Politics & Other Mistakes: The conflicted love life of Eric Brakey

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Eric Brakey doesn’t like Republicans.

Which is odd, because Brakey is – more or less by default – the GOP’s candidate for U.S. Senate.

Brakey, a two-term state senator from Auburn, got the nomination because no serious Republican dared to take on incumbent independent U.S. Sen. Angus King. (Before you rush to email me that Gov. Paul LePage briefly considered running against King, please reread the previous sentence paying particular attention to the word “serious.”)

The only other announced candidate for that race was Max Linn, a weirdo transplant from Florida, whose nominating petitions were rejected because they were cluttered with the names of dead people.

So, the GOP was stuck with Brakey, who claims to be a libertarian in the Rand Paul tradition, which is sort of like being a punk rocker in the Barry Manilow tradition.

Brakey recently revealed his intense dislike for the party he represents in a campaign letter to independent voters (of whom I’m one). In that missive, he decried “the ‘leadership’ we’re getting from politicians whose agendas are guided by corporate interests.”

Does he mean Republican 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who made his fortune on Wall Street and has never met a banking regulation he wouldn’t love to repeal? Brakey doesn’t say.

What he does say is he’s opposed to current fiscal policy in Washington, where the presidency and both chambers of Congress are controlled by the pachyderm party. “The government’s budget deficits will be $1 trillion in 2019, 2020 and deep into the future,” he writes. “This burden will be put on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren.”

No mention that those shortfalls are a direct result of a bloated budget bill and the Trump tax cuts, both of which were overwhelmingly supported by GOP congress-objects like Poliquin.

Brakey goes on to promise, “I won’t threaten your retirement savings with reckless spending and loose monetary policy.”

But that spending (not yet including a zillion bucks for a border wall) and that policy (phony numbers about the cost of tax cuts) are mainstays of the Republican agenda that Poliquin has backed on every vote.

Brakey never mentions the wall, health care, abortion, LGBTQ rights or the Kavanaugh nomination in his letter, possibly because his position on those issues might not sit well with most independents. He just complains about the many shortcomings of King (not all of which are imaginary) and, by extension, of Poliquin and the rest of the GOP.

With only the slightest editing, his communication could be employed by any Democrat seeking to replace an incumbent Republican in Congress, because it’s tough to distinguish Brakey’s rhetoric from that of Dem hopefuls.

“We can’t afford career politicians.”

Brakey? Nope, that’s Jared Golden, the Democrat running against Poliquin.

“Now more than ever, America needs leaders who are strong on national security and who will put the interest of our country above political loyalties.”

Surely that’s Brakey. But no, that’s also Golden.

“People are right to be frustrated that the government – under both parties – has elevated corporate profits over the well-being of American workers.”

Gotta be Brakey – except it isn’t. It’s Golden yet again.

It’s as if those two guys were separated at birth.

At least Golden is consistent in his criticism of the power structure in D.C. Brakey, like Rand Paul, is considerably less so. After it was announced that Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, would be coming to Maine on Oct. 1 to raise money for Republican candidates, Brakey told reporters he was “thrilled” to help host the event, which he characterized as a “huge” boost to his financially struggling campaign. Brakey insists he abhors the swamp scum that infects the nation’s capital, but seems more than willing to embrace the odious blob of that substance that constitutes the junior Trump.

(Oddly enough, Poliquin, who has voted consistently for the senior Trump’s agenda while clumsily pretending not to endorse the president or his policies, is one of the few major Republican figures in Maine not listed as a sponsor of the Trump Jr. event. His office said he’d be too busy draining the swamp in Washington to attend.)

In the November election, Brakey faces not only the formidable King, but the non-formidable Democrat, Zak Ringelstein. Thanks to the latter, he’s currently given an excellent chance of finishing a distant second in the balloting, possibly because those Republicans he doesn’t seem to like aren’t that crazy about him either.

Love it or not, you can email your comments to aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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