Politics & Other Mistakes: Saying nothing

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Does it ever occur to candidates for governor that the glowing essays about themselves they post on their websites ought to make some kind of sense or contain actual positions on issues?

Apparently not.

Here are some perplexing examples.

According to Republican Garrett Mason’s site, “His mom worked at home, raising a family that pinched pennies sewing much of the childrens’ (sic) clothes. These are the values that have made him a lifelong conservative Republican.”

Sewing clothes isn’t a value. It’s a skill. Like learning proper punctuation. It’s also worth noting that Elvis Presley’s mom sewed his clothes, and he ended up a dope-addled recluse.

What Mason is trying to convey here is that his family didn’t have much money. Lots of candidates emphasize the same thing, attempting to out-poor each other, until the whole contest degenerates into a Monty Python routine. Somebody should tell them that some poor kids grow up to be governors, some grow up to be jerks, and some grow up to be both governors and jerks.

As a result, I’ll skip independent Terry Hayes’ childhood trauma and instead, note this gem from her home page: “As Governor, Terry will focus on moving the needle on key metrics.”

Translation? Sorry, I don’t speak biz-vomit.

Also, Hayes calls herself “an outsider on the inside of state government.” She’s been a state representative, a member of legislative leadership and is serving her second term as state treasurer. She brags about all the conflicts she’s resolved through behind-the-scenes negotiations. That’s sort of the definition of an insider.

Some candidates have attempted to mitigate their tendency to post something stupid by refusing to post much of anything. The nearest Democrat Jim Boyle comes to taking a stand on his single-page site is suggesting, “We need to pull together.” Democrat Diane Russell uses a similar amount of cyberspace in promising to “unrig the system.”

Pulling and unrigging. That seems less about governing and more about tug-of-war. Or bondage.

Democrat Mark Eves takes longer to say less. “We’ve got to start listening to people across the state,” Eves writes, “about the things that frustrate them and hold them back. Because it’s real.”

Frustration is certainly real for anyone looking for Eves’ stands on issues.

Democrat Adam Cote would expand Medicaid, unless that’s already been done by the time he takes office. And he’ll have some other positions at a later date.

Democrat Janet Mills distributed the anti-overdose drug Narcan to police stations and sued a financial rating outfit for failing to warn us of the Great Recession. Check back later for actual information.

GOP candidate Ken Fredette makes much of being a “Lifelong Republican,” apparently having enrolled at birth.

Democrat Betsy Sweet goes on at length without ever mentioning she’s a lobbyist.

Democrat Mark Dion makes sure you know he’s been a cop. But not that kind of cop. A nice cop.

Republican Mary Mayhew’s site is an exercise in fantasy, as she spins her stint as commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services to make it appear as something other than a disaster. There’s also this gem:

“With a keen focus on data analytics and data-informed decision-making, her agency prioritized measurable performance outcomes.”

If you’re looking for clear stands on issues, you should avoid GOP candidate Shawn Moody’s site. With one exception that I’ll get to in a moment, he prefers platitudes to positions. For instance:

On economic development: “(We) can’t look back, we must keep growing.”

On budgeting: “We need to be smart about our finances.”

On the opioid crisis: “We can’t turn a blind eye to this and hope that it goes away.”

On veterans: “Our Veterans have sacrificed for our freedoms. I will never forget it.”

On health care: “I am committed to working toward solutions to this crisis.”

On education: “We need to tap the potential of every Maine person to help Maine, our state, be even more successful.”

It’s helpful that he explained that Maine is “our state,” or we might have been confused.

As for Moody’s single stand on an issue, he promises to oppose taxpayer-funded abortions. Since those don’t exist in Maine (you know, our state), that’s not all that daring. But Moody tucked it in there among the blather because he’s trying to appear pro-life, even though he was more or less pro-choice when he ran for governor as an independent in 2010.

That’s sorta sleazy. But it’s still more revealing than the rest of his website.

If you email me at aldiamon@herniahill.net, my only promise is to read what you wrote. That’s it.

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