Before they can be taken seriously, candidates for Congress ought to meet certain stringent criteria. Such as:
Having a pulse.
And measurable brain function.
And a name that isn’t Peter Throumoulos, with a criminal record attached.
Those rules should thin the field, although maybe not enough. Ethan Strimling is still in. And new congressional hopefuls keep cropping up, despite supply already exceeding demand. Nastier requirements may be needed.
The latest entrants into the races in the 1st and 2nd Districts are Democrat Steve Meister of Winthrop and Republican Thomas Cornelius Mooney of Bangor. Which raises an interesting question:
What’s wrong with these guys?
The answer: Nothing that isn’t wrong with the rest of the congressional field. Which is a lot. But Meister and Mooney stand out from their competitors in their respective primaries in that they haven’t got the slightest chances of winning.
I mean, even Mike Brennan has some kind of shot. Although it would probably require the ground opening up and swallowing York County and the midcoast, as well as malfunctions in every voting machine in Cumberland County, rendering them incapable of counting ballots for anyone whose last name didn’t begin with the letter “B.” Even then, it’d be close.
But back to the new guys. Mooney, 43, is entering the GOP race for the seat representing northern and western Maine. He’s a property manager and sometimes social service coordinator, whose political experience consists of two unsuccessful attempts to win election to the Legislature. In 2002, he lost a bid for the state Senate to Tom Sawyer. But wait, isn’t Sawyer a Republican? Oh, I see, back in ’02, Mooney was a Democrat. That distinguishes him from his primary opponent, John Frary, who first registered in the GOP while still in the womb.
Mooney said he dumped the Dems, because donkey party honchos had the gall to ask him to step aside as a candidate after the June primary to make way for former legislator Sean Faircloth. Faircloth had just lost a bid for Congress and hoped to salvage his political reputation by returning to the Legislature. Mooney’s refusal, as well as his opposition to abortion, alienated him from the Democratic machine, which never delivered promised help for his campaign. Soon after losing to Sawyer, Mooney jumped to the Republicans.
Although, it wasn’t entirely a matter of spite. “I really don’t like what the Democrats have done over the decades ... to the business environment of the state,” he said.
In 2006, Mooney tried again, running for a Bangor House seat, but losing the primary to what he described as “a typical Republican candidate, an established business type, older. The traditional Republican feels more comfortable with an older candidate.”
The traditional Republican may also feel more comfortable with a candidate with less Democratic baggage. Mooney favors same-sex marriage, a definite date for cutting off funding for the war in Iraq and universal health care — although not necessarily a government-administered system. He also wants elected officials to work with business leaders to “develop a vision” for improving Maine’s economy. Which sounds like something Democratic Governor John Baldacci would say. (Activate the coincidence alarm. Just after writing that sentence about Baldacci, I received a gubernatorial press release in which he advocates creating “a public-private partnership that provides nonpartisan perspectives on issues related to business and economic growth within the state.” See, I don’t just make this stuff up.)