Politics & Other Mistakes: One foot in the grave

7 mins read

Here’s who the Maine Republican Party should nominate for governor in 2010:

A zombie.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the monster-movie kind or the tiki-bar-cocktail kind. One is brain-dead. The other makes you brain-dead. Either would be an improvement over the array of allegedly living GOP contenders for the nomination.

For that matter, so would a mummy. Or a mai tai.

In fact, the perfect Republican gubernatorial candidate would be a member of the undead who’s also a bartender. At worst, such a nominee would liven up the post-election celebration (“Look, there’s a finger in my drink”). At best, he or she would frighten the faithful into doing some serious thinking about what they stand for, what they hope to accomplish and how to effectively communicate that message to voters (“Look, there are brains all over our platform”).

Al Diamon

It’s not as if having a standard-bearer who’s more-or-less deceased would require a major policy shift. Republicans already act as if their preferred mode of travel is in the back of a hearse, their favorite campaign location is a cemetery, and their most successful fundraiser is GOP Goth night (“I told you, Sen. Collins, black is the new red”). A vampire as the nominee would fit right in. And a candidate from beyond the grave might be just the thing to enliven (so to speak) the proceedings, shocking Republicans into shedding their rigor mortis and becoming competitive again.

The reason the GOP could go from dead to ahead in the polls in a hurry is because their competition is …well, let me phrase this as delicately as possible.

Maine Democrats appear to be full-throttle, Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre wacko.

Just take a look at a representative sampling of the Dems’ legislative agenda. It includes:

• A bill to make it illegal to reveal what a specific state employee is paid.

• A bill to make it all but impossible to build any large-scale commercial projects anywhere in rural Maine.

• A bill to make creating jobs during a recession less of a priority than fighting global warming.

• A bill to reduce lighting after sundown, so we can see the stars. But not the things that go bump in the night.

In contrast, here’s a selection from the Republicans’ agenda, as spelled out by the party’s legislative leadership at a little-noticed news conference on April 9 (the lack of interest on the part of the media may have had something to do with the clever idea of announcing a legislative agenda after two-thirds of the current session was already over).

The GOP wants to give us:

• A “Caring” government. Like I care.

• A requirement that before graduating from high school, students should have a basic knowledge of “consumer science.” Will they get to dissect a consumer?

• A plan to lower the income tax – just as soon as the economy improves, state revenues rebound and pigs fly.

What isn’t mentioned is:

Much of anything about putting people back to work or keeping the people who are working from being laid off. House Minority Leader Joshua Tardy, one of the aforementioned, semi-comatose gubernatorial candidates, did say he was in favor of “a strong employment base and better jobs, greater prosperity for our citizens,” but never explained how the GOP intended to accomplish that.

Subsidies for flying-pig farms, maybe?

This lack of initiative, innovation and intelligence on the part of the pachyderm party leaves voters with a choice between the mad (Democrats) and the mummified (Republicans). Since nutty candidates are way more entertaining than politicians hooked up to life support even though all brain function has ceased, it’s no wonder the Dems prevail. Not only does the GOP need to look alive, it also needs proposals that can score against the competition’s on the insanity scale. Here are some psychiatrically questionable possibilities:

• Eliminate the state Department of Education. Admit it, you have no idea what those bureaucrats do all day, except make life miserable for local schools that don’t want to consolidate.

• Eliminate the state Department of Economic and Community Development. You see any development going on? Me neither.

• Fire any state employee who, during working hours, uses one or more of the following meaningless phrases: “creative economy,” “sustainable growth,” “safety net,” “governmental transparency,” “public-private partnership,” “an open process that welcomes input from all stakeholders” and “Senate President Libby Mitchell has some great ideas.” Make sensible English the official state language.

• Endorse the TABOR II referendum to cap state spending that’s on the November ballot. Promise that if it passes, the GOP will immediately cut the income tax by more than the Democrats ever dared and expand the sales tax by similar proportions.

• Lower the retail price of liquor. Take a few million bucks back from New Hampshire. With every purchase, you get a free recipe for zombies.

Also, a new party slogan:

Better the living dead than living in the red.

Grave concerns may be e-mailed to me at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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