Dumb and dumber(1)

Politics and Other Mistakes
By AL DIAMON  |  August 7, 2014

It’s good to know that in Maine, there’s enough stupid to go around.

In recent months, many states have reported stupidity shortages, causing industry experts to predict sharp price hikes for idiocy and possible rationing of remaining supplies. The specter of long lines at dopiness outlets and families having to forego traditional numbskull activities has caused some clunkheads to begin hoarding brainlessness.

That won’t be happening here. Both Democrats and Republicans in this state appear to have come to a rare bipartisan agreement to increase their production of ridiculosity.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said a GOP spokesmoron, dressed in high-water pants and a beanie with a propeller on top and reading from a prepared statement. “Sometimes you have to set aside ideology for the greater good.”

For the record, he mispronounced “ideology” and admitted he had no idea what that word means (“Is it, like, the store where you buy ideas?”).

As for the Dems, they issued a news release calling for the creation of a strategic stupidity reserve funded by a new tax on people with high IQs. They defined high IQs as “ones with lotsa numbers.” Also, the donkey party promised continued cluelessness about the issues of immigration, welfare, and state spending.

But it’s one thing to talk about the problem of a lack of witlessness and quite another to do something about it. Would the major parties have the resolve to back their rhetoric with action?

Based on recent developments in the US Senate race, the answer is yes.

A couple of weeks ago, Phil Harriman, a Republican analyst for the Portland Press Herald, noted that a new television ad about the plight of Maine workers by Democratic Senate candidate Shenna Bellows, titled “The Working Class Isn’t Making It,” contained stock video of a guy in a warehouse loading boxes who was probably not from Maine. Harriman correctly pointed out the hypocrisy of using an out-of-state actor to portray a local blue-collar guy.

The Bellows campaign must have realized it had been a little more foolish than federal stupidity-conservation efforts require. It hastily re-cut the ad to include real Mainers.

That should have been the end of this harebrained episode, but the state GOP, knowing we need all the irrationality we can get, rushed out a press release calling attention to Bellows’s boneheaded mistake. “This is just one more amateur-hour effort by the Bellows campaign,” Maine GOP communications director David Sorensen announced (in the only real quote in this column). “When you outsource your campaign to D.C. consultants, this kind of mistake is bound to happen.”

Not only did the release detail Bellows’s doltish misstep, but it also provided links to both the original ad and the revised version. That’s right, the Republican Party, in its infinite lack of wisdom, wanted you to watch two TV spots promoting Bellows’s candidacy.

As a political strategy, that’s right up there with Governor Paul LePage calling Social Security a form of welfare or Democratic legislative leaders defending giving general assistance to illegal aliens.

Until now, Bellows has been struggling to get noticed in her long-shot bid to unseat GOP Senator Susan Collins. Polls have shown that even if everybody who’s never heard of her decided to support her, she’d still lose by a landslide margin. Finding a way to convince hundreds of potential voters to view her ad online—where it costs her cash-strapped campaign next to nothing—was just the sort of boost her candidacy needed.

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