Yo, Hillary. Hey, Jeb. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has a message for you.
Speaking on ABC’s This Week, O’Malley reminded us all of some fundamental truths about America that the Crown Prince and Princess appear to ignore:
“I think that our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives,” he said. “Let’s be honest here, the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust.
The former governor, who often trails Clinton by 50 percentage points or more in early-state polls, could end up being Clinton’s only challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is also weighing a race, and Vice President Joe Biden has yet to rule it out.
“We need a president who is ready to take on powerful and wealthy special interests,” O’Malley said.
Asked if Clinton was the right candidate to take on those special interests, O’Malley said: “I don’t know. I don’t know where she stands. Will she represent a break with the failed policies of the past? I don’t know.”
O’Malley, who endorsed Clinton over President Barack Obama in 2008, had shunned questions about Clinton since he left office early this year. But he has lately stepped up his attacks on Wall Street, potentially attempting to woo supporters of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and highlighting an area where Clinton is weak with progressives.
“Right now, it’s not even a fair fight. It’s as if Wall Street owns one party and is trying to totally intimidate the other,” O’Malley said. “We need to stand up and put the national interest first.”
O’Malley also touted Maryland’s high income levels and claimed the state had created jobs at a faster rate than Virginia or Pennsylvania.
The “greatest dangers” faced by the United States, he said, are a nuclear Iran and related extremist violence — “I don’t think you can separate the two,” he explained — along with climate change.
In truth, the situation we find ourselves in with Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush is unprecedented. While we’ve always had powerful political families in America — Adams, Roosevelt, Byrd, Kennedy — we’ve never had two families facing off in the same presidential election.
Even the possibility of that happening should give us all pause. Americans who fought in the Revolution would be appalled at the prospect of a son and brother of former presidents becoming president. The voters threw out John Adams after only one term partly because of Thomas Jefferson successfully smeared him as a monarchist and accused him of wanting to award hereditary titles.
Here we are 215 years later and while the monarchist label might not fit either Hillary or Jeb, “keeping it in the family” is not the republican way. In fact, it makes us look like a banana republic. Polls show that the voters want someone with experience but that they don’t want a replay of the past. And while both candidates top the polls in their respective parties, that is liable to change as voters are reminded of where these candidates came from.