Strange bedfellows

Grossman conspires with wingnuts
By AL DIAMON  |  June 1, 2011

It doesn't get weirder than this.

A liberal Democrat from California wants to help conservative Republicans in Maine find somebody to run against moderate GOP US Senator Olympia Snowe.

OK, it might get weirder if it involved space aliens. But barring a UFO snatching Snowe's husband — John McKernan, former governor and current chairman of the board of Education Management Corp., a for-profit college operator accused of using improper student-recruiting techniques ("You promised our little Xzzrrx she'd qualify to be an intergalactic pilot, even though she flunked out of flight-attendant school for spilling hot coffee on the ice people of Antares Scorpii IV") — this is as strange as it gets.

Unless more legislators decide to pull guns on strangers in doughnut-shop parking lots.

Anyway, back to the California kook. He's Joshua Grossman of Oakland, and on his website, he says he's "memorized/tracked the names, voting records & political state/district demography of all 535 members of Congress since he was thirteen years old." Grossman's organization, called Progressive Kick ("Give Conservatives The Boot!"), claims it had a big impact on races in Nevada and Delaware last year and in Wisconsin recently, although I couldn't find any evidence of that.

A couple of weeks ago, Grossman called Carol Weston of Montville, a former GOP state senator and current Maine director of the conservative advocacy group Americans For Prosperity. Weston had been rumored to be considering a primary challenge to Snowe, but now says she has "no plans" to do so.

That doesn't mean Weston is supporting the incumbent, as she is unhappy with the senator's lackluster record of support for right-wing causes. But she's not about to endorse idiots with no cash and no clue, just because they hold positions that make Republican Governor Paul LePage look like a liberal.

"My question to those people is 'What strategy do you have?'" she said. "How can you win a primary and a general election? They have to look at both of these scenarios."

Weston seems rational. Which is more than can be said for Scott D'Amboise of Lisbon Falls and Andrew Ian Dodge of Harpswell, both of whom have announced they're taking on Snowe in the GOP primary, even though both graduated from college with degrees in whackjob. While polls have shown most Republican voters prefer someone more conservative than Snowe, those same voters, confronted with D'Amboise and Dodge, said they'd rather be probed anally by creatures from outer space.

Which is where Grossman thinks he comes in.

No, not the anal probe.

This guy wants Weston to help him find a conservative wingnut to knock off Snowe next June, thereby allowing the Democrats to take the Senate seat in November.

"When I didn't express any interest, he got frustrated," said Weston. "He said he'd just have to find a man with more guts."

He'd also have to find a Democratic candidate. In the unlikely event that some frothing-at-the-mouth maniac defeats Snowe in the primary, the donkey party has nobody running who's even as credible as D'Amboise or Dodge. So Republicans still might hold the seat.

Then, there's the evidence that Maine's senior senator isn't vulnerable to attacks from either the left or right, given her ability to adjust to changes in the political climate. It's not so much that Snowe switches positions to suit the electoral mood (although, she's not adverse to doing so). It's that she adjusts her image so it appears she's in the political mainstream, wherever that might be at the moment.

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