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Maine Democrats about to get shellacked in the gubernatorial race

Portland Press-Herald:

[Republican Paul] LePage leads [Democrat Mike] Michaud 45 percent to 35 percent, with independent Eliot Cutler at 16 percent and 4 percent undecided, according to the poll of 639 likely voters conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. The landline and cellphone poll has a 3.8 percent margin of error and was conducted from Oct. 15 to 21, a period that coincided with three televised debates, leaving questions about whether the forums affected the results.

The findings include results that show respondents view Michaud as the more likable candidate, but they believe LePage better understands them.

Opening a ten-point lead with a little more than a week to go? Debates or no, that's not good news for the Democrats.[1]

And in a way, I get that "better understands them." For all that he's gay and out, Michaud is a colorless functionary within the Democratic nomenklatura who has little to recommend him other than his party affiliation. He's not an Edmund Muskie, or even a George Mitchell. There's no there there. By contrast, LePage may be an asshole -- and by "may," I mean "is" -- but he's our asshole. There's no institution that speaks to deep Maine more than Marden's, and LePage was the CEO:

Now, I don't want to romanticize Marden's at all, or Mainers; deep Maine has a mean streak a mile wide and several feet deep. (The last Democratic apparatchik to put a Republican governor in office by losing a three-way, Libby Mitchell, said she never got so much hate mail as when she advocated for school lunches for poor kids, and I believe her.) And Marden's is just a depressing store to be in, even more depressing than WalMart; it's like the store's theory is that people ought to be poor, and walk all hunched over under fluorescent lighting for the rest of their natural lives in thick layers of poorly cut clothing made from cheap fabrics. Because I had life hard, dammit, and so should you!

But. When I needed a carpet runner for the back stairwell, I went to Marden's and got super quality, rugged and thick, at a great price, even if it wasn't quite the pattern I wanted, and the next year, when I went to the more pleasant and congenial Home Depot environment for the front stairwell, they sold me a petroleum-based runner with a pattern that looked terrific, but which shed red fluff all over the white-painted stairwell, and it's still shedding, after two years, at least. So, like that.

Anyhow, it looks like the Democrats are blowing it in Massachusetts, too:

Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center, said the margin between LePage and Michaud is surprising, but the governor’s lead isn’t. He said similar results are appearing in other states, including Massachusetts, where a Boston Globe poll of the gubernatorial race released Friday showed Republican Charlie Baker surging to a 9-point lead over Martha Coakley[2] after weeks of the two candidates exchanging small leads.

So, it looks like the iron law of institutions is catching up with the Democrats again. Wow. Who could have seen that coming?[3]

[1] In retrospect, this was signaled when Bush the Elder and "America's Grandmother" [cough] Barbara Bush endorsed LePage in a letter to the editor on October 22:

We especially admire the tenacity with which Paul implemented his plan to pay off the state’s debt to its hospitals, which included both the Dorothy Walker Bush Pavilion at Southern Maine Medical Center as well as the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center.

The Bushes would never have gone down with the LePage ship; na ga happen. Internal polling must have shown LePage pulling ahead even then.

[2] This would be the Coakely who blew it in 2010, by taking a $20 million dollar fine off Golden Sacks as Attorney General, and then not running on it, losing to Cosmo pin-up boy Scott Brown.

[3] Here's an alternative candidate with a more populist message. Say what you like about whether Troy Jackson believed what he said; at least he cared enough to fake it!

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twonine's picture
Submitted by twonine on

Your footnote on Barbara Bush endorsing LePage reminded me of this:

On James McMurtry's "Live in Ought-Three" CD (between song patter): "You know what Nixon said about Barbara, don't you? When asked about George Herbert Walker Bush, Nixon said, 'Yeah, he's OK, he can do his job and all; he's just not very interesting. Now Barbara: She's interesting. She knows how to hate.' "

Troy Jackson seems like the real deal. He didn't say "bipartisan" once in that speech. He might even get along with Jim Hightower.

Submitted by lambert on

... and I see why Nixon could say what he said.

I don't know if Jackson's record bears out his message. But it's nice to heat the right rhetoric at least. We've got to start somewhere.