Not since the late Richard M. Nixon selected the late Spiro T. Agnew to be his vice-presidential running mate in 1968 have Marylanders seen one of their governors on the biggest national stage. Martin O’Malley might have left office in January with falling popularity numbers, and you might be hard-pressed to find a Maryland Democrat who plans to vote for him in next spring’s presidential primary, but there he was Tuesday night on CNN, standing between Hillary Clinton and Lincoln Chafee.
It still takes some getting used to, seeing the former Baltimore mayor and city councilman chasing the presidential nomination. In a way, it’s like watching the neighborhood boy grow up to become a major league pitcher -- except in O’Malley’s case, he’s still battling in the minors for a shot at the show. Tuesday night he had his big chance, and the result was a move to Triple-A from Double-A, but that's about it. Clinton was the debate's big winner.
It’s not so much what he says. O’Malley has smart, progressive positions -- albeit many of them of relatively recent vintage -- on an array of issues that should make him appealing to the Democratic Party’s left. He has a list of accomplishments as governor that should make him appealing to center Democrats and to independent voters, and maybe even to the country’s few remaining moderate Republicans turned off by the Trump-Carson-Tea Party troika.
Here are some quotes from former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley during the first Democratic debate.
By Staff reports
Oct 14, 2015 | 6:57 AM
Of course, we know this guy too well and, by now, he suffers from that familiarity-breeds-contempt thing in Maryland. The usual suspects despise O’Malley -- the gun-rights zealots and those who think you can maintain a great public school system, relatively stable college tuition, good roads and bridges without raising taxes in the wealthiest state in the country. Others might have turned off when it seemed clear O’Malley was running for president and making decisions that would position him for a run for the White House. Some people are longtime friends and supporters; they don’t understand why any thinking Democrat would have a problem with O’Malley’s generally moderate, thoughtful and honest approach to public service. Whatever it is -- hate him, love him, or just find him kind of blah -- we know O’Malley too well.
So I Tweeted a question Tuesday night while the debate was in progress, asking non-Marylanders what they thought of the guy. Here are some responses: