Never mind the bollocks

Politics + Other Mistakes  
By AL DIAMON  |  May 16, 2012

In the wake of its chaotic state convention, the Maine Republican Party has cleverly positioned itself to appeal to a whole new segment of the public: Anarchists.

While the straitlaced GOP might seem like an unattractive option for shaggy bomb-throwers with poor personal hygiene, there appears to be some common ground. On the convention floor, supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul were heard chanting lyrics from the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." "Don't know what I want, but I know how to get it," they shouted, while randomly dismantling the agenda, the platform, and the party leadership.

In an effort to redirect the Paul-bearers' march toward pandemonium, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney's campaign urged his followers to sing "God Save The Queen." Since no one has ever referred to Mitt as a queen, that desperate move made no sense and only added to the general air of disarray.

In the midst of this bedlam, the Ron-ettes managed to nominate a slate of delegates to the GOP National Convention that includes:

John Birch Society member Landon St. Peter, whose online musings include this party-crashing query: "As there's NO substantive difference between Romney and Obama, why would anyone vote for either??"

Pete "the Carpenter" Harring, Maine Tea Party founder, whose blogging scorn is strictly nonpartisan: "Both parties are trying to divide us and it is working," followed by 16 exclamation points.

Eric Brakey, the head of Paul's campaign in Maine, who, until recently, was a member of the Libertarian Party of New York.

Stavros Mendros, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to falsely notarizing petition signatures, was the front man for the unsuccessful 2011 casino referendum in Lewiston and during his time as a state representative was described by a reporter as "shrill, impatient, egotistical, self-serving, vastly ineffective and a political opportunist."

Eat your heart out, Sid Vicious.

The nearest thing to a normal delegate the Paul-verizers could support was Governor Paul LePage, who's officially uncommitted. Maybe, they just liked his first name.

In practical terms, the reduction of the Republican convention to rubble produced only modest immediate fallout. The six US Senate candidates lost out on a chance to distinguish themselves by seeing which could choreograph the best "spontaneous" floor demonstration. The party's state committee got stacked with Ron-droids programmed to fire GOP chairman Charlie Webster. And the delegate selections may be invalidated by legal challenges from miffed Mitt-ens, thereby proving that more than one side can pander to the anarchists.

Of those results, only the possible ouster of Webster is likely to have serious implications. He was the architect of the Republicans' surprise victories in the 2010 legislative races. Without his undivided attention on the 2012 elections, it's all but certain the GOP will lose control of the state House, and their Senate majority will shrink.

Webster was adept at keeping his recruits on message. His Paul-try attackers have displayed no such skill. The party's prospects won't be improved by being linked to crackpots claiming the United Nations is secretly attempting to take over the local planning board.

For mainstream Republicans, this year will likely go down as an opportunity lost. With Maine Democrats lacking both strong leaders and a clear message — except that they oppose anything LePage does — the GOP could have employed a unified battle plan to cement the gains it made two years ago, and position itself for a decade of dominance in Augusta.

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