Any Marylander who visited the New York Times website on Friday afternoon was immediately greeted with a powerful image. Staring out from among five head shots on the homepage’s main-story space, pictured with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: the handsome mug of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
In an online preview piece that will appear in the opinion pages of the print version of the Sunday Times, the newspaper’s Washington bureau chief, David Leonhardt, ponders the possibilities of who will cadge the Democratic Party’s nomination for President in 2016. O’Malley ranks high on the list. As pungent evidence of O’Malley’s not-so-distant White House ambitions, Leonhardt cites our governor’s shock-and-awe cameo during the run-up to the recent South Carolina Republican presidential primary, wherein MOM pointedly lambasted GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney.
With a mixture of stealth and bravado, O’Malley has been erecting the framework for a 2016 presidential bid, using as platforms both his elective office and his chairmanship of the Democratic Governors Association. In addition to the South Carolina foray, O’Malley, in the past several months, has ventured overseas on a trade mission to India; was stationed in a position of conspicuous prominence directly behind First Lady Michelle Obama during President Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress on creating jobs; and is openly championing the initiative to sanction same-sex marriage in Maryland.
No one should commission painting O’Malley’s presidential portrait quite yet, but in Leonhardt’s mind — and the minds of Democratic apparatchiks currently scheming the party’s post-Obama landscape — the governor is ready for his national closeup.