O’Malley’s March to Washington
Maryland’s governor is not presidential material.

Martin O’Malley performs with O’Malley’s March in 2002.


The late, great Baltimore radio-talk-show host Ron Smith used to call him Father O’Malley and play religious music on air by way of introduction.

It is an apt description of Maryland governor and former Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley, who moonlights as the buff frontman for the rock band O’Malley’s March, who speaks and writes in reverent tones about everything from septic systems to slot machines, from reducing crime in Baltimore to gay marriage.

Take a recent opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun that O’Malley wrote to honor a sharp reduction in murders in Baltimore City:

Thinking back, it is hard to explain to young, new homeowners in growing neighborhoods . . . just how badly we had allowed white apathy and black acceptance to destroy our belief in one another; how badly we had allowed our collective culture of cynicism to keep us from even trying. All the “smart” people knew, “It’s just Baltimore — there’s nothing you can do about it.”

He concludes his sermon with, “So that our work together might be worthy of [the police’s] sacrifice, Baltimore, I ask it once again. Believe.”

Never mind that the murder rate’s falling in Baltimore City has everything to do with the current police chief’s changing the strategy that O’Malley had employed as mayor — which involved countless arrests for nuisance crimes — to one that targets violent criminals.

It would be amusing to listen to him take credit for things he didn’t do if he weren’t also quickly transforming Maryland into the business- and people-shedding California of the East Coast — and trying to do the same to the country as head of the Democratic Governors Association and potentially as president. Rumor has it he is plotting a run in 2016.

O’Malley is right that people want to believe in their politicians. He won two terms as mayor of Baltimore by promising the impossible: that he could add jobs and people with the same failed Great Society policies of his predecessors (he didn’t). And then he won two terms as governor promising more jobs through higher government spending (that hasn’t worked either). But there is nothing good left to believe about Mr. O’Malley’s by-the-book liberal agenda or that of his co-religionists throughout the state.

Maryland ranks near the bottom for job growth in the nation. There are 100,000 more people unemployed in the state than when the recession began at the end of 2007. (O’Malley took office in January of 2007.) Unemployment — at 6.9 percent — is lower than in the rest of the nation, but only because of the massive presence of the federal government, which employs many Maryland residents and spent $80 billion in the state in fiscal 2009.  

Some other startling facts about this liberal paradise on the Potomac:

— IRS data show that thousands more people choose to leave Maryland each year than move here. They head for more tax-friendly locations including Florida, North Carolina, and the state’s main rival for federal jobs, Virginia. The Tax Foundation estimates the state lost $5.6 billion from 1999 to 2009 as a result of outmigration — one of the worst losses in the country. And it is not just the wealthy driven out by the state’s now-expired “millionaire’s tax” signed by Mr. O’Malley, but people across the income spectrum.