I like Gov. Martin O'Malley -- or at least, I did -- until I read recently that he's hanging out with hedge funders and the school "reform" crowd now. And as much as I like his policies, I have to point out that his stint as Baltimore's mayor hasn't really changed the city's deep poverty and crime. Still, he's an RFK-esque liberal with good ideas, he tries to fix things and I hope he runs:
DES MOINES, Iowa – The visit had all the trappings of a full-fledged presidential campaign: a speech at the state Democratic convention, a pep talk to door-knocking volunteers, breakfast with labor leaders, appearances alongside the party’s candidate for governor.
The only thing absent was a formal announcement by Martin O’Malley that he was, in fact, seeking the White House in 2016. But unlike a certain other much-chronicled, vastly better-known prospect, Maryland’s two-term governor makes it no secret that, if not officially running for president, he is at least actively striding in that direction.
Fellow Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton says she hasn’t decided whether to run, and neither, O’Malley says, has he. In the meantime, he is running one of the most vigorous noncampaign campaigns of any 2016 possibility in either party — raising money, stumping in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, traveling abroad to boost his foreign policy credentials and honing a message that might be characterized, for brevity’s sake, as compassionate competence.
“People want problem-solvers,” O’Malley, a former Baltimore mayor, said in a late-night interview after the first of two well-received speeches to Democratic activists in Des Moines. “They want leaders that will bring people together to solve problems, not people that will take their ideology and try to beat round pegs into square holes.”
Noted for his data-driven approach to policy, starting when he used computer analysis to chart citizen complaints and fuel millions of dollars of new efficiencies in city government, O’Malley is a devout Roman Catholic grounded in the Jesuit emphasis on social justice. His religious faith, he suggests, informs his secular beliefs.
“The numbers aren’t abstractions,” he said of his reverence for statistics. “The numbers are very real human beings and individual stories.”