Politics & Other Mistakes: There’s a nickname for that

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Max Linn goes nuts giving his enemies insulting nicknames. But Mad Max isn’t very clever at it. I intend to help him out.

Maladroit Max is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Maine currently held by independent Sen. Angus King – even though Late-Arrival Linn has only been a year-round resident of the state for about 20 minutes and has been a member of the GOP intermittently.

But as we know from the frequent tweets of President Donald Trump (“Crooked Hillary,” “Little Mario,” “Lying Ted”), political integrity and ideological consistency matter far less than how well candidates can slap a negative brand on their opponents by labeling them with demeaning monikers.

In the case of Mudslinging Max, that opponent in the June primary is Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn, whom Max the Ax has dubbed “Cowardly Eric” because Brakey challenged Legally Impaired Linn’s right to be on the ballot. In filings with the secretary of state and the courts, Brakey pointed out that the nominating petitions submitted by Mortician Max contain numerous irregularities, including names of dead people. So, you can sort of excuse Brakey for his alleged lack of courage. Who wants to run against a guy leading an army of zombies?

Still, the best Malicious Max could come up with was “Cowardly Eric.” Come on, Mundane Max. If your opponent is quaking in fear, why not “Shaky Brakey”? If his complaints about corpses signing petitions aren’t valid, that makes him “Flakey Brakey.” Or how about linking him to one of the worst songs ever written by dubbing him “Achy Brakey?”

This tendency toward blandness in nicknames might lead you to believe that Thin Skin Linn isn’t very creative. But a quick check of his resume indicates he’s been creating new personas for himself on a regular basis for the better part of three decades.

Morphing Max, a 58-year-old who owned a financial planning business in Florida, began his political career in the Sunshine State in 1990, according to the St. Petersburg Times, when he ran as a Republican for the state Senate. Due to allegations of sexual harassment, that campaign didn’t work out so well, but the complaint was later dropped. Another sexual harassment scandal broke a few years later, but it too went away.

By 2006, Moderating Max had switched to the Reform Party, an entity that even its own vice-presidential candidate had no idea what it stood for. Nevertheless, Linn the Spin was the Reformers’ gubernatorial candidate, claiming to be a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. He attacked Democrats as “our modern socialist party” and Republicans as the product of “cronyism and corruption.” He garnered 2 percent of the vote.

In 2008, Lefty Linn ran for Congress, this time as one of those socialist Democrats. Midway through the primary campaign, he announced he was quitting the race to work on Barack Obama’s presidential bid. Then, he changed his mind, ran anyway and lost. He also wrote a book praising Obama. Inexplicably, Mind-Bending Max now denies any of that ever happened, dismissing solid evidence of his Dem dalliance uncovered by the Lewiston Sun Journal as a “list of lies” created by Brakey (who he also claims is responsible for reanimating the deceased people who signed his nominating petitions).

Make-America-Great-Again Max currently lives in Bar Harbor and has been transformed into a pro-Trump Republican. Or at least he was a few days ago when this column was written. That might have changed by now. It’s tough keeping up with him.

His current platform calls for deporting all illegal aliens (“Zero tolerance on amnesty is what I stand for”). He’s against trade deals (“Maine has been sold down the river”), for higher defense spending and in favor of term limits on Congress. Of course, all that is subject to abrupt reversals without notice.

In some ways, Multiple Max is reminiscent of a real Mainer named Plato Truman (actual campaign slogan: “Two Great Names, One Great Man”). Starting in the 1950s, the pleasantly loopy Truman spent nearly half a century running (mostly unsuccessfully) for the Legislature, governor, U.S. representative and U.S. senator as a Democrat, Republican and independent, skewing liberal or conservative seemingly on a whim. On one such occasion, I asked him how he could be an extreme right-winger in one election and an ardent left-winger just two years later. Truman shrugged and replied, “Those were different times.”

These too are different times. If Waxy Maxy is any indication, perhaps a bit too different.

Transformative comments may be emailed to Aggravating Al at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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