Not your kind of people

Politics + Other Mistakes
By AL DIAMON  |  May 30, 2012

If you're an independent, you know that one of the advantages of not belonging to a political party is that you don't have to help choose the US Senate nominees for the Republicans and Democrats from a list of retreads, reactionaries, rejects, and rectums.

Of the 10 people seeking the nominations, three and a half could be considered marginally qualified. Three and a half are utterly unqualified, but no more so than several sitting senators. And three should have their licenses to impersonate sentient beings revoked.

Let's start with the best the donkeys and elephants can muster.

The GOP's Rick Bennett, a former state Senate president, has leadership qualities, clear positions on issues, and the name recognition of the Portland Sea Dogs' equipment manager. Outside his home base in Oxford County, his campaign has been anemic (although, putting 50 lawn signs in a bunch on a median strip in Portland did result in one person asking me, "Bennett who?"). As a senator, he'd be a lot like Olympia Snowe, except with different genitals.

Republican Bill Schneider has an excellent resume (Green Beret, federal prosecutor, Maine's current attorney general), an engaging personality, and an odd TV spot that says he "fought every day to put an end to Obamacare." He did? Where? On Xbox? Schneider is even less well known than Bennett, and his unfocused campaign could form the basis for a video game called Mass Ineffectiveness. If he makes it to DC, he, too, would vote a lot like Snowe.

Name recognition isn't Charlie Summers's problem, at least in southern Maine. He's been a GOP candidate for Congress in the state's 1st District three times — without coming close to winning. Summers currently serves as secretary of state and, for what it's worth, was once a legislator. His solution to all the country's problems seems to be getting rid of the Department of Education. If you liked Snowe, you'll probably be able to tolerate Summers.

And the above-mentioned half: the upper portion of Democrat Matt Dunlap. He was a terrible secretary of state, once missing a crucial deadline for certifying referendum signatures. But he later did a decent job filling in as head of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, so he gets the benefit of the doubt. Also, he looks sort of acceptable when compared to the rest of the Dem field — although almost anyone would. As a senator, he'd be more liberal than Snowe, but not by much.

Now for the unqualified-but-not-unimaginable candidates:

Dunlap's lower half falls in this category, for reasons already mentioned.

Republican Bruce Poliquin is Maine's ethically challenged state treasurer and was a gentleman tree farmer, until the discovery of ethical problems there, too. He tries to overcome his grating personality by always standing as close to Governor Paul LePage as he can get. Poliquin thinks he has the Tea Party vote sewed up, and he could be right, because they're pretty desperate. He'd be far more conservative than Snowe, stopping just short of the lunatic fringe.

Democrat Jon Hinck is a founder of Greenpeace, a lawyer, and a legislator of the extreme liberal sort that gets elected in Portland, but almost nowhere else in the state. He's little known, poorly financed, and a less-than-engaging campaigner, although every now and then he shows signs that with a little more experience — say a couple of decades — he could be somewhat competitive. To the left of Snowe. Way, way to the left.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Talking Politics , Democrats, Republicans, elections,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY AL DIAMON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE E.C. PLAN  |  September 12, 2014
    Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler has proposed a much-needed change in the way Maine chooses its governor. Under the Cutler plan, the only people allowed to run would be those with the initials E.C.  
  •   PIMPING AND PANDERING  |  September 03, 2014
    And so, the excitement of the fall political campaigns begins.  
  •   BEAR WITH ME  |  August 31, 2014
    It’s the fall of 2015. A bear walks into a doughnut shop in Portland and says, “Give me two dozen assorted to go.”  
  •   LOOK OUT, CLEVELAND  |  August 21, 2014
    Eric Brakey is an energetic guy. But as an admirer of sloth, I have intense disdain for the excessively active.  
  •   LET 'EM FIGHT  |  August 14, 2014
    Politics and Other Mistakes

 See all articles by: AL DIAMON