Martin O'Malley demonstrates why Hillary Clinton is still considered the front-runner.

It’s such a little thing, but important.  Martin O’Malley started off decently enough, here: “Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says if he were president, it would be important as commander in chief to have his secretary of state use the official server for business.” Not bad; and neither was the talking point of how the economy would be more important, anyway.  Mind you, Martin O’Malley doesn’t actually know how to grow an economy, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

But then O’Malley whiffs it. From the same Politico article: “O’Malley said he didn’t “feel compelled to answer” a follow-up question about Clinton’s actions from Bloomberg Politics’ John Heilemann. “Secretary Clinton is perfectly capable of defending her own service in office,” he said.” In other words: Martin O’Malley is running for Vice President.  Either that, or he has the political instincts of a clubbed baby harp seal.

:pause:

Look, I understand the urge for politicians to dance The Sidestep for one’s associates, and such vapid, rigor-free response as ‘didn’t feel compelled to answer’ would be a fine example of the genre. But I’m struck by the fact that Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton are competitors.  They theoretically want the same job, and the only way that O’Malley gets to be nominated is by him going over, or possibly through, Clinton. That is how this sort of thing works.

This is precisely the time that O’Malley should feel compelled to answer, in other words: Martin O’Malley had an excellent opportunity to lean back in his seat and say Actually, I think that Hillary Clinton has disqualified herself for the Presidency with this demonstration of her utter lack of judgement.  Sure, the next week or so would have been almost exquisitely painful for the man, what with the sudden deluge of screaming (yet elderly) Clinton minions descending upon him – but he would have gotten a sudden influx of defenders, too. Nobody actually likes Hillary Clinton: the Democrats just think that she’s largely inevitable.  Martin O’Malley’s essential terror at the thought of angering Secretary Clinton while in the process of running against her demonstrates why that last part is a largely self-fulfilling prophecy.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: I know that Martin O’Malley himself is claiming that front-runners are inevitable until they suddenly are not.  O’Malley’s problem is not that nobody else believes him on that (in this particular case, at least); it’s that O’Malley is himself not quite sure if he believes it, either.