Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: The third time is not the charm

Al Diamon

Throughout her long political career, Janet Mills has never been afraid to kick butt.

Until she decided to run for governor.

As soon as she announced her candidacy, Mills, the Democratic nominee and Maine’s attorney general, somehow transformed herself from a pit bull with jaws locked onto Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s hind end into a jellyfish, one that bears a disturbing resemblance to the formless blobs that served as the two previous Dem gubernatorial candidates.

Consider the following quotations:

“Our vision is a vision where we all get to succeed.”

“I have a vision for this state.”

The first quote belongs to Michael Michaud, the donkey party’s unsuccessful 2014 nominee. The second is from a recent Mills email to supporters. Neither was followed up with much in the way of specifics concerning whatever they were envisioning.

Another example:

“I plan to surround myself with the best and the brightest.”

"It’s time for change. It’s time for bold ideas. It’s time for a new direction.”

That first one is Libby Mitchell, the Democratic standard bearer who finished a distant third in the 2010 race for governor, and whose campaign never quite grasped that whole best-and-brightest concept. The second statement is from Mills, who has yet to propose any significant changes, any notable bold ideas or any discernable new directions.

Michaud: “One of the things I have been able to do is bring people together so we can move forward.”

Mills: “Today, right now and once and for all, reject the politics of fear and division and reaffirm in the politics of trust and hope and love.”

Michaud never moved forward, and Mills, whose standard approach to conflict has always been to punch her opponents in their mouths, is never going to convince anyone she’s suddenly been transformed into a hippie.

Mitchell: “The state needs to do more to promote tourism, not just along the coast but inland as well. The more rural parts of Maine need to benefit.”

Michaud: “The single most important thing we can do to build a strong economy is ensure that Maine children have access to a quality public education.”

Mills: “I believe we can build a state that’s prosperous from Kittery to Caribou. A state where our kids can find good jobs close to home, where everyone has access to high-quality, affordable healthcare, where every student can get a world-class education, and where every community has high-speed internet broadband.”

She forgot unicorns and fountains of free beer. Probably just an oversight.

Maybe Mills should listen to herself: “We simply cannot afford to continue to do the same thing and expect different and better results.”

Democratic insiders have told me repeatedly that this year won’t be a repeat of the last two gubernatorial elections, because Mills will hold onto the party base that independent candidates eroded in 2010 and 2014. They point to private and public polls that show both unenrolled candidates, Alan Caron and Terry Hayes, stuck in the low single digits. They offer anecdotal evidence of Dem voters who deserted the party in the past two elections, who now pledge to stick with Mills no matter how wimpy she gets.

However reassuring for Democratic hopes that might be (not very, actually), there are other numbers that indicate Mills is generating even less excitement among the party faithful than did her two uninspiring predecessors. A comparison of 42-day post-primary campaign finance reports from the last three gubernatorial elections shows Mills trailing both Mitchell and Michaud in fundraising at this point in the campaign. She’s raised a little over a million dollars, while Mitchell (a Clean Election candidate) had received almost $1.5 million in 2010 and Michaud was approaching $2 million in 2014.

That’s a significant financial gap that might reflect an equal deficit in the enthusiasm column.

Mills replaced her campaign manager last week, which might be seen as a small sign she realizes the mistake she’s making. But the new guy is the same one who ran Mitchell’s 2010 campaign, so probably not. And the longer she follows the Mitchell-Michaud playbook, the closer she gets to extending the Democrats’ string of gubernatorial election losses to three in a row.

If you have something to say about my opinions, you can email me at But don’t be wimpy.

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17 Responses »

  1. Janet:

    I hope you're reading this.

    Be yourself, not some anodyne pablum-spouting Democratic party hack.

  2. The people already have access to quality healthcare, what they don't need is, access to the state's coffers to pay for it. Every single human being in this state and country for that matter has access to all the same things, what people choose to do with those things is up to them. If they squander those things, they alone have to pay for that. The government is not some magic time machine that can erase a lifetime of bad decisions, nor should it be.

  3. ...Besides attacking Donald Trump full time every day....What is the Platform of the Democratic Party ? Who is the 'leader' of the Democratic Party ? Are there 'Two Democratic Parties ?'...One Far Left and One Not So Far Left ?
    Does the Democratic Base listen to Maxine Waters ? Or perhaps Diane Feinstein who has had a Chinese Driver for over 10 years that the FBI discovered was an International Spy ? (Nothing to see here folks..move along) Perhaps Senator Chuck Schumer who has a problem seeing beyond
    his granny glasses is the real leader of the Party...Hopefully the Democratic Party can agree on the answers to these questions and let the American Voting Public know before the upcoming elections..

  4. The debate isn't about access to healthcare,'s about PAYING THE BILL. We really need to set that straight.

    As for "anodyne pablum-spouting Democratic party hack"...what other kind IS there?? Elite people promising poor people free things paid for by working people...

  5. Heartless -

    Do you believe the playing field is level? That every person has the same abilities and limitations? Really?
    Be careful of holding opinions that let you off the hook.

    I’ve often wondered why anyone would choose “Heartless Bastard” as a screen name. If someone called me heartless, I’d be ashamed.

