Malloy, Murphy on the National Stage; What’s Next?

Capped off with an appearance on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” by US Sen. Chris Murphy, last week was filled with national appearances by Murphy and Gov. Dannel Malloy. Both shored up their national bona fides while speculation increases as to what’s next for the two Democrats from Connecticut.

Malloy had a banner week for nationwide exposure. He was the first governor to ban state-sponsored travel to Indiana while the Hoosier State grappled with a pathetic anti-LBGT law that simply invited discrimination.

Malloy came out firing on all cylinders. That made sense. If you’re going to slam a fellow governor, you might as well go all out. Tempering comments or pulling punches would be foolish—you’d get the blowback without the rewards.

The governor made the rounds on CNN and MSNBC (“Morning Joe” and “Hardball”) slamming Indiana’s Gov. Mike Pence. Malloy said Pence did a “stupid” thing in signing the so-called religious freedom law. Malloy said he would not stand idly by. He needed to call out “a bigot” when he saw one. It was unclear whether he was referring to the array of bigoted legislators who defeated amendments that would have made clear there could be no discrimination or Pence himself.

The backward-ass Indiana legislature, obviously driven by national pressure, reversed course and amended the law. Malloy won and won big. Were his rants over the top? Maybe. Were they effective? Absolutely. Time.com printed an op-ed from Malloy on the subject while the influential Washington, DC publication The Hill carried an article about Malloy’s sudden headline-making stature. The article quoted one Democratic operative as saying, “Looking at his track record, there’s no reason he couldn’t run for president right now.”

Malloy has repeatedly said he is not interested in running for national office but as the incoming head of the Democratic Governors Association would not shy away from national issues.

Malloy’s multiple dust-ups with Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Democrat Andrew Cuomo of New York only added to speculation about Malloy’s possible ambitions. He even had an impromptu smack down of the Republican Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal. And who could forget Malloy saying of Ron Paul on CNN, “I think he’s an idiot.” It was The Shad who first to raise the prospect of Malloy’s national ambitions back in September of 2011.  He’s done nothing to dampen the buzz ever since.

 

Meanwhile, Sen. Murphy has spent the last couple of years building up his reputation as an expert on foreign affairs. He is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US Senate and has been outspoken on a number of issues.

He was out front on the Ukraine – Russia conflict well before it dominated the headlines. He took a trip to there with GOP Sen. John McCain before Russia annexed Crimea.

Murphy is also an outstanding interview (Malloy is getting better but he still has a ways to go before he’s considered “smooth”). Murphy is sharp, thinks well on his feet and can easily transition from one topic to the next. Most of all, he is comfortable on camera and it shows.

Murphy has been on cable TV news multiple times. But the big breakthrough came Sunday when he was the featured guest on Meet the Press. He was excellent on the nuclear deal with Iran and other issues facing the Middle East. (Later in the day, Murphy posted on Facebook that he actually did the interview from his sister’s barn in Situate, Mass. A TV production crew turned it into a makeshift studio with the Meet the Press backdrop presumably hiding your average barn stuff.)

The senior Senator from Connecticut has also been mentioned as a presidential candidate. In a “Political Calculous” column in the New York entitled, “Imagining 2016 Without Hillary,” Murphy was listed as someone who could run for the Democratic nomination as a “fresh face.”

The thought here is that Gov. Malloy ends up with some kind of national post either as a cabinet member or as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Murphy is the more likely candidate for president or vice president someday. In any evident, Connecticut will be well represented on the national scene for the foreseeable future.