Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2016: O'Malley versus Brown

One of the things I like doing is predicting who will run for president down the line. I finally came up with a match I'd like to see...in 2016. I even mentioned it on someone's Facebook page, to their surprise, because we don't even know who plans to run in 2012. I think 2012 is pretty much a lost cause for Republicans, though conservatives seem to be thinking that Obama is destined to be a one term president like Jimmy Carter. I know that they like to think that, but the circumstances are much different. For one thing, Ronald Reagan had challenged President Gerald Ford for the 1976 Republican nomination. He was a darling of the right who found greater support in 1980. A lot of his success was tied up in the hostage crisis, which some books had later revealed that he had made secret deals to trade weapons for hostages if the Iranians would hold on to the hostages until President Carter was out of office. I consider that to be a treasonable offense, but what can we do? It happened, and neither Reagan nor Papa Bush paid for their crime.

For 2012, the Republican Party is in pathetic shape. Its a party without a leader. In 1980, the Republicans had Reagan, Bush, and Dole all vying for the presidency, and they all got to run for president. Republicans were a different breed back then. Both Reagan and Bush knew to keep "the crazies" locked in the basement. Who did they consider "the crazies"? Why...none other than the neo-conservatives, which Baby Bush allowed free reign during his administration, to disasterous results. Because of the complete disaster of the second Bush regime, the Republican Party is fractured and unable or unwilling to unite behind a candidate.

A recent straw poll of conservatives revealed that Texas Congressman Ron Paul won by more than 30%. Mitt Romney, who won the straw poll last year, was second with 22%. Palin was third, with 7%. Its interesting to look at the numbers, because last year, Palin finished second in the same straw poll of candidates that conservatives wanted to see as president in 2012. Last year, she received 11% and after another year of her craziness on display, her support dropped! Granted, a straw poll is essentially meaningless. What we can take away from it is the knowledge that conservatives are desperate for a leader and the only one they seem to be rallying behind is Ron Paul, who's the Dennis Kucinich of the Republican Party. Both Paul and Kucinich attracted the same 1 or 2 % of the vote in their respective party's primaries. Both tend to be "purists" whose appeal lies mainly in the most extreme elements of each party. There was even talk of a Ron Paul / Dennis Kucinich third party ticket. The irony is that I actually liked Ron Paul a lot better than Dennis Kucinich. Some of their view points overlap, but I find Kucinich to be a phony piece of shit. To be fair, my impression of him was sealed when he yelled at me while I was an intern in Gore's office simply because I did not know who he was when he called on the phone.

I personally think that President Obama doesn't have much to worry about in 2012...other than the economy and jobs. That should be his main focus for the next two years. However, the Republicans have a long line of unappealing candidates. Seriously, who could mount a respectable bid? Every single one has major liabilities that underwhelms a core constituency. Mitt Romney is the likely nominee, but his Mormon religion and previous moderate record as governor of the liberal state of Massachusetts has turned off evangelicals, who don't trust him. Newt Gingrich has an unlikeable personality, a hypocritical and adulterous past, and he changed his religion to Catholicism. Charlie Crist has all those gay rumours floating about. Jeb Bush has his brother to thank for wrecking the family name. Bobby Jindal is probably too ethnic for a predominately white party. Mark Sanford killed his chances by leaving his wife for an Argentine lover. John Ensign gave up his political ambitions for an affair with his staffer's wife. Rick Santorum has an embarrassing "Google-search" problem with his last name (thanks to sex columnist Dan Savage, who turned the former senator's last name into a dirty definition). Mike Huckabee is not liked by the faction that controls the money in the Republican Party.

Seriously...who can the Republicans run that spells a winner? I know that some die hards still think Palin has a chance, but she truly is damaged goods. There are many of the moneyed elite within the GOP that will do her campaign in, because she's an unpredictable and dangerous person that no one in their right minds would trust with the nuclear code. The fact that she quit without offering a good reason her elected governor's position mid-way through the first term is an automatic deal-breaker. Her cult followers can't see how that disqualifies her...but it doesn't work in the real world. Have you heard of a person who quit a job after a couple of years and then expect to become the CEO a few years after quitting? Didn't think so.

If that's not enough to convince you that Palin's chances are less than a snowball's chance in hell, then consider history. The Vice Presidential candidate on a losing ticket almost never wins the party's nomination the next time. And on the rare occasion that they do (Mondale in 1984; Dole in 1996), they go down in defeat. Take a look: 2004 -- John Edwards; 2000 -- Joseph Lieberman; 1996 -- Jack Kemp; 1992 -- Dan Quayle; 1988 -- Lloyd Bentsen; 1984 -- Geraldine Ferarro; 1980 -- Walter Mondale; 1976 -- Bob Dole; 1972 -- first Thomas Eagleton, then Sargent Shriver. Catch my drift? Not a single president among that losing bunch. And Palinistas think their beloved Quitter Queen has the wherewithal to defy history?

So, forget Palin. Even Glenn Beck dismissed her in one of my favourite dismissals of Palin. After being told that Palin thought he might make a good Vice President to her President, Beck showed his true sexist attitudes by laughing it off and saying: "Why is that woman still talking? I'm not in the kitchen!" He made it quite clear that such a ticket would be reversed, as he would never play second fiddle to a woman. I think that attitude is common among most Republican men. Palin was nothing more than a flesh and blood Viagra pill. The idea that she would be entrusted with any kind of power is ridiculous. Republicans may be incompetent, but they ain't stupid.

