With the end of the long primary campaign, Mainers are facing an ugly reality.
No, not the winners of the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial nominations. I’m writing this before the results are known, but I recognize there’s a reasonable possibility (like 100 percent) that both parties’ selections will have the popular appeal of a BP executive at a Greenpeace rally.
Nevertheless, the primary winners will be busy for the next five months. They’ll have promises to make (“As governor, I pledge not to sleep with anyone under the legal age of consent”), allegations to deny (“I didn’t even know Ben Rothlisberger was in town”), distortions to construct (“I couldn’t have been at that party with Lindsay Lohan because I was serving in Vietnam at the time”), and scandals to cover up (“I don’t care what the video shows, that’s not me in bed with John Edwards and his mistress — and that’s not a goat”).
At least, I hope they’ll do that stuff. Otherwise, the fall campaign is going to be awfully dull.
But it’s not the victors we need to be concerned about. It’s the losers. Unless we find suitable employment for the nine people who don’t get to continue making up reasons why they should be governor, they’ll keep annoying us with tales of their homeless youth (“The only way to keep warm was to pick through garbage cans for discarded Ben Rothlisberger jerseys”), their amazing business acumen (“Then I bought a sardine-canning factory and a Hummer dealership”), or their credentials as non-politicians (note to potential candidates: If you’re running for governor, you are, by definition, a politician).
As a public service (although, mostly because I get paid), I’ve selected some suitable post-primary positions for all the candidates. (Just ignore the ones for the winners.)
As his expensive-but-inept campaign made clear, Republican Bruce Poliquin is too pompous, too self-centered, and too short to win high public office. But his advertising did expose a hidden talent: He looks funny on television. Conan O’Brien can use that.
The GOP’s Bill Beardsley has a wealth of experience in shaping public policy. If the next governor can’t find him a spot in the administration (it’d be fun to watch Beardsley try to sort out the mess at the Department of Health and Human Services), I think they still need an executive director at the Christian Civic League.
Democrat Rosa Scarcelli built her campaign around being an outsider, although her exclusion could have been the result of an abrasive personality. Fortunately, among the positions that don’t include a plays-well-with-others requirement are coyote trapping and septic-tank pumping.
Democrat Pat McGowan ran an ad that claimed, “Typical politicians have left our government a mess.” Was he referring to his former boss, Governor John Baldacci? There goes the dishwashing job I lined up for him at Momma Baldacci’s Italian Restaurant.
Republican Matt Jacobson had a lousy campaign strategy (as the election approaches, get more frantic and weird), but the GOP still thinks he’s got a bright political future. Forget being commissioner of economic development (how’d that work out for John Richardson?). With Jacobson’s charismatic style, he’s qualified to anchor the news on bottom-rated WMTW-TV. I hear Jimmy Hoffa is retiring from that job.