- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Conventional wisdom (and “conventional” here is not referring to the Democratic and Republican national gatherings) says that the general public really doesn’t start focusing on election campaigns until after Labor Day. By then, vacations are over, it’s back to work, school, etc.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that the wheels of the political machine stop turning in the interim. Just look at Maryland as a case in point. Both Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown seem as engaged as ever in political jockeying; they’re just not likely to admit what they’re up to.
O’Malley recently registered the O Say Can You See Political Action Committee with the Federal Election Commission. This is an important step if, in fact, the governor is intent on running for president in 2016, as many have speculated. It allows him to contribute money to electoral campaigns around the nation. In other words, he can exert influence and expand his political footprint, which already is growing.
O’Malley was in that expansion mode by taking on a second term as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association this year. Also, in early June he addressed a convention of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. It gave him an important forum in a state that holds the nation’s initial — and highly visible — primary.
And, anyone clicking the TV remote on a Sunday morning these days is much likelier to see O’Malley than Bugs Bunny or an evangelical preacher. The governor seems to be the go-to guy for the national political talking-head shows. He makes a good appearance, is a sound-bytes savant and is more than willing to wield the partisan sword. Even though he didn’t support Barack Obama’s presidential primary run in 2008, he has become one of the commander-in-chief’s — and his party’s — leading mouthpieces.
Early this week, he sharpened that mouthpiece role, in behalf of his lieutenant governor. On the same day it was reported that Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Dist. 20) of Takoma Park was considering a run for governor, Friends of Martin O’Malley issued a glowing — and out-of-the-blue — endorsement of Brown.
“More than any other public official, Anthony Brown has my complete trust in his ability to serve the best interests of Maryland,” the statement from O’Malley said in part. It also said, “… I urge Anthony to continue his public service and pursue the greatest possible level of public responsibility.”
Brown, who is widely expected to run for governor in 2014, has been trekking the state lately from one function to another. A sampling: On July 17, he spoke at a national health policy conference in Washington, D.C.; the next day, he took a walking tour of Historic Cambridge; on July 19, he was in Baltimore for a public forum on the state’s new Health Enterprise Zones.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that the state’s top two executives have unmet political ambitions. From the public’s perspective, however, what matters most is that the duo stay focused chiefly on Maryland’s problems and needs — and that they continue to do so while they hold their offices. The state’s residents can live with a case of whiplash from trying to keep tabs on O’Malley’s and Brown’s whereabouts, but any sense that they are shirking their duties is a whole different matter.