How O'Malley, Warren and Webb can save Democrats from Clinton
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In 2008, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto Conservatives pound BuzzFeed, media over Cohen report MORE finished third behind Barack Obama and John Edwards in the Iowa caucus. However, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll, Democrats before the Iowa caucus believed Clinton had "the best chance of beating a Republican in November," was more "in touch" with Americans and could "get things done in Washington" better than her competition. In late 2006, CNN stated that Clinton was "twice as popular as her nearest Democratic rivals" and TIME magazine ranked Clinton eighth out of the 100 men and women "whose power, talent, or moral example is transforming our world." Perhaps the most interesting survey is a 2006 Gallup poll that had Clinton first and Obama 12th (behind former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani [R] and 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry) when Americans were asked, "Who would you most like to see elected president?"

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Therefore, Team Hillary's ascent to the Democratic nomination and White House isn't a certainty and challengers like former Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-Md.), former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and (perhaps one day soon) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) could eventually overtake the former secretary of State. While Clinton has done great things for America over the years, she's unfortunately become a liability to the Democratic Party. The citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire and Democrats everywhere can save all of us from a Clinton campaign that says one thing when it's politically expedient, but does another (at the expense of cherished progressive values) when poll numbers aren't behind a certain issue.

After all, Clinton was against same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization until recently. There's a reason that many feel she has an "authenticity problem," and it's the same reason Clinton differs only slightly on issues like war from her GOP counterparts. Democrats in Iowa and around the country should evaluate the Clinton campaign by its actions, not words.

Team Hillary recently made "middle class" issues and wealth inequality part of its campaign platform, but Politico had a piece last year headlined "Wall Street Republicans' dark secret: Hillary Clinton 2016." According to a recent Wall Street Journal article headlined "Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend MORE Takes Aim at Bill and Hillary Clinton," the Massachusetts senator has been vocal about Clinton's ties to corporations:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren called Wednesday for Democrats to adopt a muscular form of liberalism in a speech that included thinly veiled jabs at Bill and Hillary Clinton as examples of economic stewardship gone wrong. ...

But her use of Clinton-era policies as a foil was notable, coming as liberals look for an alternative to Mrs. Clinton, whom they view as too friendly to business. It also marks a challenge to conventional Democratic thinking that Mr. Clinton presided over a boom that stands as a model of economic leadership. ...

Ms. Warren also made a reference to a part of Mrs. Clinton's past. As first lady of Arkansas, Mrs. Clinton spent six years on the board of directors of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Warren is one of the main reasons even former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has remarked that "the playing field is no longer fair or level" pertaining to the economy (a sentiment that often results in accusations of socialism from conservatives), so her view of Clinton's allegiance to big business should be a warning to most Democrats.

Regarding foreign policy, few people in the country have Jim Webb's resume or understanding of war and national security. As a Marine company commander in Vietnam, Webb was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star medal and other medals earned in combat. Unlike almost every other candidate for 2016, the former Virginia senator has experienced firsthand the reality of war (writing numerous books on the subject) and was an assistant secretary of Defense and secretary of the Navy. In comparison, The Atlantic notes that Clinton once desired to arm the Syrian rebels:

"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled," Clinton said.

Whereas Webb knows the dangers of entering counterinsurgency wars without an exit strategy, Clinton wanted to fill a "big vacuum" in Syria, even as we failed to fill these power vacuums in Iraq and Afghanistan. Historically, progressives want less involvement in foreign wars, not more entanglement within civil wars like Syria.

Finally, Martin O’Malley has shown superior leadership skills, compared to Clinton's, during his tenure as Maryland's governor. As a mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland, O'Malley's leadership led to a No. 1 ranking for his state in schools, entrepreneurship and women-owned businesses. In contrast, Clinton and the Democratic Party must now deal with "emailgate." According to Dan Metcalfe in his piece in Politico, "Hillary's Email Defense is Laughable":

So yes, Secretary Clinton’s suggestion that federal officials can unilaterally determine which of their records are “personal” and which are “official,” even in the face of a FOIA request, is laughable. ...

One cannot help but wonder how Secretary Clinton's departure process was handled.

While The Daily Iowan has compared O’Malley to President Kennedy, Clinton will no doubt have her credibility and leadership questioned by future issues related to her email scandal.

GOP challengers have an unlimited supply of political arrows to hurl at Clinton, with everything from Whitewater to Bengahzi and emailgate as grounds for a Republican winning the White House in 2016. Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire and states around the country should choose O’Malley, Webb and hopefully Warren ahead of Clinton. Obama defeated Clinton in 2008 and O’Malley, Webb and Warren can do the same in 2016. Ultimately, the Democratic Party needs someone to save it from another scandal or controversy related to Hillary Clinton's quest for the presidency.

Goodman is an author and a journalist.