Martin O'Malley

Martin O'Malley and the Liberal Hawks

The Democratic presidential candidate lays out a foreign policy agenda-and takes a swipe at Clinton over Benghazi.

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We need to know in advance who is likely to take power—or vie for it—once a frontrunner is toppled.

If anyone was hoping Martin O'Malley would be some sort of radical antiwar insurgent, the Democratic presidential hopeful's speech this morning at the Truman National Security Project should shatter such illusions. Declaring that "our country's security—and our children's prosperity—demand that we be more engaged with the world around us, not less," the former Maryland governor put himself firmly in the liberal-interventionist tradition. The speech even included a tribute to the National Security Act of 1947, the law that among other things established the CIA.

That said, there are degrees of interventionism, and O'Malley's posture is much less warlike than Hillary Clinton's. He didn't merely condemn the Iraq war—an easy position to take these days—but became, as best as I can recall, the first Clinton challenger on the Democratic side to utter the word "Benghazi":

And we must recognize that there are real lessons to be learned from the tragedy in Benghazi: Namely, we need to know in advance who is likely to take power—or vie for it—once a dictator is toppled.

O'Malley is (a) completely correct on that point, and (b) taking a not-so-subtle swipe at Clinton, who was one of the chief forces behind the Libyan intervention when she was secretary of state. (And yes, as a senator Clinton voted for the Iraq war O'Malley opposed.)

Beyond that, O'Malley endorsed negotiations with Iran and favored an ISIS strategy where "we must avoid mission creep—and be mindful that American boots on the ground can be counter-productive to our desired outcome." He generally came across as a man who accepts the basic premises of empire but wants to use the country's troops more sparingly. The most striking thing about his speech is how much of it was devoted to foreign policy issues that aren't directly related to military action: climate change, international trade, "sustainable development." If you want an America that drops fewer bombs but remains extremely active around the world, Martin O'Malley wants your vote.

NEXT: Is marriage really a liberty right?

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  1. “You’re a chicken and I’m a Chickenhawk….”

  2. 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11

    1. ‘scuse me, but I’m livin’ in a POST 9/11 world…

  3. The Dumbocratic Party is really lacking in the charisma department. I can’t actually think of anyone on that side of the aisle who has any personality whatsoever (because, let’s face it, charisma wins elections, not policy).

    1. Bernie Sanders has exactly the Charisma the Democratic base leans toward.

    2. Depends on what you mean. If we’re talking ‘competent charisma’ as in they’re actually competent people who are good at getting people to support them due to that, no. If we’re talking the kind of charisma that involves fake populist appeals, use of ‘us vs. them’ arguments and appealing to the most base of human attitudes in the stupid and naive they’re overloaded.

      1. fake populist appeals, use of ‘us vs. them’ arguments and appealing to the most base of human attitudes in the stupid and naive they’re overloaded.

        Yeah, but they’re not doing this is an exciting way. Picture Droopy the dog saying “Guns kill people. We need common sense gun control”. Now picture the same words spoken by Bugs Bunny.

        The D party is full of Droopys.

  4. YES! No more gay marriage arguments!

    High fives all around!

    1. I almost wish they’d struck it down, so that the last refuge would be getting the government out of marriage altogether.

      1. Who then would draw up the automatic 50/50 contract for the 20 yr olds that don’t yet have anything to lose?

          1. Isn’t that a song by Devo?

            1. And Constitution is just the name of some ship.

  5. O’Malley is quickly becoming everything I hate. He wants to have zero fossil fuel usage by 2050 (good luck!), is making Bernie Sanders look good by attacking him from the left on guns (which is totally justified given how safe Martin O’Malley left Maryland and Baltimore), and isn’t even good on war.

    1. “Guns kill people”

      “War is the life blood of democracy”

      Um…dude, really?!?

    2. Even hardcore lefties in Baltimore who enthusiastically voted for the guy will usually admit that he’s a piece of human garbage. Somehow that’s worked for him.

      1. Dude, he is in amazing shape; that is what matters.

  6. At first I thought the headline was “Liberal Hacks”.

    No difference really.

  7. OT

    Since we’re on the subject of 14A and equal protection…

    http://bangordailynews.com/201…..fy-lepage/

    A bill to allow Mainers to carry concealed handguns without a permit appears destined for Gov. Paul LePage’s desk after the House agreed Thursday to an amendment designed to win the governor’s support.

    The latest version of the bill, approved by bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate, would allow anyone older than 21, who isn’t prohibited from owning a firearm, to carry a hidden handgun. Members of the military would be afforded the same right as long as they are older than 18 years old.

    The provision for servicemen and servicewomen was added by the Senate on Wednesday in an effort to appease LePage, who said he would not sign a bill that didn’t apply to all adults in the military.

    I have a problem with set-asides for special groups. That this also involves the 2A makes the special treatment even more glaring.

    1. I agree, but if that means I can legally carry a handgun without written permission from the cops, then I’ll take it.

    2. That’s actually a clear equal protection issue. Although Wisconsin already lets 18 year old soldiers drink.

      Obviously it should therefore be the law that all 18 year olds can drink then, but no one seems to have made an equal protection argument there.

    3. who isn’t prohibited from owning a firearm, to carry a hidden handgun. Members of the military would be afforded the same right as long as they are older than 18 years old.

      This isn’t a hill I’d die on (man I’m coming to love that phrase) if it let’s no’reasterners* finally get some gun rights.

      *My father was from Maryland and it’s my limited understanding that people in the northeast sometimes consider Maryland the “south”.

      1. Remove apostrophe from “let’s”

      2. I consider Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia to be a giant shithole I have to cross to get to the South.

      3. everyone’s a southroner south of the wall.

        1. (meaning Vermont has always been a free-for-all for gun owners. And it’s in the northeast)

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever seen O’Malley speak.

    (heads to youtube)

    Just another charmless Jindal. Unless a personable dark horse appears on one side or another, it looks like it could be another Bush/Gore Battle of the JV Candidates.

  9. “Beyond that, O’Malley endorsed negotiations with Iran and favored an ISIS strategy where “we must avoid mission creep?and be mindful that American boots on the ground can be counter-productive to our desired outcome.” He generally came across as a man who accepts the basic premises of empire but wants to use the country’s troops more sparingly.”

    Vote O’Malley: He’ll keep us out of particularly large wars

  10. Things have changed since I was in the US Army. At the time, my fatigues said “US Army,” now the DC elite say it should say “World Police.’

  11. Ok ok. I know libertarians have to be anti interventionist in order to remain members in good standing, and I also wonder why our military is so big, and why we still have bases in Germany, etc.
    But McMahan was right. And after WWII, there was no one else able to take over policing, at least, the world’s oceans.
    And being a super power, indeed the super power, has distinct advantages, and ensures that our freedom is not threatened by foreign governments, only our own.
    I understand the Constitution also forbids a standing army.
    I’m not sure if we want to give up empire. Please don’t revoke my membership, but it seems to me that, if we’re not the world police, that vacuum will be filled by somebody else, most likely China.
    Is this really in the interest of freedom?

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