Martin O’Malley makes it official at 10 a.m in Baltimore on Saturday morning—he is running for president.
The Irish American former governor and mayor will start out as a long shot but it is a place he has come from before.
When initially running for City Council, mayor and governor, O’Malley was an outsider who confounded the odds.
Were he to do the same against Hillary Clinton it would be the biggest upset since --- well, since a relatively unknown senator Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton.
At 52, O’Malley is a fresh face who will make the most of the age and era contrast with Clinton. There is a cool Kennedy air to him and he is an excellent TV performer, which will stand to him.
A skilled debater and policy wonk O’Malley will depend heavily on breakout performances in the six scheduled debates to spur on his candidacy.
He will certainly show a profound grasp of the details—there will be no Rick Perry moments like when the Texas governor forgot the name of government departments he wanted to cut.
Underestimate O’Malley at your peril. He comes at a time when media is desperate to highlight a serious challenge to Hillary and he has excellent credentials to do so.
He has an authentic vision, running to the left of Clinton on key issues such as immigration, Wall Street oversight, campaign finance and government intervention.
If the 67-year-old Clinton slips, and there is always a moment in a campaign where the anointed one has a wobbly moment, O’Malley will be there to try and pick up the mantle.
He has very little to lose. His two terms as governor were over and the White House was an inviting target for a deeply ambitious politician.
The worst he can do given his talent is position himself for a shot at the VP role on the Clinton ticket. As an Irish Catholic he would appeal to the biggest slice of swing voters and help out in key states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.
A few years back O’Malley a skilled Irish musician was the warm-up act at the White House before the president appeared on St.Patrick’s Day with his band O’Malley’s March.
Years before that he was on the first Clinton visit to Northern Ireland as the newly elected mayor of Baltimore and an Irish American with solid credentials.
Now he plays on the biggest stage of all. It would be foolish in the extreme to discount his chances of a major upset.