Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Political JuiceBlender: O'Malley White House Update, Pundit Analysis of CD6 Democratic Battle, Blaine Young for Governor

Here's a random blend of political tidbits, starting with an update on Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's status in the 2016 White House field.

JUICE #1 // O'MALLEY WHITE HOUSE UPDATE: The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has created a 2016 Presidential "bracket" and has named Gov. O'Malley the #2 seed in the race, one step behind New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (who Maryland Juice thinks is generally a douche). Unfortunately, the match-ups are a little uneven, as Gov. O'Malley is paired off against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the first round. NY Gov. Cuomo, on the other hand, is paired off against the Montana Governor. Cillizza writes the following about his White House bracket effort:
CHRIS CILLIZZA: In our bracket we have seeded the top eight Democrats and top eight Republicans considered — by us — to be their party’s leading presidential candidates in 2016....
Here’s how the Sweet 2016 will work. Check out our bracket. Then vote in our first round matchups. Voting is open through Wednesday at 7 pm. We’ll tabulate the winners and then move on to the Elite Eight on Thursday. After narrowing the field to a Final Four on Monday, we’ll pick a winner on April 2, the day of the national championship game.

: There is no doubt that there are several reasons Governor O'Malley is constantly mentioned as a top 2016 Presidential contender. First, he has the natural advantage of representing the Washington media market -- which leads to unnaturally amplified and leveraged national political coverage, by virtue of a shared media market with the Congressional beat. Moreover, O'Malley has smartly chosen a number of tipping point issues to work on that are either priorities of the national party base or national Democratic leaders (ie: marriage equality, Dream Act and millionaires tax issues). His profile has also been elevated by strong back-to-back electoral performances in 2006 and 2010 and his leadership at the helm of the Democratic Governors Association. O'Malley's attendance at last week's White House "State Dinner" with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron did not go unnoticed by those of us at home. Politico reports that not too many politicians were invited to the exclusive event, but Gov. O'Malley was there alongside George Clooney and the band Mumford and Sons.

JUICE #2 // MORE PUNDIT ANALYSIS OF CD6 DEM RACEJosh Kurtz from the Center Maryland website has a scorching column today that condemns the leading candidates in the 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary. While blasting Rob Garagiola and John Delaney, Kurtz draws attention to the candidacy of military doctor Milad Pooran:
JOSH KURTZ: ...what does it say about our political system that the two leading Democratic contenders are the ultimate Annapolis insider, who has bent state fundraising rules and had the seat handed to him on a silver platter — and may still fumble the opportunity — and a very wealthy guy who is trying to buy the seat, and political credibility, aided by a Washington Post editorial board that’s on one of its unfathomable crusades?

And what does it say that both men — at the advice of their high-priced advisers — see their path to victory as a race to the bottom....

Garagiola had a legitimate claim on this Congressional seat, once the lines were drawn the way they were. But he’s made a pact with the devil — really, several devils — as he’s waged his campaign.

The first devil, of course, was Senate President Mike Miller, who was loudest among party leaders in insisting that the new 6th district be drawn just so — with Garagiola’s home in it, and other prominent Democrats out. Garagiola has considerable political talents of his own, but it only reinforced the notion, unfair but unavoidable, that he owes his entire political rise to Miller and Miller alone. Now Garagiola has the chutzpah to say he’d favor national redistricting reform....

This is clearly a case of Garagiola having to sleep in the bed that he’s made for himself. Worse, from a purely tactical perspective, he has teed up his candidacy for an unending series of attacks from the Washington Post editorial writers, who hate Mike Miller and Annapolis lobbyists almost as much as they hate unions — who, by the way, have also gotten behind Garagiola’s candidacy.

Which brings us to the Post’s favored candidate, Delaney. He seems like a good guy, and money shouldn’t be a disqualifier when considering a candidate’s merits. But haven’t we seen this movie too many times before?

Who the hell is John Delaney? Would we be giving his candidacy a moment’s thought if he didn’t have the ability to open his wallet to build a campaign apparatus? Would he have snared President Clinton’s endorsement if he hadn’t raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hillary Clinton’s White House bid? Would the Post editorial writers even be returning his phone calls if they didn’t see his candidacy as a vehicle to knock the unions down a peg or two? And what about that contribution to Andy Harris, anyway?

Which brings us last, but not least, to Milad Pooran, a man with an interesting story to tell and solid progressive ideals. His family emigrated to the U.S. from Iran when he was 6 years old. “I’ve walked the long path to citizenship,” he says.

He’s a military doctor who has seen the horrors of war – and poverty – up close. He supports achieving universal health care coverage in this country and does not rule out the possibility of pushing for a single payer system. He’s been endorsed by Howard Dean and the co-chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

GOOD ONE MIKE MILLER - Maryland Juice continues to blame Senate President Mike Miller for artificially limiting the viable options in the 6th Congressional District. Way to go! Score one for democracy by the Democratic Party leader in the Senate. I'm not even talking about redistricting -- I'm talking about him using fear to squelch potential candidacies. You know, because he's so "good" at being a Party Boss. HaHaHa. Uh, will somebody show this guy the door already? Anyways, back to Kurtz' tirade. I'm not surprised at all that pundits and voters both should be disappointed in the way the CD6 race is developing. This doesn't look like a grand debate about the future of the Democratic Party or its issues in CD6, does it? Speaking of old news, did you catch Josh Kurtz's article noting that Delaney endorser Doug Duncan is thinking about running for Montgomery County Executive in 2014? Rolling my eyes.

JUICE #3 // FREDERICK NEWSPAPER DISSES BLAINE YOUNG FOR GOV: A few days ago, Maryland Juice flagged news coverage indicating that Frederick County politician and Tea Party leader Blaine Young had announced an exploratory effort for Governor. Thankfully, The Frederick News-Post does not rate his chances well. Also thankfully, Mr. Young has promised to serve only one term on the Board of County Commissioners. Maybe we'll be rid of him for good!
FREDERICK NEWS-POST: Frankly, it's hard to imagine how Maryland's electoral math could turn his way. Not even former Gov. Bob Ehrlich could pull off a second term, and he was, for all intents and purposes, a moderate. We'll be interested to see if this goes beyond the exploratory stage. To be honest, we doubt it.

Young, despite having once been a Democrat then flipping parties after he decided not to run again for Frederick city alderman, is about as conservative a conservative as Frederick County has to offer.

On the plus side, now is as good a time as any for a Republican to float a potential run, however....
And Young certainly is prominent, if controversial. He and his fellow commissioners gathered statewide recognition with their most recent vote to make English the official language of Frederick County government....

But it's the negative side of the ledger that Young will have most trouble with. It's unlikely the public persona -- Frederick's youngest good ol' boy -- will resonate in Montgomery, Prince George's and Baltimore counties. No Republican will be elected in Maryland without siphoning off Democratic voters in those areas.

The harsh spotlight of a run for public office can be a terrifying thing. It shows up flaws and failures in stunning high definition. No doubt the issue of the Frederick madam's Black Book -- and Young's listing in it -- will be floated and floated again in grainy black and white with ominous music and a gravelly voiceover attacking Young's credibility for office.

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