Politics & Other Mistakes: Requiem for political zombies

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There’s no truth to the rumor that newly re-elected Democratic Gov. Janet Mills intends to have Paul LePage’s head mounted on a plaque and displayed above the Blaine House mantel.

But it’s easy to see how these sorts of barbaric (by which I mean enjoyable) falsehoods get started. After last week’s lopsided loss, LePage’s aging carcass looked like a tempting target for taxidermy. However, a more reasonable scenario calls for the former Republican governor’s sizable (headless?) bulk to be packed in dry ice and returned to Florida, where he once claimed residence and assorted tax breaks. In spite of telling supporters on election night, “Next time,” LePage is more likely to slide into the obscurity of forced obsolescence, just another cranky old man shaking his fist at flamingos, alligators and Democrats.

As this election demonstrated, LePage’s brand of bombast laced with fanciful re-imaginings of his turbulent time in office has worn thin with an electorate weary of being bullied and lied to. He is, to put it kindly, old and in the way.

Al DiamonOf course, Mills is equally aged, but Mainers can rest easy knowing term limits will force her to slide into the crypt of retirement in 2026. By that time, perhaps we can put together some ballot choices that don’t resemble the featured speakers at an AARP convention.

Speaking of clearing out the deadwood, voters in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District did their part. By re-electing the relatively youthful Democrat Jared Golden to a third term they’ve increased the likelihood we’ll never have to put up with Republican Bruce Poliquin again. After Poliquin’s defeat (with an assist from ranked-choice voting) in his bid to return to Congress, it’s now possible his long string of campaigns for governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House (not to mention a stint as state treasurer) has come to an end. We have reason to hope there’ll be no more cringeworthy TV spots featuring him sucking up to his alleged bestie, Paul LePage.

Of course, this is Poliquin we’re discussing, whose lust for validation as Somebody of Consequence makes Donald Trump look humble. Somewhere deep in his shriveled, little soul, with its record of runs for major office that now stands at a less-than-stellar two wins and four losses, he’s already contemplating a comeback in 2024. The House seat he couldn’t quite manage to regain will once again be up for grabs. Incumbent and aged U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Depends) will be retiring. Unless the GOP has learned its lesson, Poliquin could skip another confrontation with Golden and make a futile attempt to become the GOP nominee for that seat.

Alternatively, he could decide to switch his official residence from Orrington (where he maintains an address strictly for the political purpose of pretending to live in the district he was seeking to represent) back to Georgetown (where he really lives in a seaside mansion he’d rather that rural, blue-collar voters didn’t know about). That would make him eligible for membership on the town Shellfish Conservation Committee.

If so, that would be good news for everyone outside of Georgetown, but bad news for clams.

Or Poliquin could take the hint voters of all partisan persuasions have been trying to convey for some time and call it quits. He might consider following LePage to Florida, where there’d be an increased chance he’d be eaten by one of those alligators the ex-guv chased off his lawn.

Note to the gator: Given Poliquin’s diminutive size, you’ll probably need another full-bodied pol to make up a decent meal.

In the 1st District, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Dotage) can no longer claim any influence in a GOP-controlled House, so Maine won’t lose much clout when her liberal electorate declares her redundant in 2024 and replaces her with somebody south of the Social Security eligibility line.

And if Republican Susan Collins (friend of the Great and Powerful Mehmet Oz) still has the mental capacity to gracefully retire when her Senate term expires in 2026, this state will have an opportunity to refill its congressional delegation with bodies (and brains) that aren’t ossified.

By that, I don’t mean we should dig up Sara Gideon or Ethan Strimling.

Grave concerns can be emailed to [email protected].

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