Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trying to Reach a New Plateau

Charlotte, NC - The moment never seems to add up to expectation and the expectation never seems to add up to the moment. It is exactly what faced Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley Tuesday night. The delegation was ready, but was America ready?

 I was next to the delegation while the speech was being delivered. At the beginning I wondered out loud are we going into "metaphor hell again" as he told the tale of the struggle of a young nation at the famed Fort McHenry. As he moved to the present things got better. Here's what I believe he had to do.

Key element #1

Talk about sacrifices and family, check that off as accomplished.

Key Element #2

Get buy in from the audience. This came in with a simple call and response, "forward not backward."

Key Element #3

Changing minds. There are some questions as to whether he accomplished this task (TV numbers from last night show the audience was smaller than the GOP Convention).

A majority of those who spoke like Newark Mayor Corey Booker, and Massachusetts Governor Duvall Patrick seem to "have a fired up attitude." They spoke with conviction and O'Malley rose to the occasion. The crowd seem to relish in the idea of being patriot about where you "stash your cash". "Governor Romney, just because you bank against the United States of America doesn’t mean the rest of us are willing to sell her out...we are Americans."

Red meat for a crowd wanting to show contrast between the GOP and DNC. The delegation made up of Maryland's political hierarchy warmly received the Governor.
It included Representatives Elijah Cummings, C.A "Dutch" Ruppersberger, and Donna Edwards. There were County Executives Kevin Kamenetz, Rushern Baker, Issiah Leggett, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake.

John Wagner of the Washington Post seem to come to the same collusion, "reaction was mixed." Following the speech a lot of exuberance from the governors supporters. It was something that made me feel proud as a home grown guy from Maryland, said Rep. Ruppersberger. The Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown to reveled in the things he heard from his boss. He reflected "in 2010 when were on the campaign when Governor O'Malley was asking if you want to move forward or back and it was pretty exciting, but to do that in crowd of 16 thousand and get them to respond that’s pretty exciting." The cast is now engaged, the Governor becomes one of the leading contenders for President in 2016.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What He Should Say from People Who Know Martin

The opinions vary but everyone has an opinion on what he should say take a listen.

Kwiesi Mfume has actually given a keynote address check his assessment.

A Conversation with MPT's Jeff Saulkin.

You can watch tonight's convention on MPT.


Monday, September 3, 2012

An Oportunity and A Chance

(Charlotte, NC) "There needs to be an ah ha moment," says Delegate Adrienne Jones of Baltimore County. A lot is riding on Governor Martin O'Malley as he prepares to deliver. a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The official convention starts on Tuesday, but already various state delegations are holding meetings strategizing about how to maximize participation from the party faithful. President Obama should have little trouble in winning the state. The stakes are higher however for the states chief executive.

He has made no secret that he intends to make a run for President in 2016. "We will be the loudest delegation tomorrow in the room, says Prince George's States Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, one of the states's rising political stars. She has joined many in the delegation at the Fox and Hound Grill. The atmosphere is laid back as some play pool, others converse over their favorite spirit, as tense staff make sure there are no slips of the tongue.

Mfume, Sen. Raskin and Lt. Gov. Brown
The heavyweights of Maryland's political past are here. There is former Maryland Governor Paris Glendening who ushered in the era of "smart growth." Kwiesi Mfume, the former congressman is here. He knows a thing or two about keynote speeches having delivered one himself. "He can't be Chris Christy (a reference to the New Jersey Governor). He's got to be succinct. He's there to promote the party, promote the President and Vice President, and the promote party platform. But in that process he needs to give everyone an idea of your personality."

Ho. Co. Exe, Ullman & Fmr. Gov. Glendening
There was no shortage of personalities in the room. There was Attorney General Doug Gansler who is rumored to be considering a run for Governor in 2014. "At least my mother thinks so," said a coy Gansler. There was also Ken Ullman, Howard County Executive. David Nitkin made sure I had the Howard County job numbers.

Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown arrived in "rock star fashion" with an entourage. He could be biggest beneficiary of a well received speech by the governor. "We're hearing from a lot of people who are urging me to run." (don't want to put a damper on the enthusiasm, no Lieutenant Governor has succeed in becoming Governor?) Missing from this event the other potential contender, Peter Franchot, the states comptroller. MIA.

State's Atty Alsobrooks and Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake
There is keen focus Tuesday with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake hosting a party that could be a victory celebration for the Governor. The message and the moment could be just right.

I was there in 2004 when the then Mayor was asked to speak to then DNC gathered to crown Senator John Carey as the parties nominee. The speech was not memorable and luckily it was overshadowed by another speech delivered by an upcoming star, State Senator Barack Obama of Illinios.

There were too many metaphors (something about alabasters?)'and never seem to capture anyone's imagination nor attention. This is different. The Governor of Maryland has had an opportunity to hone his verbal debating skills on the Sunday Morning Political Television Shows. He's hit back against GOP rivals in surrounding states (Virginia, and New Jersey). "There's a reason he's the head of the National Governors Association," says former Governor Glendening. "He's only 25 minutes from DC." 

The simple truth, this is an opportunity to set a stage for next chapter in the O'Malley legacy. And I'm not talking about the muscle t-shirt wearing leader of the band, O'Malley's March. (FYI, they're supposed to play in Charlotte.)