[Ed. – Danny Boy, for crying out loud. There’s a reporter in love here, drawing hearts around former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s name. Look, O’Malley is a basically awful big-gov lefty who wants to take your firearms — literally, he does — raise your taxes, and regulate your rainwater. Don’t fall for his sleeveless T-shirt Irish-band act.]
O’Malley is a mishmash of a stray Kennedy and the type of policy obsessive who [sic] even thinktanks keep locked away in a back office cubicle. A liberal Democrat, the former Baltimore mayor has a square jaw, bulging biceps, picture-perfect family and his own Irish folk rock band in which he plays guitar and sings lead – often in shirts that show off those biceps.
However, the longtime campaign staffer on former Colorado senator Gary Hart’s two presidential campaigns is also astonishingly nerdy. O’Malley is a War of 1812 obsessive whose passion in elected office was improved data-driven management.
The same inherent contradictions apply to O’Malley’s approach to retail politics. He isn’t Hillary Clinton, gritting painfully through every interaction with a voter or a reporter, but nor is he some sort of retail wunderkind like Bill Clinton who feeds off of human interaction. Instead, he deals with it like a normal person would – as normal as any human being who is willing to spend a career in elective politics and contemplate a run for the presidency. O’Malley doesn’t come across as a backslapper or a cold fish; just a guy who, but for the grace of God, would have been a lawyer trying to forge connections with jurors in a Baltimore courtroom, not voters in an Iowa coffee shop.
As Pica described it, while O’Malley certainly had some skills in retail politics – he reminisced that O’Malley “would go into nursing homes and sing Danny Boy and all the old ladies would love it” – his real advantage wasn’t “in shaking hands”. Instead, his gift was strategy. [Pardon me while I go be sick. – Ed.]