With all those options out for 2012, that leaves only the latest sensation, Senator Scott Brown. However, it does not make logical sense for him to run for another political office one year after winning the late Senator Ted Kennedy's seat in Congress. Besides, he has to run for reelection to the Senate seat in 2012, anyway. I believe that Scott Brown is definitely being groomed to become the next Republican president and 2016 is the best year to run. The GOP will most likely do what they did in 1996, when Bob Dole was finally given his chance to run for president, with most knowing that he would not win. Who will be the sacrificial lamb in 2012? It very well could be Sarah Palin, just to shut up her base when she goes down to a disasterous defeat like Barry Goldwater in 1964.

Pictured above (and at the top) is Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland, who I am predicting will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016. I make this prediction with the belief that Hillary Clinton, at 68, will either not run or not be the nominee. I know that many feminists will probably hate seeing yet another delay for a viable female candidate to become president, but I simply don't see any truly impressive female Democratic politicians out there yet (besides Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, or Dianne Feinstein, who are all approaching retirement age).

Our presidents usually come from four places: Governor, Senator, General, or Vice President. The preference seems to be on governors, for obvious reasons. They are the executives of their respective states, so its a promotion from a smaller scale position into a larger one. When looking at potential future candidates for the presidency, it is important to look at who all the governors are.

I first saw Martin O'Malley on The News Hour on PBS a few weeks ago. He was interviewed about the snow emergency that hit the Mid-Atlantic. There was something about him that conveyed authority, charisma, and expertise. Yes, he did look presidential, as well. So, I was curious and did a Google search on him and was impressed by what I found. He was elected Mayor of Baltimore in 1999 and served until he won the Governor's race in 2006. He is credited with helping to turn Baltimore around. He married a lady from a politically connected family. He appeared as a cameo in the film Ladder 49, which was set in Baltimore. He's also Irish-Catholic who performs in his own rock band. How cool is that?

I thought it was quite telling when former Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (RFK's eldest daughter) could not win the 2002 Governor's race in heavily Catholic and heavily Democratic Maryland. Well, it took another Irish-Catholic to win that office. Reading his Wikipedia entry as well as some articles on line only convinces me that he is a likely presidential candidate in the near future. His terms as Mayor and Governor are the kind of experience that might do well for the presidency. But unlike Palin's experience, Baltimore is a large city compared to the hamlet of Wasilla, and he shows no sign of quitting his governor's office. No one serious about wanting to be president would even think of quitting his elected office mid-term.

He is on a recent cover of Governing magazine, which features the most notable public officials of 2009. Esquire and Time magazines have also featured him during his tenure as mayor of Baltimore as an up-and-coming politician to watch. Dang...I knew I shouldn't have moved away from the D.C. area in 2000. At the time, I had thought of working on Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's planned run for Governor in 2002. Who knows where that might have led? I also like Virginia's Senator James Webb, who won in 2006. So many interesting politicians in that part of the country.

If there is any potential drawback, O'Malley has been subject to Internet rumours about infidelity, which both he and his wife have denied and the culprit for the rumours appears to have originated with a staff member of the previous governor, a Republican. It seems like this has become the norm, though. A telegenic and charismatic politician is probably going to have infidelity rumours, because the reality is that there are women out there who are drawn to the power and prestige of a politician. Political groupies, if you will. Hopefully, these rumours are nothing more than some Republican guy's jealousy.

Martin O'Malley as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016 would give Republican Senator Scott Brown a serious run for his money. Brown, himself, would likely face similar inquiries and investigations into his fidelity to his wife. Apparently, Glenn Beck doesn't trust him and thinks there might be bimbos hiding in his closet somewhere. When I heard that, I was shocked, but it sounded to me like Beck might have been jealous. I don't think its any newsflash to make the observation that people prefer a president who doesn't look like Nixon or Kissinger. We're in an age of 24/7 visual images and have to see the president on our TV and computer screens for four to eight years. Its wrong to vote based on a candidate's appearance, because that's pretty shallow, but I believe that Americans want someone with the complete package of experience, compelling narrative, telegenic family, charisma, and matinee idol looks. In fact, I surmised in 2008 that while Governor Bill Richardson had the best resume of any candidate running for president, he lacked the face Americans wanted to see every day. Had he looked like George Clooney, we would be calling Richardson our President today. That's just the way life is in the television era. Its a big reason why Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960. In the televised debate, Nixon had a 5 o'clock shadow and just looked like a crook while Kennedy shined like a movie star.

It will be interesting to see if there is any substance to Scott Brown, or if he intends to be an obstructionist for his whole time in the Senate as he undergoes the "presidential grooming process." Watch...it won't be long before he's proclaimed as "the next Ronald Reagan." Whether that comparison is true or not, just saying it seems to win the approval of conservatives as they search for the next saviour of their party to bring America back to the innocence of "morning in America."

While some might think I'm making this prediction way too early, I feel comfortable in predicting that 2016 will see a titanic battle between the two telegenic men who want to be president: Senator Scott Brown for the Republicans versus Governor Martin O'Malley for the Democrats. May the best man win. (Psst...Governor O'Malley...if you're looking for a loyal political aide, pick me! I'd love to help you win the nomination and the presidency. My heritage is Irish and I'm supposedly related to Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, who signed the Declaration of Independence. I would make an excellent and loyal aide who will definitely keep the political groupies at a safe distance away from you!).

1 comment:

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Lots to speculate about here. Great research. Thanks for posting!