So, Lady Gaga should have gone to Little Rock rather than Portland, right?

Her much-celebrated visit here produced no results, as both of Maine’s senators voted with their party and against a heavily gilded defense appropriations bill that included a repeal of the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuality in the service.

The bill failed 56-43, with lame duck Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski not voting. Well, she had other things on her mind.

That total shows that even if both Maine senators had voted in its favor (and only Susan Collins said she definitely would have), it still would have been defeated, as both of Arkansas’ Democratic senators, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, also voted against it, as did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid voted against his own bill as a tactical move to keep his options open, because of a rule that says only opponents have standing to reintroduce defeated bills later in the same session. He obviously would have voted for it if it had enough other votes to pass.

But without Lincoln and Pryor, it would have still fallen one vote short of the 60 votes required under cloture rules for getting it to the Senate floor for a direct vote. That’s what “filibuster” means these days.

So, Lady Gaga struck out here, but who knows if the glamor of her star status and the obvious intellectual weight of her penetrating analysis of the issues might not have overwhelmed Lincoln’s and Pryor’s feeble stands had she displayed her wisdom and argumentative skills in their state rather than ours. One can only dream.

True, DADT wasn’t the only extraneous item on Reid’s agenda. The defense bill also contained a proposal to grant legal status to young illegal immigrants to attend college or join the military (the “DREAM Act”), something opponents said should be debated as part of immigration reforms, not military funding.

Collins said her opposition wasn’t directed at repealing DADT, but at the Democrats’ staunch refusal to allow any Republican amendments to be submitted from the floor.

That take-it-or-leave-it stand led her to vote with her party’s interests this time around. Our senators haven’t always displayed such loyalty, so they deserve credit for it this time.

In the meantime, the “no GOP amendments allowed” stand by Reid and Co. provides another example of something I mentioned in last week’s column: that as far as liberals are concerned, “bipartisanship” means Republicans voting for Democratic priorities and never the other way around.

After all, if you have Rottweilers trained to go for the throat upon getting a mere whiff of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s aftershave, that’s not the best way to convince your prospective allies across the aisle that you really, really value them as human beings.

And speaking of Democratic shortfalls, the latest polls in some Maine races are getting more interesting every day.

I think it’s safe to say that nobody expected Republican Paul LePage to rack up an 18-point lead over Democrat Libby Mitchell at this point in the race. Yes, I know there are people out there who consider Rasmussen a “Republican” pollster, but his final poll in the 2008 presidental race had Obama winning with 52 percent compared to McCain’s 46 percent, and the result was 53-46.

So, considering previous polls that all showed LePage up by a dozen points or more, there’s not much cause to think this latest one is outside the ballpark. One thing I wonder is how much LePage’s Franco-American heritage is influencing his support. However, it appears that using a barnyard epithet at a press conference didn’t hurt him much. Hey, it probably gained him votes.

Still, as I note every election season, polls are a snapshot of views at a given point in time, not a prediction about how people will vote six weeks from now. Much could happen to change the tally before Nov. 2.

Still, wondering how this was being taken nationally, I skipped electronically over to the RealClearPolitics website (

I like RCP because it lists the top political stories every day from a wide variety of sources, and it also does a daily average of the most recent poll results in all the national races.

Regarding the Maine governor’s race, RCP had the average of the three most recent polls showing LePage at plus-15, but the interesting thing was a little red upward-pointing arrow next to Le- Page’s name.

That means that RCP’s analysts think the race is leaning toward a shift from a Democratic seat to a Republican one.

There’s one more poll result interesting enough to mention: The Critical Insights poll commissioned by this company and published in last Sunday’s Telegram showed results in both congressional races as well as the Blaine House contest.

In the 1st District, first-term Democratic incumbent Chellie Pingree had 53 percent to her GOP opponent’s 29 percent.

Even though House members are supposed to be most vulnerable at the end of their first terms, Pingree has a big lead for Dean Scontras to surmount.

But the more interesting race is in the 2nd District, where four-term incumbent Mike Michaud racked up 48 percent to Jason Levesque’s 28 percent.

Earlier this month, another poll had Michaud at 45 percent and only nine points ahead.

That’s still not what you’d call “close,” but it’s a standard political rule of thumb that when incumbents slip below 50 percent, they’re in trouble, and two polls have now shown Michaud below that level.

I’ve heard that has led the national GOP to take a greater interest in this race, which could yield more money for Levesque — and that would make this contest worth watching.

In the meantime, Lady Gaga has left us bereft of her presence, and my life is much poorer as a result. Somehow, I’ll just have to go on.

M.D. Harmon is an editorial writer. He can be contacted at 791-6482 or at:

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