While the Democratic Party devotes its immediate attention to re-electing President Barack Obama in 2012, the Dems also are engaged in long-term strategizing regarding potential presidential candidates for the 2016 race. How else to explain the marquee positioning (see photo) of a beaming Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley during Obama’s recent $447 billion jobs initiative speech before a joint session of Congress. You can bet that MOM’s spotlighted placement directly behind First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden did not occur randomly.
Even before the 2010 midterm election that heralded the wholesale repudiation of Democrats in Congress, governors’ mansions, and state legislatures nationwide, Dem Party apparatchiks openly bandied around O’Malley’s name as a post-Obama presidential possibility. That election merely served to burnish his golden-boy status. Not only did O’Malley emerge as one of the Democrats’ few 2010 winners, he trounced his Republican opponent, former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, by 14 percentage points.
Young (now 48), conventionally handsome, and just a hair left-of-center politically, with an attractive wife and a brood of wholesome-looking kids, O’Malley possesses a peck of the attributes that Democrats cherish in a White House hopeful. Already, he commanded national media coverage and party prestige as chair of the Democratic Governors Association – his ascent to that post seemed carefully choreographed – and now comes his gilded televised moment within hugging distance of Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden. Expect continued high-visibility sightings in the ensuing years leading up to the 2016 campaign. Could MOM be Dems’ anointed one?