If you like gridlock in Congress, you’re going to love Maine’s June primary ballot. Whether you live in the 1st or 2nd congressional districts, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you’ll have the opportunity to vote for somebody who’s promising to go to Washington and make sure absolutely nothing happens.
Of course, none of these candidates is so stupid as to openly pledge to accomplish that feat. Instead, they use code words to convey their intent.
For instance, Republican 1st District hopeful Isaac Misiuk, currently leading in the polls for politician with the most mispronounced name, is particularly adept at sounding reasonable while remaining just the opposite.
At the GOP state convention, Misiuk (rhymes with … uh … never mind) said that when it came to health-care legislation, he’d “work across party lines.” By which he meant he’d be happy to join forces with any Democrat who wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and “encourage competition in the marketplace.”
In other words, anybody who was willing to capitulate and accept the Republican position.
Misiuk also prefers shutting down the government to raising the debt ceiling, claims Democrats oppose legislation to encourage economic development because they want to keep weak job creation as a campaign issue, and that the government under President Obama has become a “tyrantical (sic) entity.”
Plenty of room for compromise there.
His opponent in the fall election, US Representative Chellie Pingree, is ready to match him logjam for logjam. In her three terms in Congress, Pingree has earned a reputation as a “rank-and-file Democrat,” according to the website govtrack.us. Ballotpedia.org lists her as “one of the most reliable Democratic votes” in the House.
Pingree opposes the Keystone pipeline, supports the health-care law and, according to her website, favors “[c]racking down on big banks and credit card companies.” In an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News last year, she said, “[T]here should be room for debate and compromise” on budgetary matters, but went on to say the GOP House majority could not be described as either “reasonable or bipartisan.”
Pingree, having no fear of losing her bid for a fourth term, has anchored her partisan platform in concrete so thick it couldn’t be compromised by a pile driver.
In the 2nd District, it doesn’t take a degree in mediation to sort out the accommodating from the obstinate in either party’s primary. Troy Jackson, a Democratic state senator from Allagash, hasn’t been shy about criticizing his opponent, state senator Emily Cain of Orono, for being willing to negotiate, even with such stubborn opponents as GOP governor Paul LePage. “She’s interested in going into a room and coming out with a deal no matter what happens,” Jackson told the Bangor Daily.
Jackson claims he’d never give ground on his core beliefs. Which don’t seem to include abortion or same-sex marriage, since he’s been doing some clumsy backtracking on his long-term opposition to both, ever since he discovered that his record of voting against them doesn’t play well among Dem voters. He’s been much firmer in supporting labor unions, even going so far as to cast votes that some environmental groups consider “dirty,” if they might produce jobs for loggers, miners or papermakers.