But this wish is tempered with a harder reality, such as when he condemns today's broken political system with lines like "institutional lying has become part of the fabric of our political system" and accuses not just the leaders but also the followers of failing to protect the American experiment. "In effect, it's all our fault," he says, following that with an admission that it's an uphill slog to seek votes from people while telling them they're the problem.

feat_senate_AndrewIanDodge
ANDREW IAN DODGE, THE RABBLE-ROUSER

Dodge got into this race because of a promise to his father, who died shortly afterward. A Maine Tea Party Patriot coordinator whose vow to drive Olympia Snowe from office failed to win him the Republican primary, Dodge declared independency after the loss and has tried to wax more libertarian (including speaking recently before a USM appearance of Libertarian Party veep candidate James Gray) while keeping his ultra-conservative but very personable campaign going for the November election.

Dodge's conversation is punctuated with an occasional English-accented word or turn of phrase, recalling his work for, as he describes them, "unsuccessful" UK parliament races, as well as his time studying at the University of Hull in Yorkshire, almost 20 years ago. He regularly refers to his studies — which also include a 1989 BA in political science from Colby College — as qualifications for his Senate run.

His is an off-beat effort, perhaps most obviously distinct from most candidacies by its bright-yellow comic-book "kapow" logo. Dodge embraces this aesthetic, even "opening" for a trio of metal bands in Gardiner the night after the USM event.

"I'm perfectly happy to say things that piss people off," he says — and so he does, not shying away from taking fairly absolutist stands, and brooking little moderation. He rejects the idea that humans are influencing global climate change, thinks Paul Ryan's budget-reform plan does not go far enough in cutting federal services and spending, and would abolish the federal Department of Education. He opposes the Affordable Care Act and objects to federal funding of any kind for Planned Parenthood (even for non-abortion services). He's against raising taxes on the rich, and instead promotes a "flat" tax system — as well as the dramatically reduced federal spending such a system would mean. He wants to expand NAFTA and lower barriers to trade with other English-speaking countries. At the same time, he wants to "de-fund the UN and suggest it move elsewhere" from its current New York home.

Endorsed by the Libertarian Party of Maine, he also is in favor of some left-wing causes: same-sex marriage, food sovereignty, and marijuana legalization. On immigration — his wife is English — he favors easing the legal arrival of skilled workers while wanting "strong border defenses," as his website words it. He wants to slash military funding, too, and eliminate all forms of corporate welfare.

And his logic is generally consistent — if at times arriving at politically questionable suggestions. Government is too big, and should be dramatically reduced, he argues, returning direct exercise of sovereignty to the people (or, if collective action is necessary, the states). That includes privatizing Social Security and Medicare, programs he has claimed are poorly managed and wasteful despite their overwhelming effectiveness and popularity among citizens of all political stripes.

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