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O'Malley: Dems Should Be Mindful Of The Center

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley advises national Democrats not to take the political center for granted during this presidential cycle in a piece appearing today on The Washington Post op-ed page.

"George W. Bush is handing us Democrats our Hoover moment. Independents, swing voters and even some Republicans who haven't voted our way in more than a decade are willing to hear us out," O'Malley writes in a piece co-authored with Harold Ford Jr, chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. "With an ambitious common-sense agenda, the progressive center has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win back the White House, expand its margins in Congress and build a political and governing majority that could last a generation."

The op-ed is just the latest exposure to national political elites that O'Malley has received through his connections to the DLC, a centrist group that helped propel Bill Clinton to the presidency in 1992.

The DLC took notice of O'Malley's "zero tolerance" policing policies shortly after he was elected mayor of Baltimore in 1999, featuring him and his work in programs and publications. Shortly after becoming governor this year, O'Malley was tapped by the DLC to introduce Ford, its new chairman, at a Washington event.

And last month O'Malley appeared at a national conference hosted by the DLC in Nashville, where he delivered an address on homeland security, a niche issue for him nationally. O'Malley counseled Democrats "to become again the party of security."

In the piece penned with Ford appearing today, O'Malley cautions fellow party members: "As the caucuses and primaries approach, candidates will come under increasing pressure to ignore the broader electorate and appeal to the party faithful. But the opportunity to build a historic majority is too great -- and too rare -- to pass up."

By John Wagner  |  August 7, 2007; 11:27 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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I can't believe the taxpayers of Maryland tolerate supporting the op-ed rantings of the Governor. This is crazy.

Posted by: Robin Ficker II | August 7, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

What's so crazy about it? Did you read the whole piece? It seemed right on the money to me.

What specifically seemed ranting or crazy to you?

Posted by: JasonL | August 7, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley is such an idiot. It's the liberals who helped him win the election. The DLC didn't even support his bid for Governor. The only reason they called O'Malley is because other dems won't touch the DLC with a 10 foot pole. O'Malley has cheapened himself by allowing this sleazy group to exploite him.

Posted by: Joe | August 7, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

OK, folks...these ARE politicians. This was a simple op-ed CAN get a lot worse! As for O'Malley expressing his opinion, he has a right to it...everyone does in America. I'm sure his political advisers first checked the op-ed for possible political damage. Probably alienated no pro-Malley's, O'Malley-haters won't like anything he does anyway. Movin' on.

Posted by: Donny | August 7, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

People who supported O'Malley to win the election feel betrayed. Labor and minorities are furious. Frenchot is emerging fast as the alternative. Don't be worry; O'Malley will be one term Governor.

Posted by: Jason | August 7, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Post reporters, why don't you tell everyone O'Malley is currently vacationing in the Outer Banks while this story comes out. In fact, it is O'Malley's second out-of-state vacation this summer (upstate NY to fish earlier this summer...guess the Bay wasnt good enough). O'Malley has visited Ireland, Las Vegas, New York, Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina, and New Hampshire in slightly more than half a year in office. O'Malley is also recording a Christmas cd with his band. Gov. O'Malley has time to stump in NH for Hillary Clinton, write op-eds about national politics, speak to the DLC and DGA, but he doesn't have time to attend a 2nd BRAC meeting? Doesn't have time to solve MD's budget problems? And didn't the Post comment about "Bahama Bob" during Ehrlich's years? C'mon, give us some more juice for the Maryland Moment. This stuff is lame.

Posted by: CT | August 8, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

CT, the LG is is the lead guy on BRAC for the Governor, presumably because of his many years of military service. If the Governor isn't going to BRAC meetings I don't think that's so bad.

Let's see. What else do you have there? New York & Las Vegas were business (and Tennessee and Michigan probably were, too). The DGA and DLC things are opportunities for networking, learning, and teaching. That's a good thing.

So he went fishing in NY with his son. Big deal. I'd rather he was doing that than ignoring his children. Don't you feel the same way?

He's also urging the PSC to be more proactive, reducing the States energy usage to decrease demand, thereby increasing supply and reducing cost, not to mention making the government more efficient. If Bob Erlich had bothered to promote more green practices with State buildings our deficit would be lower and maybe energy costs wouldn't have increased so much.

