In the first Democratic primary debate, each candidate was asked to name an enemy they were proud to have made during their political careers. Hillary Clinton, the current frontrunner, named roughly half the country as her "enemy" when she replied "[...] probably the Republicans."
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is currently polling within the margin of error in nearly every national poll, thinks that Clinton's answer to that question is a sign that she is far too partisan and is unwilling to work with others on Capitol Hill. In a new piece published today on Yahoo! News, O'Malley tries to parlay himself as a middle-of-the-road Democrat, not an overly partisan or "ideologically extreme" candidate.
“How can you pull people together when you declare up front that all Republicans are your enemies?” he asked me, referring to Clinton’s striking comment in the first debate. “Or when you hem and haw about whether or not you believe in capitalism?
“I don’t believe that all Republicans are my enemy. They’re my neighbors. And I actually do believe in capitalism when it’s practiced in ways that encourage and defend fair competition and push back against the concentration of monopoly power as the big banks now enjoy it.”
While it's all good and dandy that O'Malley doesn't see himself as being as "extreme" as his opponents, and that he's at least on paper open to working across the aisle, this rhetoric isn't resonating well with voters at all. It's rather telling that Clinton's comments regarding Republicans as her enemies barely made a blip on the national media compared to (the now dropped out) Jim Webb's remarks that he killed the Vietnamese soldier who threw a grenade at him.
As the second Democratic primary debate is on November 14, O'Malley had better hope that he is able to convey some kind of message to the voters--or else he'll become even more irrelevant than he already is.