Happy hellish new year.
There’s every indication 2022 is going to be the worst year since the Dark Ages, although the incidence of medical misinformation may be slightly improved. At least the anti-vaxxers aren’t yet calling for treating Omicron with leaches.
Still, the next 365 days promise unrelenting waves of misery for everyone from the immunocompromised to baseball fans to cats. There’ll be no such thing as a relaxing visit to your favorite bar or restaurant. There’ll be no such thing as effective starting pitching for the Boston Red Sox. And the disrupted supply chain means the only food your finicky feline will eat will be unavailable.
That’s hardly the worst of it.
This coming year will feature a gubernatorial election, which means the only way you can avoid obnoxious political attack ads sponsored by shady political action committees is to never turn on your TV, your computer or your toaster oven. The onslaught of commercials both for and against Democratic incumbent Janet Mills and former Republican governor Paul LePage is scheduled to begin before mud season ends and to continue without interruption until November.
Other than the names of the candidates, not one word in any of these screeds will be accurate. Come to think of it, there’s no guarantee they won’t deliberately misidentify Mills and LePage in an effort to confuse voters.
Once the ads end, you’ll get to enjoy the loser complaining that the vote was fraudulent, which, thanks to Donald Trump, has now become standard post-election behavior for immature egomaniacs.
If you should need a break from the gubernatorial smear campaigns, you’re in luck. Ads are already airing attacking and defending 2nd District Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, with right-wing PACs claiming he’s a socialist and left-wing PACs portraying him as a crypto-fascist.
Meanwhile, Golden’s likely GOP opponent, former Congressman Bruce Poliquin, will be offering his usual convoluted explanations as to why he should be considered a resident of the 2nd District. During his previous foray in Washington, Poliquin claimed he lived in a rented room in Oakland, on the border of his district. His new imaginary address is Orrington, a much more central location.
Unfortunately for Poliquin, there’s a greater chance he’ll get lost on the drive from his actual home in an oceanfront mansion in the 1st District municipality of Georgetown.
Bruce wouldn’t have such a problem with his residency if he just stayed in his southern Maine neighborhood. In Portland, the Charter Commission, dominated by progressives, seems poised to alter the city’s fundamental governing document to allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections. Maybe Orrington could offer the same deal to fake residents.
Speaking of Portland, the liberals that now control virtually every aspect of city government are likely to impose a wide range of idealistic policies upon the populace. Expect a stricter form of rent control (because the looser version currently in place seems to be impossible to enforce), a stronger mayor (because there’s nothing better for democracy than a political boss) and a weaker police force (because the boss doesn’t want to be bothered with criminal investigations).
Will there be another lockdown as Covid-19 cases overwhelm the medical system? Of course not. It’s an election year.
Will there be a meaningful response to the record number of drug-overdose deaths? Of course not. Such a program would be expensive and might require treating those addicted to opioids as human beings. That doesn’t happen in election years.
Will there be a plan to address the shortage of affordable housing in the state? Of course not. The nearest thing to a solution will be to turn all of Maine into one giant Cape Elizabeth, where rich people never have to worry about encountering anyone from the lower classes – even though they can’t get their driveways plowed or their lawns mowed. We’ll worry about that when it’s no longer an election year.
Because once 2022 gets done with us, I’m imagining 2023 is gonna seem like paradise.
Correction: In last week’s column, I erroneously referred to Willy Ritch as working for a PAC seeking to defeat Question 1. Ritch has limited his work for CMP to attempting to defeat public power.
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