Yesterday, the political website POLITICO sponsored a debate between Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell over the controversial social issues that have come to the forefront in the past few weeks.
Martin O’Malley came to the strong defense of President Barack Obama, and hailed the successes of the administration, while being critical of the Republicans, led by Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell, who became embroiled in a controversy over an invasive vaginal ultra sound bill to undermine abortions by women.
O’Malley at the same time defended the decision in Maryland to make that state the eighth state to legalize gay marriages.
Bob McDonnell was on the defensive, as he explained his change of heart on the invasive ultra sound bill, after much outrage by women and the news media and others who believe in the right of privacy and women’s rights.
As one watched this debate, one could imagine the scenario of a possible 2016 Presidential debate between the two men, governors of neighboring states, with totally opposite views, and both strong defenders of their viewpoints.
Martin O’Malley is already seen as a top tier Presidential candidate for 2016 in the Democratic Party, and Bob McDonnell has obvious ambitions on the Republican side, and has made it clear that he is interested in a Vice Presidential slot with Mitt Romney, if Romney were to choose him. That is the obvious, although denied, reason for his backing off on the invasive ultra sound bill that he seemed ready to sign.
O’Malley has showed evidence that he would be a hard, aggressive campaigner if he ran for President, as he has become one of the major defenders of President Obama’s record, and a critic of the governors of not only Virginia, but also Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida, all hard line conservatives, who he accuses correctly of presiding over very poor employment growth, while Obama, by intervening in Michigan and other Midwestern states, has promoted a revival of the auto industry and the general economy, along with the general progress in decline of the unemployment rate.
Not only is Martin O’Malley demonstrating that a Catholic can have an open mind on issues such as abortion and gay marriage and labor rights, but also Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, is showing the same on these issues, and both are certainly to be considered front runners for the Presidential nomination in 2016.
Not all Catholic politicians allow their faith to dominate their politics, although Rick Santorum, particularly, and convert Newt Gingrich, both seem to feel that their religious views should be dictated to the population at large, even though we were founded as a nation on the concept of separation of church and state, which John F. Kennedy so clearly enunciated as the first Catholic President of the United States!