We’ve already discussed that pretty much everything Governor Martin O’Malley does is geared toward his presidential campaign, which he has already kicked off with visits to New Hampshire and Iowa. In order to appeal to the base of the Democratic Primary voters throughout the nation, he has taken a tactic of pushing the most liberal agenda that he can to appeal to these folks. It makes sense from a Political Science 101 foundation. But by coupling it with his disinterest in the General Assembly and the politics required to pass legislation, he has been left with a string of failures.
The latest looks to be his far reaching gun control legislation. The other leading Governor in the 2016 presidential campaign, Governor Andrew Cuomo passed a sweeping piece of legislation through a Republican controlled Senate in Albany with overwhelming majorities. Governor Martin O’Malley had to play catch up since he hadn’t done anything on gun control (just like President Obama) until after the Newtown shooting. New York had already required licenses to own a handgun which along with an assault weapons ban is what Governor O’Malley is seeking.
Governor O’Malley, Attorney General Gansler and the supporters of gun control argue that it is the same as a driver’s license. You are required to take a training class, pass a test, and be licensed prior to driving a car. Of course, Republicans argue that driving a car is a privilege, whereas your right to bear arms is a right guaranteed by the bill of rights, just like speech and religion. They argue that it is the same as a poll tax. Senate President Mike Miller has already indicated he is against the licensing requirement, which may spell the doom of the requirement. The Baltimore Sun reported that the amount the state is charging for people to exercise their 2nd amendment right will raise twice as much as it actually costs, spelling further embarrassment for the O’Malley Administration.
Had the Governor met with key legislators ahead of time, and worked the proposal it would have been smooth sailing. It’s the type of negotiating that requires work, and while the result may appear to be less impressive on the sliding liberal scale, it shows a mastery of politics that the American public is searching for right now. Cuomo can show success, O’Malley can show a press conference.
Will the Governor’s entire proposal go down in defeat? No despite the thousands of protestors that showed up yesterday, the votes are there for substantial gun control legislation, but the failure in controlling the process, in a legislature completely controlled by his own party, means that he can only blame the Democrats for the failure of his proposal.
As Cuomo will argue in the primary, do you want a President who said “I tried” or one who says “I did.”