You people have got to stop taking me seriously.
Last week, purely in jest, I offered suggestions for potential 2014 Democratic nominees for governor. I thought it was clear that I was being deliberately outrageous. But at least one person looked at my list (which included convicted Zumba prostitution promoter Mark Strong Sr., the Portland Whistler, and the Marden's Lady) and figured, hey, if those unqualified schlubs can run, so can I.
No, Mike Michaud, you can't.
I can understand Michaud's reaction, though, because in addition to my fictional contenders, the actual field of possible candidates includes highly unsuccessful ex-governor John Baldacci and failed US Senate hopeful Steve (I can't believe nobody's ever heard of me) Woods. If they're in, it's obvious there's no standard excluding even the most odious of competitors.
Sort of like international bicycle racing.
Still, would it be too much to ask for a modicum of common sense? For any Democrat to have a chance of capturing the governorship next year, he or she ought to meet at least minimal qualifications. Such as:
1) The ability to attract liberal voters in the 1st Congressional District. This bloc includes not only Dems, but independents and moderate Republicans embarrassed by GOP Governor Paul LePage's constant tantrums. To win their support, candidates will have to have an unblemished record of backing legal abortion and gay rights. It also wouldn't hurt if they favored legalizing pot, new restrictions on firearm purchases, and universal health care. They should never have been spotted eating in a chain restaurant or shopping at a big-box store. Their idea of job creation should involve artisanal bakeries, crafters of sea-glass jewelry, and little shops that make adorable handbags and totes out of recycled documents from all those Portland law firms. If they drink, it should only be Maine-made liquor, beer, or wine. Water is also acceptable as long as it doesn't come in any kind of container. Except, maybe, recycled wood.
2) The ability to attract conservative voters in the 2nd Congressional District. This group includes old-time Democrats, libertarian-leaning Republicans, and cantankerous cranks that no self-respecting political party would want as members. They may be anti-choice and anti-gay, but they really don't care much about those issues, since they haven't had sex since that unfortunate business with the restraining orders. Instead, they demand an end to all forms of government interference in their right to bear arms, a hunting season on endangered species, and the exclusion of all foreign imports — except Canadian Mist. They're against immigrants (although they don't know any), ex-urbanites (although they don't know what that means), and Agenda 21 (something to do with the United Nations setting the drinking age). They want more manufacturing jobs and less welfare, except heating assistance, which they want more of. The one issue on which they agree with their southern Maine counterparts is legalizing pot. But they buy their munchies at Walmart and wish there was one closer to their trailer.
Into this contradictory assortment of ignorance, idealism, and self-interest comes US Representative Michaud, who announced last week that he's "looking at" becoming a gubernatorial candidate.
I'm looking at a nice pork chop for dinner. That doesn't mean I want to become one.