The Very Smart People have proclaimed that the Democratic Party is about to reclaim control of the Maine House of Representatives. This November, according to the VSP, the Democrats, revived and repositioned after their inexplicable defeat in 2010, will rout the Tea-Party wackos and LePage Luddites who helped Republicans gain their first majority in that chamber since whenever it was that humans didn’t evolve from apes.

In theory, this reversion to Dem domination makes sense. The GOP, which currently holds a 78-72-1 edge in the House, won at least a dozen seats in the last election in districts that normally lean to the left. Those won’t be easy to defend, particularly since the elephant party will have to focus its resources on retaining its state Senate majority (20-14-1), leaving little cash to pump into marginal House races. Add to that the big turnout expected in a presidential year, the unpopularity of the Republican governor and the possibility of another same-sex marriage referendum, and there are ample reasons to conclude Maine will again be turning blue.

Of course, that color change could also result from obstructed air passages due to choking.

If somebody performed a political Heimlich maneuver on those gagging voters, what might pop out of their esophagi and plop wetly on the floor are some of the Democrats’ less astute activities. These missteps could hand the GOP the issues they’ll need to mitigate the impact of the loathsome loogies that have regularly spewed from the mouths of Gov. Paul LePage and Republican state chairman Charlie Webster.

Here’s what the donkey party has barfed up:

Democrats support deadbeats. Democratic state Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham told the Capitol News Service that he thinks it’s fine for the state to send rent-relief checks to people who aren’t actually paying their rents. Berry opposes a proposal by GOP state Sen. Debra Plowman of Hampden that would deny circuit-breaker rent-relief payments to tenants who owe their landlords back rent. Asked to justify his negative stand, Berry said that rather than messing with misplaced welfare checks for renters, the state should repeal tax breaks for business that allow some companies to be reimbursed twice for property taxes they didn’t pay to begin with. Berry didn’t explain why Democrats’ failed to eliminate this loophole when they were in power or why his party approved it in the first place.

Cynthia Dill. “Am I crazy?” the Democratic state senator from Cape Elizabeth asked in a Jan. 1 blog posting announcing that she’s considering a run for the U. S. Senate. I assume that’s a rhetorical question. Dill has earned a reputation for ditzy stunts (bragging in 2010 about gaming the public-campaign-financing system to buy herself a new computer, while also taking credit for not bothering to knock on a single door during that campaign), questionable assertions (“No one seriously disputes that [Roxanne Quimby’s plan for a 70,000 acre national park in northern Maine] could boost the Millinocket area’s economy”) and foolish falsehoods (“It’s 2011 and there is not a single female political commentator employed by the so-called ‘liberal media’ in Maine”). Allowing Dill to divert the public’s attention from the Democrats’ real message could cost the party votes like, um, crazy.

Paul Violette. The former executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority (and a former Democratic state senator) has settled a civil suit by paying back some of the more than $400,000 he took from his ex-employer, but he still faces possible criminal charges. An indictment and trial would likely dredge up dirt on how prominent Democrats, who ran the authority for decades, not only failed to properly monitor Violette, but also indulged in extravagant travel and dining at the pike’s expense. If, by some coincidence, this occurs just as campaigns are heating up, it can’t help but boost the GOP’s credibility.

Dale McCormick. Republicans portray the executive sdirector of the Maine State Housing Authority (and darling of the ultra-liberal wing of the Democratic Party) as being responsible for another turnpike-style scandal. That isn’t true, but the agency has been exposed as a bureaucracy with skewed priorities. It spends exorbitant amounts on low-income housing units in the name of historic preservation. Its alternative energy efforts have squandered money. Its housing inspections are sometimes lax. It hands out grants for theater programs, but is short of cash for heating aid. And it responds to criticism with an arrogance that would do the Violette-era turnpike authority proud. The GOP will step up efforts to oust McCormick, and the more she resists, the more she’ll be portrayed as a symbol of the Dem’s decadence.

The Very Smart People will be quick to dismiss the impact these issues could have on control of the state House.

The Smart Enough To Get By People might not be so hasty.


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