It seems that some of the other Democratic hopefuls are now waking up and taking shots, albeit lightly, at Hillary Clinton. Former Maryland Governor Matin O’Malley, long rumored to be interested in launching a 2016 presidential campaign, appears ready to begin marking a run for the nomination.

Report from the New York Times:

Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor who is likely to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, took a veiled shot at a potential rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a speech in South Carolina on Saturday, criticizing the politics of “triangulation” that have historically been associated with the Clintons.

“The most fundamental power of our party and our country is the power of our moral principles,” Mr. O’Malley said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by an aide.

In words that echoed those of Senator Barack Obama when he battled Mrs. Clinton in 2007 for the Democratic nomination, Mr. O’Malley added: “Triangulation is not a strategy that will move America forward. History celebrates profiles in courage, not profiles in convenience.” [Emphasis added]

Mr. O’Malley’s comments came at the Democratic Party’s John Spratt Issues Conference in Myrtle Beach, and South Carolina is a crucial early primary state that Mrs. Clinton lost to Mr. Obama. Mr. O’Malley has in the past declined to contrast himself with Mrs. Clinton.

Some Democrats hope Mrs. Clinton will face a strong primary challenge, worrying that without one she might be unresponsive to some progressives.

The remarks from Mr. O’Malley, who is viewed as facing an uphill battle, signaled a new phase both of his own efforts, after a year of saying he was not in “compare-contrast” mode with Mrs. Clinton, and of the early 2016 campaign.

The longer Hillary waits in declaring her candidacy, the more likely one of these other candidates will be able to get a little traction and begin to cause her headaches. Why not take this opportunity and use the vacuum on the Democratic side to get some time in the media? Hillary’s gone largely silent so anything another candidate says will end up in the news.

All that O’Malley, or the others, has to do is plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of Democratic primary voters that Hillary Clinton is a bad or flawed candidate for 2016. She’s got support, but this will begin to test how deep that support actually runs.

11 COMMENTS

    • Originally her schedule was to announce in April. Then, for some reason, her people started saying July. Now it appears they’re back to April because I think they just won’t be able to wait half the year and let other campaigns start to develop.

      • Nate: Her only mistake is in stating “April” and “July.” It would have been sufficient to say, “later,” or “later in the year,” or better, “when the time is right.” If she goes back to April, now, it will look like she’s scared.

        But as I noted elsewhere, if she waits, it’ll be better for Hillary, but not the party.

        On the other hand, at this point, she can “triangulate” as the “centrist” between Webb and O’Malley. She may have been waiting for someone on the left to balance Webb on the right.

        • Martin O’Malice is a third fiddle candidate who is as exciting as cold oatmeal. Webb, on the other hand, is an interesting character in this whole matter. If Webb put his full effort into this thing he could cause the Clinton machine some problems. Why? Because he can’t be bought off with future promises of endorsements and the backing of the Clinton machinery. One problem with Webb is that he will be to the right and to the left of Clinton on various issues so he will do have a natural constituency. Will progressives back him? – the National Journal did an excellent piece recently on Webb that took a look a whether or not progressives would support Webb. Minus Warren, he is the only candidate who could cause Hillary issues.

          • That is interesting. Why did Webb jump in so early if he wasn’t going to make a major effort? Maybe it was to suggest there might be an alternative to Hillary, and then just wait for her to trip.

            Webb is an interesting, multi-faceted character who could grab the imagination of the right and the left. He is the one the GOP should fear, because he is also a straight-talker. We’d love that in a prez–another Truman or IKE.

            • Goethe something tells me Webb just got the opening he needed – “servered up on a silver platter”

  1. Jim Webb has negative charisma, he is dour, obviously doesn’t enjoy glad-handing the public.
    Webb is a war hero, Ronald Reagan’s navy secretary and one-term democratic senator from Virginia in 2006. In his writings and comments it is obvious he is insensitive to women’s rights, proud of his
    Confederate roots, defends the Southern states’ decision to secede, and doesn’t believe in greenhouse
    pollution. Not that I agree with all that Webb offers but I do he believe he is firm and sincere in his intentions. The thing I like most about Jim Webb is that he doesn’t suffer fools as many senators can attest to.

    • Yeah. People are sick of the glad-handers. And that’s one of Hillary’s weaknesses. She seems to want to say what “sounds good,” even though she has repeatedly shown she has no idea how things she says will sound.

      Webb hasn’t been on the public stage much. It’s possible that his tough attitude would wear thin, or allow him to say something he’ll regret. But how he handles it would make all the difference.

      Hillary tries to over-explain, as with the “two phones” thing. Why would she need two phones? And why should that be a problem? A lot of people have “company phones” and “personal phones.”

      I think she should have just said, “That decision was made a long time ago. It was what I thought was right and proper at the time. If a court or other authority says otherwise, I’ll apologize, but there was no secret motive involved.”

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