Maybe those nutballs who claim dinosaurs and cavemen existed at the same time aren’t quite as batty as the scientific evidence indicates. In the past month, there have been at least two dinosaur sightings right here in Maine.

The first incident occurred in Augusta, near the tar pit that is the state Legislature. Democrats, newly reinstalled in the majority, dredged up a hulking sauropod, a mini-brained monstrosity suitable only for blundering through the bureaucracy. The Dems immediately elected it secretary of state.

Matthew Dunlap, thought to be extinct after losing to Cynthia Dill in last June’s U.S. Senate primary, had been perfectly preserved in the ooze and needed only a little hosing off before resuming his old job.

Asked by journalists how a politician who couldn’t even defeat Dill (the least popular Democratic Senate nominee since the invention of the wheel) could possibly survive in the modern age, Dunlap said, “ARRRRGHHH” after which he swallowed a public radio reporter whole.

That effectively ended the interview, so nobody got to ask Dunlap if, in his second go-round as secretary, he’d pay a little more attention to his responsibilities, such as the one about certifying referendum signatures by the constitutionally required deadlines – something he’d failed to do in the primordial past.

Nor were there any inquiries about whether his time in suspended animation had improved his money-management skills, which had previously resulted in shortfalls in his office’s budget.

And no one dared probe that sore spot about how Democrats had just filled an important position – which might have served as a platform for some bright prospect to reach higher office – with a specimen with the electability of coal tar. (Did I mention that this lizard once lost to Cynthia Dill, who got 13 percent of the vote in the November general election? I did? Good. I wouldn’t want to have left that out.)

Meanwhile, global warming has been melting both glaciers and the icy hearts of disgruntled Democrats, who once swore they’d wouldn’t vote for John Baldacci again for anything. After all, in his eight years as governor, Baldacci never managed to evolve enough to get the state budget in balance for more than about 20 minutes at a stretch. He couldn’t find a way to make the state’s Medicaid computer system work, although he did find ways to have it alternate between spewing out too much money and not enough. He rearranged government (creating an autocratic board to run the county jail system and forcing local schools to consolidate) in ways that neither saved money nor improved services.

In other words, the Baldacciosaurus behaved exactly like current Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Baldacci and LePage even got elected the same way, scraping into office with a feeble plurality of 38 percent of the vote.

For all those reasons, the Neanderthals running the Democratic Party think Baldacci would be the perfect candidate to take on LePage in 2014. Because if they both hold their bases, they’d each end up with 38 percent, meaning there wouldn’t be enough left over to let independent gubernatorial wannabe Eliot Cutler sneak into the Blaine House.

Apparently, the wooly-brained mammoths promoting this scenario figure Baldacci and LePage, with their similar histories of failure, can be sort of co-governors.

Dinosaur and caveman working side by side.

That should win the endorsement of creationists.

The reality is that Maine Democrats have come to an evolutionary dead end. Promoting Dunlap for secretary of state and Baldacci as their nominee for governor are stunning indications of a party that’s run out of frontline candidates capable of winning statewide races.

Of course, some deluded Dems will point to their two incumbent U.S. representatives as evidence their species isn’t endangered. But 1st District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is just the sort of candidate that goes extinct in a hurry once she’s forced outside the liberal lost world of southern Maine (remember when her predecessors Tom Allen and Tom Andrews strode the political world like behemoths?). And 2nd District Congressman Mike Michaud’s I’m-not-pro-choice-or-pro-life shtick will play about as well in Portland as a Tyrannosaurus claiming it can’t decide if it’s a carnivore or herbivore.

The Democrats need to learn that the dinosaurs have had their day (Charlie Webster notwithstanding). Dunlap and Baldacci are best suited for stuffing and mounting in the state museum. Pingree and Michaud should be allowed to live out their lives in their specialized habitats. Dill (and her immediate ancestor, Libby Mitchell) ought to be fossilized. Forcibly, if necessary.

It’s time for warm-blooded creatures with opposable thumbs, the ability to walk upright and the brain capacity to invent fire, stone tools, Zumba and television attack ads.

This new approach should be called something clever.

Like intelligent design.

If you have a bronto bone to pick with me, email [email protected]

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