Politics & Other Mistakes: Looking (down) at Little Brucie

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Bruce Poliquin, the Republican candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat, likes to keep a low profile. That’s not too difficult, because he’s short.

Oops, sorry. In the previous paragraph, I had no intention of body shaming Little Brucie for his lack of verticality. When I used the word “short,” I was referring to his interactions with journalists. Poliquin is notorious for either not answering tough questions (his infamous attempt during his earlier stint in Congress to avoid a reporter by fleeing into a women’s restroom) or replying in ways that have nothing to do with the query (usually some blather about inflation, even if he was asked about abortion or Trump).

Al DiamonSometimes, Poliquin gets away with this nonsense. When Politico recently posted a story about how the “Republican center” was staging a comeback in New England, it said Poliquin described himself as “center-right” on the political spectrum, more than willing to work across the aisle with Democrats. Then, he launched into his usual spiel about higher prices for heating oil, milk and beer.

Poliquin’s campaign rushed out a news release claiming the Politico story “highlights that Mainers are looking for ‘common sense’ Republicans like Bruce Poliquin to bring down record high inflation. …” In reality, the article doesn’t mention a single Mainer except Poliquin saying those things. And polls have shown Poliquin trailing incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, whose maverick voting record gives him a solid claim to the label center-left.

Poliquin’s efforts to obscure his political positions have a long history, dating back to his ill-fated run for governor in 2010, his unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2012 and his two terms in the U.S. House before losing to Golden in 2018. In all that time, there’s little evidence to support his claim of being any sort of centrist.

Poliquin is anti-abortion, but refuses to discuss what sorts of restrictions he’d place on the procedure. His voting record indicates little sympathy for LGBTQ rights or same-sex marriage, but you’d be hard pressed to find him commenting on those topics. He supported nearly all of Trump’s agenda, but refused to say if he voted for the orange hairball.

Poliquin’s platform is easy to overlook. And I hasten to add that statement in no way reflects the fact he drives a custom car he bought from a Smurf. When he’s been forced to take a stand, he tends to muddle matters up to avoid appearing rigidly right-wing.

After the FBI’s search of Trump’s Florida mansion, Poliquin expressed his outrage only in the form of questions (did he think he was on Jeopardy?) and a pledge to investigate (not Trump, but the FBI). And yet he wonders how local police unions could have endorsed Golden instead of him. He also opposed Joe Biden’s health-care and climate-change bill because it called for increased tax scrutiny of millionaires (such as himself) and because Biden is taller than he is.

One issue on which Poliquin does have a clear position is gun control. And that stand is hardly what could be characterized as center-right. After GOP Sen. Susan Collins (who really is center-right) helped negotiate a fairly wimpy bill to assuage public concerns about recent mass shootings, she earned the support of the pro-gun Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine and Golden (who has a solid record of opposing gun control). But Poliquin didn’t dare defy the NRA and announced his opposition.

Other than that, Little Brucie is inclined to avoid anything that resembles decisiveness. He manages not to get trampled by those demanding to know where he stands by hiding behind the coattails of former Republican governor Paul LePage.

It was LePage who bestowed (a little) political success on Poliquin after his defeats for Senate and governor. He bullied the Legislature into selecting his one-time rival for the Blaine House as the state treasurer, giving Bruce his first (small) taste of power. He’s been addicted to it – and LePage – ever since.

The Poliquin answer to a lot of difficult questions is to claim he’ll do whatever it takes to advance whatever it is LePage wants advanced.

That provides some insight into Poliquin’s character.

A tiny insight.

Microscopic analysis of my opinions may be emailed to [email protected].