What Happened In Maine?

Once again the Republican Party is actively proving something which I’ve been saying for years. You can’t have a circus without elephants. This is not about Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker’s union busting (and budget busting) agenda. This not about the twisted parade of spoiled rich kids, whacos, megalomaniacs, nitwits, and outright fascists that the GOP has trotted out to run for the Presidency. This isn’t about Corporate Personhood (although, I would like to see CitiCorp’s long form birth certificate). This isn’t even about the GOP’s war on reproductive rights (although, the mandatory ultra-sound bill in Virginia gives a whole new meaning to the term “intrusive government”). This is about one of the GOP’s other pet issues: Vote Fraud. This was reported last night on MSNBC by Rachel Maddow. Republican controlled state legislatures all over the country have been passing “anti-vote fraud” bills the only intent of which is to undermine the voting power of those who would oppose them. Right problem. Wrong solution. It should come as no surprise to anyone that in many states Republicans are under investigation or are being prosecuted for (drum roll, please) VOTE FRAUD, and other forms of election chicanery. After all, those restrictive voting laws can only disenfranchise finite number of people. They need an extra, little push. Thus, it should be even less surprising that the GOP has finally turned on its own. It happened in a place not that far away; in a land not of sight and sound, but of mindlessness; a shadow land of things from ideologues. Signpost on the left: you have entered (long, dramatic pause) the Maine Caucuses! The GOP in Maine has rigged up a way to double-cross their own voters. Washington County had heavy snows on the day they were scheduled to vote. They postponed the voting until February 18th (this coming Saturday). State GOP officials told them not to worry that their votes would be counted anyway. Somewhere between then and now things changed just a wee bit. Earlier this week Republican officials in the state announced that America’s favorite spoiled rich kid, Mitt Romney had won the Maine Caucuses. Washington County Republicans exclaimed, “Wait a minute! What about us? What about our votes?” “Sorry,” said the state GOP condescendingly, “too late!” Meanwhile, in the town of Belfast in Waldo County a top official tried to call in the numbers from their vote. The conversation went something like this. State GOP: (smugly) We already have those numbers. Belfast GOP: (with the general level of incredulity that one ordinarily would reserve for that moment when one sees a rhinoceros flying over a carwash) What? Wait a minute! That’s impossible! I’m just calling in the numbers now! State GOP: (even more smugly) We have the numbers right here and Mitt Romney won in Belfast. Belfast GOP: (through clenched teeth) NO! I have the numbers right here and Mitt Romney DID NOT win in Belfast! State GOP: (to get exactly the right tone for the following bit of dialogue try to imagine a cartoon rabbit in drag talking to a very befuddled hunter) Reeeeeeeeealy? The officials in Belfast complained to the State Republican leadership and were assured that the numbers would be adjusted. The official “adjustment” showed that nobody in Belfast had voted for anybody. According to the Maine GOP there were no votes cast in Belfast. This was also the official result for seventeen out of the eighteen caucuses held in Waldo County. Nobody voted for anybody. No votes were cast. This was also the result for Republicans in the town of Waterville in Kennebec County. Needless to say the voters in those locations are madder than a New York theater critic who found himself seated in the second balcony. They want their votes counted. The Maine GOP leadership has vowed to review the numbers, but not until after Super Tuesday when it will, of course, be irrelevant. Whether these things happened by intent or ineptitude it would seem that the GOP has been so far removed from any known form of reality for so long that they can’t seem to get their minds around the simplest and most fundamental rule of common sense which is, “Don’t poop where you eat!” The Republican Party in Maine may wind up having some trouble rallying support for anyone come November. It may help to make re-electing the President a touch easier. In the overview Maine would merely seem to be one of the more absurd manifestations of the GOP’s insanity. That having been said, we still have a lot of work to do. Keep at it. Remember what we have proven and will continue to prove, here, in Wisconsin. Boots on the ground are stronger than any rich man’s war chest!

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