Fighting Irish: O’Malley, McDonnell, Biden, Ryan and Hogan

Martin O'Malley, David Gregory, Bob McDonnellThe Irish were at it again on Sunday morning: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, liberal Democrat, sparring on Meet the Press with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, conservative Republican. Both chair their party’s governors association.

O’Malley was defending Vice President Joe Biden of the loose lips and McDonnell took up for the Republican vice presidential nominee designee, Rep. Paul Ryan of the tight budget.

Laura Vozzella at the Washington Post has a blow by blow of the rematch of the sparring partners whose states share 100 miles of the Potomac River. McDonnell was at a technical disadvantage, being telecast from a remote site with delayed audio feed that made him look hesitant.

No mention of Irish heritage

What was striking as the two men traded charges, facts, half-facts and accusations was that it was hardly to be remarked that the governors and the veep nominees they were defending were all of Irish Catholic heritage.

Millions of people over 60 can remember what a big deal it was when John F. Kennedy overcame his ostensible Catholicism 52 years ago to be become the first of his faith to hold the highest office. And now, it’s nary a big deal for two governors and two men running for vice president to share that common faith if not a common politics.

No doubt this observation was triggered by listening to Robert Caro’s just released fourth volume of his biography of Lyndon B. Johnson that covers the 1960 election in detail. Kennedy got elected and the pope did not pull the strings of a man who was hardly a model of religious devotion. For those under 50, that 1960 debate about religion must seem like a strange remnant of intolerance.

If Romney gets elected, it will likely have the same effect on Mormonism. In announcing his pick, Romney even referred to Ryan as “a faithful Catholic,” as if it were an asset. It is a term quite a few bishops might withhold for officeholders like O’Malley who support abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

Many progressive Catholics also want to deny that Ryan is a “faithful Catholic” for what they see as his budget attacks on the social safety net.

(Only McDonnell of the four is an alumnus of the “Fighting Irish” that odd nickname embracing a stereotype with a fists-up leprechaun mascot by the University of Notre Dame.)

Picking a fight on jobs

Leave it to Larry Hogan to get his Irish up with a press release late Sunday.

“O’Malley has no business going on national TV talking about the economy, especially with Gov. McDonnell who is pounding our state into submission on job creation,” said Hogan, the Republican founder of Change Maryland who gave O’Malley a bloody nose about jobs on national TV last month.

Fortunately, the focus of Meet the Press was on national unemployment numbers inching up in almost every state. Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released numbers that said Maryland picked up a net 800 jobs in July, while Virginia gained a whopping 21,300.

Maryland’s unemployment rates went up to 7% from 6.9%, while Virginia’s rate rose to 5.9% from 5.7%.

–Len Lazarick


About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Neal Sears

    Maryland like all libber run states is doing terribly as states run by conservatives are doing fine despite Obummer!

  2. Douglas Gillette

    Owe’Malley has raised taxes and fees 24 times since being Governor. He has put us in deep debt, and has chased away 5 major corporations from the state, sliding MD way down the scale on business friendly. It’s a wonder he has the balls to show his face in public.

  3. abby_adams

    Ever the Teflon Leprechaun with the enabling lame street media as his ally! Our lame duck governor avoids the real issues facing MD taxpayers while robotically repeating Dem talking points to his (hopefuly) future constituents! Virginia is killing us on job creation due to the stupid tax and spend policies of Martin & the one party rule in Annapolis. I seriously hope that he does attempt a run. Can’t wait to see the opposition commercials pointing out his stellar record of governance as Baltimore Mayor & Governor. That documentary from Al Jazeera should really help him out!
    In regards to JFK, questioning his loyalty to the Pope was the least of his issues. Had we known then, what we know now about that horny dog, womens groups would have been up in arms. Public likeability isn’t the only reason to choose a leader. The tried & true “actions speak louder than words” still applies.

    • Dale McNamee

      Dear Abby,

      I love your ” Teflon Leprechaun ” comment ! ;-D

  4. Harry Anthony Young

    Taxes Owe’malley looked like a punching bag, just about every comment was “bush this and bush that”. Between posting tax numbers he got from federal agencies and skewed them to look good by leaving out bordering states that make us look bad, and not showing up for the annual Maryland County Convention that the governor always shows up for so he could be on national tv (AT THE SET) while VA’s governor was on satellite remote, probably IN his state, he might be the worst and slimiest politician ever. Hes only out for himself and his “presidential” hopes.

    • Bill Wielenbeck

      Couldn’t have said it better Harry! And don’t forget his precious casinos. You know the casinos that aren’t worth a damn? The ones that want to return 500 machines because they aren’t making what they hoped (maybe because Md has some of the worse casinos in the country, not to mention them stinking vouchers, if I put my money in, I want to see money coming out, like it use to be, I’ll be damned if I play, went once and hated it, won’t go again). All he wants to do is destroy MD the work his way up to the whole US of A. It’s time to shoot this moron down now! Yell loud enough for the whole world to know just how bad and corrupt he really is!


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