Monday, September 12, 2011

Obama VP Swap: O'Malley for Biden in 2012 // Plus, O'Malley's Maryland Socialism

Tea Leaves at
UPDATE: An anonymous O'Malley aide, while denying any knowledge of Obama's plans, surprised Maryland Juice with the following comment: "People who work for the Governor actually take all options seriously. This was brought up at a small staff meeting a few weeks back." On second thought, Biden does seem to be unusually de-emphasized in Obama's merchandise store right now. And on 9/15, yet another update for those who enjoy finding meaning in little details: a reader reports that Gov. O'Malley has been tapped to defend Obama's Jobs Act in a White House press call right now: 
"THE WHITE HOUSE - Office of the Press Secretary: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to Hold Conference Call on the Impact of the American Jobs Act."
A few weeks ago, Maryland Juice thought it would be fun to start flagging bits of evidence that may show Governor Martin O'Malley trying to position himself for the 2016 Presidential race. Unexpectedly, we kept noticing mentions of Mr. O'Malley for Vice President.... in 2012

Today's Baltimore Sun, for example, included the following letter:
President Obama rarely allows a photo opportunity to pass without using it to make some political point. So one has to wonder what significance to attach to the prominent place in the House of Representatives gallery Gov. Martin O'Malley was given, seated near the First Lady, during the president's speech to the joint session of Congress Thursday.

Could it be that Mr. O'Malley is being considered as a possible Democratic vice presidential choice after the current inept incumbent is dropped from the ticket?....
Maryland Juice decided to launch an investigation into this rumor. But first, here is a screencap of Gov. O'Malley sitting near First Lady Michelle Obama last week. Does this look suspicious to you?

Damn that cunning O'Malley! Look at the ambitious manner in which he claps his hands.

Anatomy of a Rumor

As far as we can tell, this story really grew out of rumors that President Obama might replace Vice President Joe Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (presumably to boost his own 2012 re-election chances). As some of the stories continue, Obama would then steal from the Freaky Friday playbook and plant Mr. Biden in the Secretary of State's role. This thought experiment was prompted by op-eds from former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder and Newsweek's Sally Quinn. Notably, both pieces were written in the run-up to the Democrats' disastrous 2010 mid-term elections for Congress.

Even still, these op-eds started the rumor-mills churning, and before you knew it, we had spin-off pieces like this one:
...say that Biden is not on the ticket in 2012—does Obama have any options besides Hillary? Perhaps.

The Future Contenders – Those already running for 2016

Martin O’Malley – The Maryland governor is actually headed toward a tough re-election battle, but he has girded his loins to not be the Tom Suozzi of 2010 (google it, folks). He’s got a blue-collar Biden-esque touch and has had a successful stint in hard times. And he totally Bruces it up as the frontman/guitarist of an Irish rock band, often without sleeves.
2010 was not a tough a re-election for Governor O'Malley, as he earned a robust 56% of the vote, while Ehrlich pulled in 14 points lower with only 42%. (Disclosure: I was the Democrats' MoCo GOTV Director in the General Election). Armed with a strong re-election record, party control of all branches of Maryland's government, the Democratic Governors Association pedestal, and one of the healthier state economies during the recession -- O'Malley is capitalizing on his momentum, as any methodical politician would. His name circulates on most 2016 presidential candidate lists, along with Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

It seems that conservatives may be engaging in wishful thinking as they hope for an early departure for Governor O'Malley. I think these rumors are desperation coming from Republicans tired of losing in Maryland. Maybe they need to tone down their extremism and learn how to spend less/save more. Instead, they are writing quarterly pieces about this conspiracy. We started this post with the September 12 letter in the Baltimore Sun, but here are a few more:

After highlighting "President Obama's push to encumber the entire population in legal complexity controlled by the federal government," Examiner columnist Mark Davis gave this backhanded praise to Governor O'Malley in July 2011:
Biden's conduct has pulled him down even further. Musings from the media indicate a change in the secondary position may be inevitable to revive Obama's 2012 bid. 
Someone who celebrates Obama's policies yet does not outshine him is right around the corner. Martin O'Malley, Maryland's governor, is grooming himself to move to larger quarters. Within months  campaigning for 2012 will move from silent mode to personal attacks, O'Malley may be just the man Obama needs to run pass interference. As governor he knows how to raise taxes and mismanage government similar to his federal counterpart.
Then there's this one from March 2011:

The most illuminating of the O'Malley for Vice President writings came from (another rightwing letter) in July of this summer. I include portions below, but the piece concludes with the following statement: "Undermining the economy? I think Governor O'Malley is lining up for Vice President Joe Biden's spot on the 2012 ticket." The letter was titled, "Governor O'Malley: a singing socialist" and includes the following examples from O'Malley's communist policy apparatus:
  • Attempting to require costly new sewer systems for rural subdivisions of five or more lots instead of legal and proper septic systems now mandated by state law.
  • Tree-planting regulations for any developer of waterfront properties requiring trees be planted directly in front of the newly constructed home, thereby eliminating what the homeowner wants, a water view.
  • Seeking to hike the Bay Bridge tolls 100 percent or 200 percent to fund other worthwhile projects while neglecting an already rusting facility.
  • A 200- foot buffer setback requirement for new waterfront homes, legally taking an additional 100 feet away from the owner's use, but still allowing the counties to collect tax on the unused area.
      Indeed, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, and Marx -- or whoever they want to invoke -- are obviously dancing in heaven with glee at O'Malley's septic and setback policies. These writers (and the Maryland GOP), however, may need a reminder that conservatives are the "biggest 'welfare queens' ever."

      Conclusion: No real evidence of O'Malley as Obama's 2012 runningmate. Lots of evidence of rightwing wishful thinking. (But if I'm wrong -- a message to the Governor's folks: Take me with you!).

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