There is a scenario under which former independent governor Angus King could fail to take office as Maine's next US senator. It involves the Mayans being correct about the world coming to an end shortly before the new Congress is scheduled to be sworn in.
Assuming, however, that the Mayans were wrong — an assumption strengthened by recently discovered carvings predicting a Scott D'Amboise win in this year's Republican primary — there's nothing further to be said about the Senate race. But I'll say it anyway:
In November, King will roll over three-time loser Charlie Summers, Maine's secretary of state and the GOP nominee, and state Senator Cynthia Dill, an ethically challenged candidate with an excessive number of teeth, who won the Democratic contest.
Of course, politics is unpredictable. Summers, who stormed to victory on his reputation for cracking down on irresponsible teenage drivers and for trying to stop people from registering to vote on election day, could benefit from a last-minute scientific breakthrough providing a cure for blandness. His stirring message of fiscal reform ("We have to be able to lean forward") might start to resonate with voters weary of King's witty and disarming answers to tough questions.
Dill could overcome her unseemly reputation for claiming an endorsement from the Maine People's Alliance that she didn't receive, for using her political action committee to pay herself to write her blog, for gaming the Clean Election system to buy the computer she uses for her blogging, and for not having even a trace of support in the state's 2nd Congressional District. Her platform of repealing tax cuts and increasing federal spending could jumpstart her poll numbers, but only if the country falls into a wormhole and emerges in 1996.
In reality — a concept far removed from Dill, Summers, and the Mayans — King will not have to concern himself with either of the major party candidates, since neither has demonstrated the political adroitness required for a race of this magnitude. It's one thing to dispatch the likes of Bruce (Now I'll Have Time To Harvest My Trees) Poliquin or Matthew (Now I Won't Have To Miss Hunting Season) Dunlap and quite another to perform adequately against competition that's used to playing at the highest — and nastiest — level.
By which I don't mean King.
The former governor is first rate at handling predictable questions from interviewers (Will you caucus with the Republicans, the Democrats, or the Mayans?), looking great on the tube (unlike GOP also-ran Rick Bennett, who suffered from Nixonian five o'clock shadow) and avoiding getting specific about how he'll vote on contentious national issues. But King is a career minor leaguer, inexperienced when it comes to dealing with anything more threatening than a handful of bumpkins unsettled by his plans to transform their rural habitat into an industrial wind farm.
Now that he's set out on what was supposed to be a clear route to that Senate seat, King may find his path impeded by some barbarous interlopers.
No, not Mayans. These are folks who haven't achieved anywhere near that degree of civilization.
They're political consultants.