Now, it's 2012, and our boy — a bit tattered and worn by two decades of unsuccessfully trying to fulfill his political ambitions — is running for the US Senate. During a hard-fought Republican primary, he told the Maine Sunday Telegram he still favored legal abortions "with exception." He didn't explain what that exception might be. He had also changed his views on federal funding of abortions. He now opposed it.

Just before the June primary, he told the Bangor Daily, "I support a woman's right to an abortion in the case of rape, incest and life of the mother."

That's a long way from what he said he believed in 2008. It's even farther from where he stood in 2004. And it's in a different universe from 1994.

Even so, he won the nomination, but now faces independent Angus King and Democrat Cynthia Dill in the November balloting. Both are as unequivocally pro-choice as he so recently was.

Given his abrupt and curious shift on the issue, I called his campaign for some sort of clarification. I was told somebody would get back to me. Nobody did.

Maybe even his staff can't figure out where he stands from moment to moment on a woman's right to choose. Or maybe they can and don't want to deal with those disheartening charges of flip-floppery.

If you run into this once-valiant campaigner over the next few months, perhaps you can ask him what he really thinks and why he's changed his mind.

As for his name, it's the plural of a season that's as fleeting in Maine as steadfastness to principle is in a politician.

If this is the winter of your discontent, email complaints to me at

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