  6. we're already paying the price for universal healthcare, we're just not getting the benefits. in fact, we're paying much more than it ought to cost us, and receiving much less than other countries do in return. every time you pay an insurance premium, a copay, an out-of-pocket fee for a prescription, an emergency-room visit or an elective procedure, or taxes earmarked for ersatz health programs, you are subsidizing a broken system. insisting that this unstable system stay in place because of some sadistic, punitive perception that some people don't "deserve" health care is truly heartless, we can agree. happily continuing to financially support and intellectually defend such a system in the face of copious quantitative and qualitative data refuting it is nothing more than brainless.

  7. "Heartless Bstrd" at least has the insight into what a reprehensible human being he is. That is likely the first and last entries in the list of his admirable qualities.

  8. Over Regulated, Priorities. People complain about not being able to pay for healthcare, I bet those same people don't have a problem paying Spectrum or DISH or Directv a hundred or more a month for tv and internet. That's money every month to sock away for healthcare. Drinking or smoking, more money wasted.

    Laura, Yes I do think that everybody has the same opportunities, the schools have been operating a long time, yet the number of graduates on a national level continue to drop. That is not economics or a person's station in life, that is the person's choice to drop out of school and not graduate. There are thousands of programs to help people pay for secondary schooling in both trade and academic schools. If a person does not seek to better themselves, it is pure laziness on their part.

    Woody, If you are the measure of a quality human being, the bar must be set pretty low.

  9. HB ~
    What about mental illness, cognitive disabilities, fetal alcohol syndrome, brain damage? I don’t believe people do all have the same opportunities. Some people need help. I believe government exists, at least in part, to help the least among us. Sure, some people will take advantage of that help. That’s on them. Many more need the help and benefit from it. Calling them lazy is, well....heartless.

  10. Laura, People who are that bad off, already qualify for the help. You know, people like you are part of the problem, you mention people who make up a small percentage of the population and use it as your jumping off point, without even knowing who the programs are already helping. Let me be clearer so you can understand, able bodied people who sit on their ass and complain about their lives rather than improving it are LAZY.

  11. Flightless is right that we overpay for health care and the system is broken. Comparing to every other country in the industrialized world, they have universal coverage, it's cheaper, and people often receive better care. People have been sold a bill of goods that we have "the best healthcare system" and "all have access." Bullfeathers. We have the most expensive with middling results. Many poor avoid treatment because even though treatment won't be denied ,they may have collection agencies and the like chasing them to get payment. I've known people who have rejected getting treatment for those reasons.

    What we need to do on health care is have less ideology and more pragmatism. Why do other countries perform so much better than we do? What can we learn? There are a variety of different models out there. Most people think that in an industralized wealthy society health care should be like education and police protection - something available to all, regardless of income. The US lags, and is looked on by most of the world as having a costly failure of a health care system. We can do better - we just have to be pragmatic rather than ideological.

  12. HB -

    I expect I know more about the programs than you, with all your wisdom, know. I know enough not to sit in judgement of people I don’t know. I know enough to know that I don’t know who’s able-bodied and who isn’t just by looking at them. I do, however, know a heartless bastard when he identifies as one. “When a man tells you who he is, believe him.” I believe you.

  13. Laura, that’s a lot of ‘knows’!
    Scott, finally you admit your beloved Obama screwed up our healthcare. Before the unaffordable healthcare act I paid 330/mo with 2500 deductible. Now I pay 748/mo with 7000 deductible. I guess you call that ‘progressive’...

  14. But I thought you were a Captain! You should get yours completely free like I do. Not one penny for anything! God bless the V.A. !

  15. That's Lame to rub your VA benefits in someones face.
    I'm a 10 year proud vet who doesn't qualify for much from the VA.
    I have little problem with that because I don't see where the VA owes me anything after I got out.
    So quit bragging about your "free" VA benefits before some of us other vets take issue with your attitude.

    There are a lot of our fellow citizens who did more to serve this country and it's "people" than many military vets.
    And they are getting nothing.
    So enjoy your freebie and hush up David...

  16. Of course, some people Do need and deserve help..the truly disabled - what are they, 10% of the number of people actually receiving *free* stuff? Every 'discussion' about healthcare, welfare programs and the like leads right to this place that stops the discussion....that place is:

    " I AM MORE VIRTUOUS THAN YOU ARE! You TRULY ARE heartless - MY heart is great, see? See? See?" The virtue signalers come out in force to shut everyone down.

    Society is going right down the toilet so these people can claim to be better people than the rest of us, who simply want to SOLVE the problem of waste, fraud, and abuse. Because we want to do this, AND not give all of our individual rights or hard-earned dollars to the government, we are HEARTLESS. Nice way to dehumanize people who disagree with your 'give it all away, they need it' position which take ZERO account of the people who have to PAY for all of this.

    Be it health care or what have you, the result is that you raise our PROPERTY TAXES (and others...payroll....etc). If we oppose, we want people to DIE. Nobody wants to talk about how WE are being hurt, nope...just the 'helpless' who we see sitting on their porches all day, smoking and drinking. And THAT is why nothing will be done, and why the rancor continues to grow...we're probably BEYOND the hatred of 1862 - and funnily enough, it's from the Left directed at the Right, again!

  17. What's wrong with sitting on a porch??
    Lighten up man....

    Nothing makes me any more disgusted than to see the young supposedly disabled. "beneficiaries" filling up the facilities that were built specifically for our ELDERLY.
    They do as over regulated describes.. Them and their Network of similar friends stinking up the places that we built for our seniors.
    You can't fake getting old folks.
    But you can sure fire fake your way to a disability card and shamelessly waste your life and our resources.
    You should be ashamed... But you are not.