I don't care how many trips he takes as long as he continues to take a progressive stance to make this state better.

Posted by: JasonL | August 8, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Excellent points, JasonL. The Governor of MD (Erlich, O'Malley, I don't care) is the person tax-payers elected to manage the state. If a governor cannot continue managing the state while travelling to other places, then I have to challenge their compitence. What does O'Malley's travel habits have to do with anything? MD tax-payers want to see results. If certain folks hate O'Malley, that is their right, but if you live in MD, you have a vested interest in a successful government regardless of party.

Posted by: Donny | August 8, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"If a governor cannot continue managing the state while travelling to other places, then I have to challenge their compitence." -Donny
It's not like the Governor is the only person who does anything in Annapolis. He doesn't have a staff of competent public servants for show. Even when the Governor is out of the state, it's not as though the various state agencies stop business and CT is naive (no offense intended, CT) to think otherwise.

"but if you live in MD, you have a vested interest in a successful government regardless of party." -Donny
Right, and I think he's doing a fine job of doing just that, and I don't think I'm the only one.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The first post above is from someone too ashamed of his own name to use it. It's not me. How does the Governor appeal to the center by raising taxes?

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin | August 8, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

My fault. The post you referred to was me. I guess I forgot to put my handle in there.

The Governor hasn't raised taxes yet. He's thus far resisted raising all the fee's and tuitions that Ehrlich raised because he was too much of a coward to make harder decisions.

Lets reserve judgement until we see what solutions the Governor uses to balance the budget (a Constitutional necessity).

Posted by: JasonL | August 8, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Good discussion today. I've projected this many times before when tax-increases are brought up. Government services are not free. No one wants to pay more taxes, but I believe most Marylanders would pay more taxes if it meant not degrading the quality of life they enjoy. Our superior system of roads, schools, police, and so much more are expensive luxuries that I (for one) would rather not do without. Virginia is going through a lot with proposed tax-increases and obtuse traffic violation fees because they have charged themselves into oblivion. By consistently putting off needed infrastructure projects, and failing to gather tax revenue to pay for current projects, VA has themselves in a real pickle. I think we'd all (Governor O'Malley included) like to avoid Maryland falling into a similar state of disrepair and fiscal dispair. I do not mind paying for freedom or community services that help us all prosper and strengthen the country.

Posted by: Donny | August 8, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

O.K. Donny. Why should the taxpayers pay "retirement" to somebody who has a second job and who is not yet 55 years of age. How would ending that practice eliminate services?

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | August 8, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that retirement money being paid for by city employees paying into the retirement system? If not totally then pretty darn close. That has nothing to do with your tax money.

You saw the "Doomsday budget," right? Something has to give here. Slots aren't my preferred solution but even if they are approved they won't solve the problem.

I think increasing the sales tax is a good idea. It will account for about half the deficit by itself and will target non-food spending. It will effect the poor least of all. I think a progressive income tax would also be wise so that the top 10% and 1% earners in the state are targeted specifically. The sales tax could have a 5-year sunset and with any luck, we'll have new solutions in place so that we can let the sales tax drop again.

Posted by: JasonL | August 8, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the deficit resulting from Erlich's FY2007 budget, I prefer leaving the sales tax alone, a slight gas tax increase, spending cuts only to massively expensive unjustified projects like the $3 billion ICC, and leaving all current retirement benefits intact. America's once strong pension system has been decimated "captains of industry" looking to increase the swelling ranks of American billionaires while hiding behind "right-sizing" and pushing jobs overseas. I'd rather have immigrants working here and spending money here and paying sales taxes, than American jobs moving overseas and America getting nothing in return except of course for more billionaire "captains of industry". Some believe that Americans no longer deserve a pension or social security or dignity - I respectfully disagree.

Posted by: Donny | August 8, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe public money should be used to pay 'retirement' benefits to those younger than 55 who are still working. Jason above would have us believe that Maryland might become the first state to cut their sales tax---after raising it for five years.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | August 9, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

They wouldn't actually cut the sales tax. A 5 year "sunset" on a bill means that, unless the bill is reauthorized, it ends when that 5 years is up. If MD's fiscal situation betters then the Assembly will have no reason to reauthorize the bill and will not get the votes needed.

Posted by: JasonL | August 9, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

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