Stranger than known

Political nonsense
By AL DIAMON  |  September 21, 2011

In politics, things don't have to make sense. If they did, there'd be no excuse for the Tea Party, Democrat Jon Hinck's US Senate campaign, or Republican State Committee chairman Charlie Webster's existence.

But those items are such obvious examples of nonsense that only an extraordinarily lazy columnist would waste valuable space lampooning them. (Also, I might need to use the tea partiers, Hinck, and Webster next week, in case I'm feeling even more lethargic than usual.)

Fortunately for the ambition-impaired, there are plenty of other easy targets available. For example:

• Ethan Strimling's campaign slogan. Strimling, a former state senator, is one of the 28,306 people running for mayor of Portland. His lawn signs proclaim, "He's Proven We Can Do Better."

I assume that's a reference to his anemic 2008 Democratic primary run for Congress, in which voters decided they could do lots better than Strimling, relegating him to a distant fourth-place finish behind Chellie Pingree, Adam Cote, and Michael Brennan (who's also running for mayor). Oddly enough, Strimling's website makes no mention of that disastrous campaign. Probably didn't want to look like he was bragging.

• Then there's the presidential candidate who's proven he can't do any worse. Republican US Representative Ron Paul announced earlier this month that the guy he'd put in charge of his campaign in Iowa, where first-in-the-nation caucuses will be held early next year, is Michael Heath. The immediate reaction from Maine politicos: "It must be some other Michael Heath."

It isn't. It's the same Heath who was once executive director of the Christian Civic League, an organization that found him to be too divisive, too abrasive, and too obtuse. (Keep in mind that this criticism came from a group that doesn't necessarily regard divisiveness, abrasiveness, and obtuseness as qualities that are detrimental to its goals.) In the 2009 same-sex marriage referendum, leaders of the state's major socially conservative groups banded together to force Heath into hiding, correctly concluding his unfiltered anti-gay diatribes could cost them the election.

If there was ever any doubt Ron Paul isn't serious about being president, this hiring should settle it.

• In Westbrook, the local Republican Party recently held a caucus to pick candidates for municipal offices. The GOP choice for city clerk is Susan Rossignol, who'll encounter one slight difficulty if she's elected in November.

She's banned from City Hall.

Rossignol used to be the municipal finance director, a post she held for over three decades. When Democrat Colleen Hilton won the mayor's job two years ago, she decided not to reappoint her. But Rossignol frequently showed up at her old office, anyway, allegedly causing such disruption that at the request of the mayor and city administrator, police served her with a trespass notice requiring her to stay off the premises. That notice doesn't expire until next May.

If Rossignol wins, maybe she could phone in her work from home. Or Iowa.

• Ralph Nader is still pursuing a court case against the Maine Democratic Party claiming it illegally hindered his 2004 presidential efforts. Nader's lawsuit was tossed out by a judge nearly a year ago, but he's appealed to the state supreme court, which is considering the matter.

In spite of the hurdles he had to overcome, Nader made it onto Maine's ballot in '04, receiving a whopping 1 percent of the vote. Without the Dems' interference, it might have been twice that.

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