Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Why Is Marty O'Malley Running?

Marty O'Malley is trying to run as the liberal alternative to Clinton.  But with Bernie Sanders in the race, where is the oxygen for him?  He has a decent reputation as a left of center technocrat.  He doesn't exactly have an abundance of charisma either.

And then there is Baltimore.

O'Malley is probably best known as being the inspiration for a character on The Wire. And that character was part of the data driven policing that The Wire exposes as being a fraud.  Add on to that Freddie Gray's death and the turmoil over police tactics and it's tough to see where he can stand apart from Hillary.  If Clinton is vulnerable, it is because of the basic legacy of the Clinton '90s.

In the '90s, the Clintons had to tack right because that's where the country was.  But that makes her complicit in some of the failures that the left sees in the Clinton Legacy: welfare reform, too cozy with Wall Street, too hawkish, triangulation.

Right now, economic populism is a popular stance with the "Warren Left," and everyone is clamoring for that.  But Clinton is staking out that territory and Sanders lives there.  O'Malley can't run to Clinton's left on race, and Sanders equates race with economics.

The only real space on Clinton's left is foreign policy and I'm not sure that will be as decisive as it was in 2008.

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