Monday, October 29, 2012

So, I just voted.

I voted for marriage equality, as I'm sure all you could have guessed.  I voted for Barack Obama, as I'm sure all of you could have guessed.  I voted for Angus King, even though I didn't really want to.  That is what I'll be talking about here.

Those who read a recent comment at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings are about to get a sense of deja vu bcause they've heard this story before.

Angus King is a well known former Governor and is an Independent   When Michael Moore described Maine by saying that it had two Democrats in the House, two Republicans in the Senate, and an Independent for Governor he was talking about Angus King.

When he was Governor I met him briefly for what was a photo op (I've checked, I can't find the photo) because robots are fun and high school is important, and our team was really good, and that's the sort of thing that can bring a Governor to visit with cameras in tow.  I had to sign a release saying they could use my picture and everything.  He seemed nice enough, and I have no person grudge against him.

And I'm pissed off at him.  And I just voted for him.

I didn't want to vote for him, I wanted to vote for Chellie Pingree (I did, just not for Senate) and that didn't happen because she eventually decided not to run for Senate after all.  Why did she make that decision?  Angus King.

When he jumped in she walked away and to understand why we have to go back to 2010.  The 2010 elections sucked in a great many ways, but in Maine they had an extra dimension of "Ugh!" when they left us with a Governor 61% of the people voted against.

How did this happen? You may or may not ask.  Well it went like this:

The Republicans nominated Paul LePage.  The Democrats nominated Libby Mitchell.  Well known Independent Eliot Cutler nominated himself.  There were two other candidates on the ballot, and a couple of write in things, but they didn't really matter.  What mattered was Republican-Independent-Democrat.

Three way races often have a habit of collapsing into two way races, but this race did something strange, it collapsed into two different two way races.  Depending on where you were standing it was either a race between LePage and Cutler, and other people who don't really matter, or a race between LePage and Mitchell, and other people who don't really matter.

Wherever you were standing most of the votes went to the local, "Not-LePage", but since LePage was the only one in both of the de facto two way races he was able to get the most votes.  39% of the vote was more than anyone else, Maine goes by a "Most votes wins," system, and so we now have Governor LePage.

This is the person telling the NAACP to kiss his ass when discussing Martin Luther King day, who holds works of are hostage because... because... well you get a different answer depending on which part of the administration you ask, where the Governor is standing, and which way the wind is blowing.  His press team gives one answer.  His lawyers another.  He himself gives many completely contradictory ones, but it is notable that the set of answers he gives when addressing Mainers is completely unrelated to the set he gives when addressing the nation as a whole; it's as if he's talking about completely different things.

The original explanation was that a single anonymous email said that a picture depicting labor history favored Labor over the corrupt business people they were fighting against in those historical settings (and if you look into your history, you'll see that those business people were corrupt, sometimes to the level of outright evil.) and that was an unacceptable lack of balance so the work of art had to be stolen and held hostage in an undisclosed location.

This pro-Business slant might be why he's made it so we're no longer "Vacationland" or "The Way Life Should Be" but instead our motto should be "Open for Business" because we want businesses to view us as a place to come for cheap labor and low regulations.

In general LePage has never managed to appear in the news in a way that didn't make him a national embarrassment.  One newspaper columnist wrote an open letter to Kathleen Sebelius begging her to keep LePage occupied for as long as possible when he came to her asking (or was it demanding?) that she do something both impossible and illegal just so that we could get some damn work done while he was out of the state.

Cut to the beginnings of the Senate race.  Olympia Snowe, after selling her soul to appeal to Republican primary voters, realized she still couldn't win a Republican primary.  She announced she would not run again.  I hoped this would be enough incentive for Chellie Pingree to run for Senate, and it seemed to be.  It reached the point where her run was all but official.

Enter Angus King.  He announced his run as an Independent.

Suddenly everyone's mind is back on 2010 and the fact that we still have to wake up each morning to the knowledge that our Governor is Paul LePage and if we think about it too much morning turns into mourning.

Angus King, like Elliot Cutler, is a credible enough independent candidate that we're looking at another three way race Republican-Independent-Democrat.  We know how that turned out last time.  It left us with Governor LePage.  The last thing the majority of Mainers want is Senator-LaPage-alike.

Angus isn't going to back down, so the only way to make sure we don't get the LePagamuffin as Senator via the majority being split is for the Democrats to concede the race.

Chellie Pingree's all but official run is ended.  The Democrats end up offering up little known, little experienced and chance-not-having Cynthia Dill as their nominee.  (She happens to be my representative in the State Senate, for what it's worth.  She only got elected to there in 2010.)

And so the race became Republican vs. Independent with a vote for Dill being a protest vote that will have no effect upon the actual outcome.  I don't believe in protest voting, I believe in voting for the least bad option that has a chance of winning.

So I voted for Angus because he is the least bad option that stands a chance of winning, to quote Argo which I recommend, "This is the best bad idea we have."

So I've just voted for an Independent who won't even tell us who he'll caucus with (if he doesn't caucus with a major party he gets no committee assignments which severely limits his influence and power.)  Also, if you were to place him on the Democratic to Republican scale you'd find him to be a moderate Republican, like Snowe was before she sold her soul.  I wanted to vote for a Democrat.  More than that, I wanted to vote for Chellie Pingree.

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