Friday, October 22, 2010

Polishing the Dull Cutlery

After the Bangor Daily News endorsed Eliot Cutler, I got an impolite mailing from the Democratic Party. It painted Cutler as an Earth-raping tree pillager in bed with the oil companies.

I don’t know if this is true, but I do know it was a pretty weak attempt at a campaign flier.

To start with, they used a picture of Cutler smiling harmlessly. Granted, they darkened the picture, trying to make him look grainy and foreboding, but they failed to create the impression of a villain eager to spread black viscous slime all over our pristine coastline.

Most campaign attack ads use rather unflattering photos of the target. They dig around for a picture of him yelling maniacally, picking his nose, or at least frowning. You mean to tell me the Democrats could not find a single picture of Eliot Cutler frowning?

I saw Cutler at the Common Ground Fair. He was frowning all over the place. He frowned his way from the political action tent all the way over to the lamb-ka-bobs. Where was the Donkey photo sniper?

I tried to remain close to see if Cutler would notice that a likely voter was standing a few feet away, waiting to be persuaded. But he just kept frowning along, surrounded by a group of young supporters in white Cutler tee-shirts. The supporters were smiling, albeit nervously. I’m not sure they’d ever seen hippies before.

At any rate, the Democrats don’t really need to worry about the BDN endorsement. Cutler has the campaigning skills of a sea urchin.

Plus, in a different editorial, the BDN endorsed a moderate, rational approach to politics, and you can see how influential that was.

It is true; running a government is complicated and requires nuance and careful thought, rather than knee-jerk angry reactivity. But talk to the average voter about any divisive issue, and you’ll see that even the ones who think they’re rational are really just controlled by vague impulses and subconscious fear.

People are all wound up about Cutler working as a lobbyist for Chinese corporations, as if Chinese wealth is grown by exploitation, but ours is not. Meanwhile, they flock to Wal-Mart and fill their carts with stuff that was Made in China.

Hypocrisy springs eternal.

Then we have a recent CBS News poll showing that 61% of Americans think illegal immigration is a “very serious” problem. Republicans and Tea-Baggers lead the charge to close our borders.

They have no sense of irony. Illegal immigrant labor reduces the costs of goods and services in the U.S. by an average of 5%, according to the non-partisan National Research Council.

If someone proposed a 5% sales tax increase on everything sold in the United States, Republicans would have a fit the size of Great Britain. They’d raise a valiant defense against this assault on small business and corporate stockholders.

But I guess we can afford the extra expense if it means fewer people with brown skin hanging around.

Maybe the BDN is correct in noting that we should vote for someone who actually knows what’s going on, and that Cutler is the only candidate with an actual detailed plan to solve Maine’s fiscal problems.

But he’s still going to lose. And so will Mitchell. They do not have LePage’s edge, the proper outrage and intensity we look for in a candidate we expect to Change Everything.

Democrats: Stop putting out cheesy fliers. Save your money for 2012 and 2014.

And hire some more photo snipers.

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