Martin O'Malley seems to have all the characteristics of a successful politician. He was elected twice as mayor of Baltimore and twice as governor of Maryland. He is fluent and affable. He has a good sense of humor and a good singing voice. He has a good Irish name. Yet his campaign seems to be getting nowhere. The RealClearPolitics.com average of recent polls shows him at 1 percent in the race for the Democratic nomination. It almost makes one sorry for him.
Until, that is, you come across his recent statement in an interview on Bloomberg News's "With All Due Respect" in which he blamed the rise of ISIS on "climate change." "One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state Syria and the rise of ISIS," he said, "was the effects of climate change and the mega-drought that effected [sic] that region." How so? It "wiped out farmers, drove people to cities, created a humanitarian crisis. It created the symptoms, or rather the conditions of extreme poverty that has led now to the rise of ISIL and this extreme violence."
This is ridiculous — worthy of ridicule — in so many ways. Climate change causes "mega-drought" — in eastern Syria and western Iraq, places which have long been a desert. Is there anything it can't do? The "failure of the nation-state Syria" is a strange way to characterize rebellions against a dictatorship. Extreme poverty leads to the rise of ISIL — haven't we learned that Islamic terrorism is not caused by economic grievance but by religious fanaticism?
The old saying is that if all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. Liberals like O'Malley like to think that every problem is caused by climate change or economic inequality, for which they believe they have solutions. O'Malley's statement is a fine example of this. And it quells any sympathy one might have for the plight of his candidacy.