Maine’s Second Congressional district is receiving national attention, which isn’t a great sign for incumbent Democratic Rep. Jared Golden (CD-2), because only competitive races get that kind of love.
“House Republicans are eyeing New England as a path to the majority, working to pick up seats in a region that has been mostly inhospitable to the GOP at the federal level since the Democratic wave election in 2006,” the Washington Post wrote this morning, along with a photo featuring former two-term Congressman and current challenger Rep. Bruce Poliquin.
The Cook Political Report calls the race a Democrat Toss Up. Nate Silver’s 538 has Golden “slightly favored.” But, as the Bangor newspaper recently noted, Golden’s once-easy path to re-election might be a little trickier than it seems, if you buy into Decision Desk HQ’s analysis.
Poliquin, who is running to reclaim the seat he lost to Golden in 2018, was the last House Republican to represent a district from New England. That’s not surprising for people familiar with the region.
Unlike much of New England, Maine’s CD2 is rural enough that liberals from Massachusetts haven’t started buying up the land in droves and running for town council to ban plastic straws. It’s Trump Country, which explains why the primary theme of Golden’s political ads is his supposed opposition to the agenda of Democratic President Joe Biden. Although the CD2 race is garnering more national attention, the remarkable disconnect between Golden’s messaging and the policies of national Democrats hasn’t received enough attention.
“Inflation, a broken supply-chain, and high gas prices,” begins one Golden ad.
No, he’s not listing the federal government’s recent accomplishments; he’s listing the things he is fighting by supposedly opposing the Biden administration’s big spending packages (except for the massive Orwellian-named “Inflation Reduction Act” spending bill, which he voted for).
“I was the only Democrat to vote against trillions of dollars of President Biden’s agenda,” he brags, in apparent reference to earlier versions of the “Inflation Reduction Act” — a bill he ultimately backed. (Left-wing organ Vox was at least honest enough to admit that the “Inflation Reduction Act” was really just a more palatable version of the Build Back Better plan, until they changed the headline…)
In one of the more bizarre ads of the season, Golden cracks open and seems to discard a delicious looking lobster. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he spared us John-Kasich-style shots of him shoving greasy chunks of meat down his gullet. But I can’t be the only one wondering who got to eat the lobster? And where was everyone else at the lobster feed? Where were the steamers? I digress: in the ad, Golden continues the set himself in opposition to decades of Democratic Party policies, this time on energy prices.
As he butter-dunks but never eats a tender seabug knuckle, Golden claims he’s supported opening up federal lands for increased oil and gas exploration. It’s something Golden has touched on in radio interviews with the cheerleaders at Maine Public Broadcasting as well. The messages seems to be that a vote for Golden is a vote for cheaper energy.
Yet it strains credulity to think one might encourage domestic energy production by empowering a political party that has vowed to end the fossil fuel industry (and cow farts) and clings religiously to the unscientific notion that America can run on windmills and solar panels.
Mainers in CD2 will be praying for a little of that Global Warming we’re always hearing about this winter, with the price of Number 2 heating oil hanging out above $2,200 for a 500 gal. tank.
Unfortunately, even if you believe that the “Inflation Reduction Act” will actually increase domestic energy production, thereby lowering pump prices, it won’t happen fast. Current energy prices are in large part a consequence of a decades-long crusade against cheap, affordable, convenient energy. This wasn’t an accident; this was the plan. And we all know the authors of that plan.
Then there’s the fight for the Lobster Vote, which is why Golden’s campaign staff bought him a lobster for that ad in the first place. In the CD2 race, and in Maine’s gubernatorial election, all candidates are vying for the support of the Sacred Maine Lobsterman.
The Sacred Maine Lobsterman is, of course, under attack.
But while every pol in the state is racing to defend them, it’s worth asking why the Maine Lobsterman is under attack in the first place, and which political organizations are responsible?
Clearly, the aggressor here is an interventionist federal government, which is ignoring the science to impose new burdens on the industry to meet goals its bureaucrats hardly understand. So Capt. Lobsterman ought to ask himself: Which political party tends more to support the unbridled growth of the central government, myriad obtrusive regulations, and those petty little tyrants at the federal agencies? Again, no secret here.
The Maine Lobsterman has endured across many, many political changes, and he’s wise enough to see that the chief threats to his interests all come from the federal government, and those who wish to grow it. I rather doubt the Maine Lobsterman is naive enough to be bought off by what Maine Gov. Janet Mills described in an email as a “donation” — casting it like some act of personal generosity from the Mills Family Estate — of $100,000 in tax dollars to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Nor do I imagine they’ll be wooed by Golden’s introduction of some meaningless bill that will never see the light of day to defund an aquarium. So it’s hardly a coincidence that the apparent tightening of the Maine CD2 race comes as left-wing groups and the Biden Administration have escalated attacks on the Maine lobster.
If Maine’s congressional delegation, especially the members of the president’s party, wanted to do something effective, something that would do more than garner a photo op, perhaps they could meet with President Biden, or a cabinet secretary, and get them to rein in the federal attack dogs. I know Middle Class Joe is a few herring short of a bait bag, but there must be enough sentience rolling around in that big hair-plugged head of his to assert some control over the pencil-necked paper-pushers at the Department of Commerce.
Golden’s largely symbolic Biden-blocking rhetoric continues a common trend for Democrats seeking re-election in Maine, especially in CD2. When election season rolls around, they start sounding an awful lot like conservatives. They’ve cut spending, cut taxes, cut red tape — pay no attention to all the increased spending, increased taxes, and increased red tape. Those 87,000 new IRS agents included in the “Inflation Reduction Act” … that’s just for the billionaires, promise! Those Feds will never head Downeast to audit the Maine Lobstermen, promise!
Still, a young gun Member of Congress fleeing his own president’s agenda at light-speed used to be big news. The kind of thing thirsty reporters would stampede after. That was when the president was Donald Trump, and it was a much sexier story to ask Rep. So-and-so if he supported the plan to annex Greenland by Tweet, or jail Hillary, or whatever.
But it’s quite the story that, according to Golden’s own ads and statements, the biggest problem facing Maine is his own party’s federal programs on spending, energy, and lobstering. You’d be forgiven for thinking perhaps the junior congressman from Maine, who has voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) 84 percent of the time, is part of that problem, regardless of how many anti-Biden lobster-shuckin ads he runs.