All Maine Matters

July 2006



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The Token Conservative: The Governor’s Race, Part II
By Jon Reisman

Last month, I predicted that Chandler Woodcock would win the GOP primary with 39-40% of the vote, John Baldacci would have a tepid performance, and that the left would portray Senator Woodcock as a “scary conservative.” Going two for two on election day was nice, but I have to admit I didn’t expect the left and the Maine Stream Press to so quickly confirm Prediction #3. Not having crow for dinner was also appealing.

From Pravda on the Presumpscot:

“At the same time, his campaign won support from more conservative voters concerned with social issues such as abortion.”

“…the sharp differences could hurt the Republican Party in the end, because Woodcock is too conservative for a majority of Maine voters, Democrats say.”

“‘Woodcock is the candidate we wanted to run against,; said Ben Dudley, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party. ” (Mark Peters, Portland Press Herald, 6/15/06)

“Democratic chairman Dudley later called Woodcock a ‘yes man’ for President Bush and an opponent of both abortion rights and gay rights.

“Signaling that the Democrats are determined to paint Woodcock as someone who is out of step with most Mainers, Dudley said Woodcock ‘is a conservative candidate and he’s not going to be able to hide from that.’” (Paul Carrier, Portland Press Herald, 6/15/06)

From the Baldacci Daily News:

“Mary Ellen Fitzgerald…said Woodcock “is kind of a George Bush candidate in a John Kerry state.”

(Democratic Chairman Dudley said Woodcock comes) “from the far right wing of the Republican Party…” (A.J. Higgins, Bangor Daily News, 6/15/06)

Green party nominee Pat LaMarche reportedly launched a post election ad campaign in southern Maine labeling Woodcock as an “ultraconservative.”

One moderate Republican I know was quick to condemn Woodcock as an unelectable conservative. When I queried her, she admitted she had never seen or heard Chandler, but had reached that conclusion based on what she had seen and heard in the media.

The campaign and candidate Woodcock may well focus on the economic issues above social ones, but the Culture War will neither go away nor should it be conceded.

Chandler and the GOP are not in favor of the nanny state, and there is nothing out of the mainstream in that conviction.

If Woodcock is attacked for opposing “special rights”, he should simply back the insertion of four words into Maine’s Human Rights Act: “No discrimination, No preferences.” If the Democrats and the left want to defend affirmative action preferences for gay, lesbian and transgendered protected class members, they are welcome to it. Under no circumstance should Chandler cede the culture war battlefield to the left, especially when they insist on bringing it up. The left created publicly funded elections (the defunct Maine Citizen Leadership Fund , a principal of which unsuccessfully challenged TABOR, was behind the original initiative in 1998). In a delightful turn of the political screw, it may well deliver the Blaine House to Chandler Woodcock and the GOP. Through the magic of clean election funding, John Baldacci will face three adequately, if not lavishly funded candidates in November. Senator Woodcock has already shown he can use the funds wisely and well. The more money Baldacci raises or the left “independently” spends, the more money “clean” candidates get. LaMarche and Barbara Merrill will take a chunk out of Baldacci from the left. A sizable chunk of women, nanny state proponents and the left will vote for Pat or Barbara. Woodcock will win the general election with a 39-40% plurality. And then the screaming will really start.

Jon Reisman in the University of Maine System’s token conservative.

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