Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Not This Again....

Alec MacGillis does not think Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is a real candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Part of his rationale is simply that O'Malley is too "staid" and is a boring public speaker. The resurrection of "do you want to have a beer with him" logic, which drove me into fits of insanity when it was applied to Al Gore, is enough on its own to make me want ot drop MacGillis into a vat of acid.

Now, I might -- might -- be able to forgive MacGillis here simply because what he's saying might be descriptively accurate (he is not the only source I've read that has negative things to say about O'Malley's ability to connect with audiences). What's more baffling is the argument that O'Malley won't "excite" the Democratic base because he focuses too much on the utilitarian efficacy of his proposals. In essence, MacGillis seems to think that emphasizing how one's plans make the world better is incompatible with normative liberalism. It's very weird -- over and over again MacGillis concedes that O'Malley's managerial instincts have made Maryland a much better place, but he almost says it with a sneer, as if performance was not a valid metric to measure Democratic politicians. I really don't get it at all.

1 comment:

PG said...

I wonder if there's any connection between how one feels about O'Malley and one's level of engagement with the ways in which he's improved Maryland. Over 10 years ago, when he was mayor of Baltimore, he had dinner with a group of college students staying at Johns Hopkins for the summer to work with low-income kids. One of the college students was my little sister, and she came away very impressed with O'Malley. (And she doesn't tend to like people in general, so I took this seriously.)

Maybe if the context for O'Malley is not his giving a campaign speech, but instead his talking with you directly about what you both want to do for Baltimore / Maryland / America, he comes across better.