when he ran in 1992. He's a governor of a smaller state, he's youthful, he's centrist and he's got that retail political charm. O'Malley and the Clintons are so similar that Bill has gone so far as to profess his love for the younger version of himself.
O'Malley's once proud record in Baltimore (Hillary has never had an executive political role) is now a political minefield, and his stance on everything from marriage equality to immigration is lock-step with Hillary's
So really, how will O'Malley make sure that people know he exists, and that he's not just a Hillaryesque also-ran?
Simple; He'll attack Wall Street, which everyone knows is in the midst of a steamy affair with Hillary.
In fact, O'Malley's already started. Here's part of his March op-ed in The Des Moines Register:
Seven years after the Wall Street meltdown, Americans are still experiencing the fallout.
Although job creation rates and GDP — along with bank bonuses and corporate profits — are on the upswing, these statistics mask the lingering hardship of millions of families that traces back to Wall Street’s reckless behavior. One study found that the crash cost every American $120,000.
We were forced to save our economy by bailing out big banks. Now, we have a responsibility to correct the mistakes of our more recent past to prevent another crash.
To do that, we must acknowledge that — while it addressed inherent flaws in the financial system — the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act did not go far enough.
And here is what he said on MSNBC in April:
"I think that the SEC has been pretty feckless when it comes to reining in reckless behavior on Wall Street...We can’t expect Wall Street to police itself – that’s why we have a federal government.”
While that stance won't help with fundraising, it does make tactical sense for O'Malley since Hillary seems to be the Democratic tree off of which all Wall Street money will trickle down anyway. Once "Bernie 2016" turns into "Weekend with Bernie 2016," O'Malley can capture all that leftist anger towards the financial sector and build something of a coalition.
So, that's Martin O'Malley; a handsome, youthful guy who plays the guitar and likes to criticize Wall Street... unless he gets the nomination, in which case that stance will almost certainly soften as his war chest grows.