The Universal Notebook: And the winner is … Jared Golden

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Compared to the nauseating barrage of political ads flung back and forth between Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and Democrat Sara Gideon, even the campaign ads for President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden seem tame and polite.

But for refreshing candor and decency, the clear winner is U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, the incumbent Democrat in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. 

Where challenger Dale Crafts goes low every chance he gets with outright lies, Golden goes high, promoting himself while saying little about his Republican opponent. Golden leads in every poll by 10 to 20 points and should win easily, but you never know these days.

One of the bogus Republican attack ads features images of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, and warns viewers “there are extreme liberals who want to defund the police and Jared Golden sides with them.”

What a total crock. TV stations should be fined for airing such falsehoods. When Golden and Crafts were in the state Legislature, Golden voted to give state police a raise and to buy bulletproof vests for law enforcement officers. Crafts voted against both bills. 

In Congress, not only does Golden not support defunding the police, he co-sponsored a bill to defund jurisdictions that do defund the police. And while we’re on the subject of Crafts’ whoppers, did you hear the one about how he told conservative talk show host Howie Carr that he had been endorsed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine?

“Did I say that?” Crafts replied when a reporter confronted him with his lie. “If I said that, I was absolutely wrong. I don’t know why I said that.”

I do. Because Republicans play fast and loose with the truth.

A more recent attack ad tries to link Golden to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another of the far right’s Demo-demons. To start with, Golden was one of only 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi for speaker of the house. And when it comes to towing the Pelosi line, Golden is way out of line. In fact, he is one of the Democrats in Congress most apt to vote with Trump. He only voted with Trump 9.5 percent of the time, mind you, but that’s second only to – drum roll, please – Ocasio-Cortez at 14.3 percent.  

Golden gets the award for running the cleanest, most positive campaign in Maine unless Chellie Pingree is running against someone. If so I haven’t heard.

Golden’s ads are models of what political ads should be, promotions of his own qualifications and positions with hardly a word about his hapless opponent. His television spots feature endorsements by his wife and by former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who was a Republican back when some of them still had honor and integrity.

Golden is a combat veteran who supports law enforcement and is more likely to support Trump than most Democrats. He’s too conservative for the likes of me, but he’s perfect for the 2nd District. Crafts is a LePage-Trump wannabe, a phony tough guy who votes against the police and has nothing to offer the people of Maine except misinformation and a slavish devotion to ideology.

Political ads are aimed at voters who have not made up their minds, but at this point, it’s hard to believe any responsible adult is undecided between Trump and Biden, Collins and Gideon, Pingree and Dr. Who, or Golden and Crafts. If you want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, Roe v. Wade, Medicare, and Social Security, by all means, vote Republican.

Otherwise, you have no choice but to vote Democrat.

Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix, where he also writes the monthly Art Seen feature.