In a Sunday morning interview, former Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley, uttered what appeared to be Greek wisdom in an appearance on This Week.
After concluding the customary byplay when introducing his guest, interlocutor George Stephanopoulos quizzed O’Malley on the subject of qualifications for his expected presidential bid. O’Malley proceeded to sermonize on the merits of his political resume, giving standard, cautious, almost robotic answers to avoid the pitfalls of gaffes on national television. Although everything in this interview was poll-tested and designed to be popular, he even stumbled at points, O’Malley did not disingenuously advocate a new cause or offer a new government program nor did he criticize the mechanics of government, Mr. Obama or Hillary Clinton.
Mr. O’Malley’s answers, among a fountain of evasive, unoriginal and programmed replies, contained a crisp, prescient warning: He unveiled the eerie resemblance of the presidency to a plutocracy and declared an obligation to halt it.
When Stephanopoulos playfully reminded O’Malley of his support of Hillary Clinton in 2008, O’Malley carefully answered for his 2008 support and retreated from endorsing Clinton for 2016. Stephanopoulos responded: “You said that we need new perspectives, new leadership. You are ready to challenge her, aren’t you?” O’Malley replied: “I think our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives. Let’s be honest here: The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.”
Mr. O’Malley is filled with education, a rare commodity.
O’Malley’s remark, Greek wisdom rather, perfectly illustrates the unrivaled access a select few enjoy due to the combination of name recognition, selfishly occupying the national stage, and, most important, wide access to establishment money.
The presidency has an image problem and it is not necessarily the occupant. Of late, the presidency has tended to represent access to the levers of power not authority; it represents a lack of moral clarity; it symbolizes a disconnect from a majority of Americans; it portrays an often callus lack of accountability; it typifies both personal ambitions and priorities over those of the electorate; and, sadly, it represents the will of the powerful and prestigious over the powerless and downtrodden.
O’Malley neither uttered these words out of guile nor did he state them as a political expediency to advance a potential bid for the White House. O’Malley just told the truth.