Gov. Martin O’Malley, who would like to be president in 2016, has little name recognition in many parts of the country, but TV connoisseurs are already familiar with a fictional tough-on-crime former city councilman who went onto become mayor of Baltimore and then governor of Maryland whose political ambitions compromise his morals. I’m talking about The Wire‘s Tommy Carcetti, the sympathetic but ethically challenged politician inspired partly by O’Malley himself.
Is the association fair? Wire creator David Simon seems to think so. He told the Daily Beast, “The writing was not unsympathetic to a man who comes in with the idea of changing things and emerges a completely different creature. That was the story [of Tommy Carcetti] and that is the story of Marty O’Malley.” But Tommy Carcetti is more than a vaguely unflattering characterization of the governor. It specifically undermines O’Malley’s preferred narrative — that during his mayoralty he reduced violent crime in Baltimore by nearly 40 percent — by showing Carcetti deliberately distort crime statistics. That’s something that David Simon accuses O’Malley of doing.
For their part, O’Malley’s staff says they aren’t worried about The Wire affecting his potential presidential run. But what else could they say? It would look pretty ridiculous to be nervous about an ostensibly fictional television show.
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