That's a curious choice, since there's nothing in King's history that would lead a rational observer to conclude he's unbeatable. He barely got by Brennan to win his first term as governor in '94. He rolled to an easy re-election victory in 1998, but only because both parties nominated leftover lug-nuts. He's done nothing since that would make him more formidable and a good deal that might be construed as lessening his appeal.
In addition, there's an excellent chance the Republicans will tear themselves to pieces as the old guard and the Tea Party battle in a six-way primary for both the Senate nomination and control of the party. The GOP voters' choices may boil down to choosing an extremist — who'll immediately turn off many general-election voters — or a moderate — who'll be forced through a bruising primary to embrace extreme positions in order to survive, yet will still be viewed with suspicion by the party's right wing.
Dem strategists claim that if they choose a strong nominee, it would weaken King, thereby handing victory to the Republicans. They point to the 2010 gubernatorial race in which Paul LePage, the GOP candidate, benefited from such a division between Libby Mitchell and independent Eliot Cutler. They neglect to mention that Mitchell was hardly a strong candidate, and if she had been, Cutler would have been a non-factor.
The Democrats' decision to put up a patsy in a race as important as this one isn't some fluke. It's another indication of a party that's been decaying for nearly a quarter of a century and still hasn't noticed the internal rot.
That diagnosis explains what happened to all the front-line Democratic candidates this year. They came down with bad cases of no guts.
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: Talking Politics
, Democrats, Ed Muskie, Olympia Snowe, More