Hardly a week goes by without another Republican announcing that he wants to become the next president of the superpower USA. Eight have already officially declared, and another seven, Jeb Bush among them, are getting ready to throw their hats into the ring. TV networks are already complaining that it’s becoming a circus and that so many debates will be too much for voters. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, it looks like a one-man show. Or more accurately, a one-woman show. With the exception of the eccentric Bernie Sanders, the 73-year-old self-declared socialist, no liberal has shown the courage to oppose Democratic Party queen Hillary Clinton, 67.
Who could possibly defeat the all-powerful former first lady, senator and secretary of state who also has one of the most popular presidents of all time in her corner? Now, someone has appeared who is venturing an answer to that question: Martin O’Malley, former mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland, family man and rock band member who sings and plays the guitar.
Why could he be dangerous for Hillary Clinton?
Because he is reminiscent of the only 20th century president more popular than even Bill Clinton: John F. Kennedy. Both have Irish roots and come from Catholic families.
O’Malley is 15 years younger than Hillary Clinton, dynamic and, above all, telegenic. TV cameras love him. He has four children, an attractive wife and doesn’t have the disadvantage of coming from a political dynasty or of being intimate with Wall Street.
But above all, like John Kennedy before him, he’s an unknown underdog ready to do battle with the establishment. O’Malley has already revealed himself as ready to go into attack mode with the announcement of his candidacy in Baltimore, where he made mention of Hillary’s age, her wealth and the fact that she had long since lost contact with ordinary people.
O’Malley noted, “This is not how our country is supposed to work! This is not the American Dream! And it does not have to be this way! This generation still has time to become great. We have saved the world before and we must save our country now – and we will do that by rebuilding the American Dream!”
O’Malley then took aim at the favorite target of the middle class: banks. Referring to the near financial collapse of 2008 he said, “Tell me how it is that not a single Wall Street CEO was convicted of a crime related to the 2008 economic meltdown. Not. A. Single. One.
Tell me how it is, that you can get pulled over for a broken tail light in our country, but if you wreck the nation’s economy you are untouchable.”
He didn’t hesitate to say that Hillary Clinton and her $2 billion charity foundation got their funding from big corporations and banks, grouping them with Wall Street and probable Republican candidate Jeb Bush. “Recently, the CEO of Goldman Sachs let his employees know that he’d be just fine with either Bush or Clinton. I bet he would.” O’Malley said. He then added, “Well, I’ve got news for the bullies of Wall Street — the presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families. It is a sacred trust to be earned from the people of the United States, and exercised on behalf of the people of the United States.”
Many of his supporters believe O’Malley can fill the political vacuum in the Democratic Party. Former presidential candidate Gary Hart, who lost to Ronald Reagan in 1984, plans to support O’Malley’s presidential run: “I’m obliged to (support his candidacy), if nothing else, because he supported me,” Hart said in an interview, adding that “it would be helpful to have generational change.”
In fact, O’Malley, like John F. Kennedy in 1960, does stand for progressive ideas. His positions:
Same-sex marriage: As Maryland governor, he was a supporter at a time when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had not yet declared any support as they tried to gauge the prevailing winds. The former secretary of state — currently in favor of same-sex marriage — first said the matter should be left up to individual states. O’Malley, on the other hand said, “The right to marry is not a state right, it is a human right.”
The environment: O’Malley is a “green” who believes climate change is man-made and is fundamentally altering the earth; he opposes the Keystone XL pipeline that will deliver oil from Canada to the United States.
Foreign policy: He opposed the invasion of Iraq that Hillary Clinton voted for, but is decidedly against a nuclear deal with Iran. He supports a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, but supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks. He also supports the re-establishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba.
Immigration: He rejects the deportation of children who came to the United States illegally. As governor of Maryland, he permitted illegal aliens to apply for a driver’s license because the license is used as a principal form of identification in the United States. During her campaign in 2008, Hillary Clinton came out against it, thereby angering many Latinos.
Economy: O’Malley is considered an opponent of income inequality which is expected to be a major theme of his 2016 campaign. And he is an implacable foe of Wall Street, calling for the breakup of large banks. He also wants to re-establish the law separating commercial banking from investment banking, thus changing Bill Clinton’s law permitting the practice. He also wants to create more social benefits which he intends to finance by taxing incomes in excess of $120,000 annually.
In plain English, Martin O’Malley wants to attract young people and minority voters the same way John F. Kennedy did. And he hopes, as JFK did, to do so via television debates that are increasingly important in U.S. elections.
Hillary Clinton has gotten fair warning. She lost in 2008 to an underdog newcomer and surveys are showing that many Americans want new blood this time from which to choose — and a sizable percentage of voters don’t trust her.
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