Politics & Other Mistakes: And the losers are …

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The Gaggie Awards are back. The Gaggies are named for Hayes Gahagan, an unsuccessful independent U.S. Senate candidate. In spite of his lack of ballot-box appeal, Gahagan still holds the record for the most entertaining news conference in Maine’s political history.

In 1976, Gahagan summoned reporters to announce that persons unknown had altered his campaign photos by inserting subliminal images of female genitalia in his hair. To prove his point, he produced huge enlargements of his coiffure.

Looked like dandruff to me.

Gahagan’s unconventional campaign tactic has continued to inspire political bumblers to this day. Hence, the Gaggie Awards.

Our first honoree is Dale Crafts, the Republican in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. In an October interview with Maine Public, Crafts, for some inexplicable reason, decided to discuss his gall bladder. He revealed that three years earlier, he’d had an attack of gall stones, but had refused an operation “because sometimes you end up with loose bowels.” Instead, Crafts said, he took some herbs recommended by a naturalist. They dissolved the stones, he said. “And my bowels work normal.”

We’re pleased to present Crafts with the Perhaps-You-Ought-to-Stick-to-Discussing-the-Issues Award.

Since August, I, like many independent voters, have been inundated with mailers from the U.S. Senate candidates. GOP Sen. Susan Collins and her surrogates sent me 25 flyers extolling her virtues or castigating Democratic state House Speaker Sara Gideon, her Democrat opponent. Not to be outdone, Gideon and her cohorts filled my mailbox with another two dozen-plus one brochures taking the opposite view. Given that many of these mailers arrived after I’d already voted, and considering Crafts’ concerns about his lower digestive tract, all this wood pulp could have been put to better use if it had been turned into toilet paper.

Due to pandemic-related shortages, we couldn’t obtain award-worthy TP. The best we could do was present Gideon and Collins each with a roll of single-ply and a small container of soothing ointment.

In the lily-white town of Kingfield, a lily-white citizen posted a homemade banner on his front lawn that read, “Black Voters for Trump.” The heterosexual resident later replaced it with one that proclaimed, “LGTBQ Voters for Trump.” (These unlikely groups could probably hold a joint meeting in a packing crate.)

No idea what the intent of these signs was, but it was certainly attention-grabbing and deserving of the Muddled-Messages-Are-More-Fun-Than-No-Messages-at-All Award.

Weary of politicians pushing the same tired ideas? Portland City Council hopeful Kenneth Capron is your boy. Capron wants a public transportation system based on “magnetic levitation” that runs little pods on rails around the city. He’d put yurts in Deering Oaks to house the homeless. And he’d charge insurance companies for the costs of fighting house fires.

Come on down, big fella, and accept the I-May-Be-Crazy-But-I-Ain’t-Dull Award.

Next, there’s the coveted I-Might-Be-Crazy-But-I’m-Probably-Just-Stupid Plaque. This honor is presented to GOP 1st Congressional District candidate Jay Allen, allegedly a medical doctor, for telling the Maine Sunday Telegram, “My interpretation is that the risk (of COVID-19) is not that high. I’m not exposed to the virus, that’s why I’m comfortable going around without a mask.”

Strengthening the stupid-over-crazy evidence, Allen, during a debate, referred to Asian-American members of the U.S. military as “Orientals.”

Democratic state Senate President Troy Jackson is often quick to speak, but slow to think. The latest example: Jackson is proposing legislation that would regulate “fake news” sites by forcing them to reveal who funds them and who wrote their stories. He came up with this semi-coherent idea after being made aware of anonymous online media that were attacking his Democratic pals.

Jackson receives the We-Suggest-You-Take-a-Course-in-Constitutional-Law-With-an-Emphasis-on-the-First-Amendment Award.

Finally, there’s Christina Hughes, a Republican state House candidate from Bath. On Facebook and in newspaper stories, Hughes said she held a management position at a domestic-violence organization, was the finance director of a pet-rescue group, and the organizer of a suicide-prevention march. According to the Times Record, none of that is true.

A loose grasp of the truth seems even worse than loose bowels.

Hughes receives the I-Learned-Everything-I-Know-About-Lying-from-Donald-Trump Award.

I’d be honored if you emailed me at [email protected].