Someone I used to know

Politics and other mistakes
By AL DIAMON  |  August 22, 2007

Nobody can accuse Democratic 1st District congressional candidate Chellie Pingree of being blindly loyal to an old pal.

Pingree held a fundraiser on August 12 with Ned Lamont, the Dems’ 2006 US Senate candidate from Connecticut. In a letter to potential donors, she claimed Lamont stood for “real Democratic values” and praised him for taking on “conservative, pro-Bush, pro-war Joe Lieberman” in the party primary.

But back in 2002, Pingree did some sucking up to that very same Lieberman.

A little background: Lamont defeated Lieberman, the incumbent senator, in the ’06 primary, causing the latter to drop out of the Democratic Party and run as an independent in the general election. Lieberman won that second face-off, no thanks to liberals like Pingree.

That lack of leftist support must have stung, particularly since Lieberman campaigned for Pingree in ’02, when she was running for the Senate against Republican Susan Collins. According to an Associated Press story from that time, Lieberman said electing Pingree would provide “a brake on the least mainstream instincts” of the Bush administration.

Collins beat Pingree handily in that race. Since then, Pingree’s are not the only allegiances exhibiting indications of flexibility. This election cycle, Lieberman is campaigning in Maine again, but now it’s to boost the re-election of Collins, who helped him out in his 2006 race and who faces a challenge from Democratic US Representative Tom Allen in 2008.

In a Pingree press release after her fundraiser, Lamont is quoted as saying, “We need candidates who will put the priorities of the American people before political jockeying.”

Obviously, he wasn’t talking about anybody in this crowd.

It’s a bit complicated
Market Decisions in Portland has released a poll of 401 Mainers indicating that most of them think the governor and Legislature are doing a poor job managing the state budget. But 71 percent of respondents also admitted they knew little or nothing about how the spending plan was put together. No doubt, that figure would have been higher if the survey had included current legislators.

New impossibilities
I’ve been taken to task in e-mails from several readers for a recent column on the role of abortion in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Why, they asked, in my list of possible contenders for the Blaine House, did I not mention Republican Peter Mills or Democrat Mike Michaud?

I blame a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Or, in the event that turns out to be false, I apologize for all the pain I’ve caused and promise to enter rehab.

Oh, and one other reason: Neither of them is going to run.

If I’m correct in my speculation, sometime before Maine chooses its next governor, the US Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade, returning the authority to regulate abortion to the states. If so, Mills, a state senator from Cornville and a loser in the 2006 GOP primary, and Michaud, the 2nd District congressman, will both take a pass on a race in which they’d stand no chance of winning their respective primaries.

As I pointed out in my earlier column, a high court decision striking down Roe would make abortion a major issue in 2010, thereby causing those who feel strongly on both sides of the issue to turn out on primary day. Which would be bad news for any candidate who didn’t fit his party’s definition of political correctness.

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  Topics: Talking Politics , U.S. Government, Ned Lamont, G. Steven Rowe,  More more >
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