Angus, King of Campaign Finance Rhetoric
There’s some irony in the short-lived Angus King proposal to keep super-PACs out of the Maine senate race. After all, as I reported the other day, he’s the sole candidate currently benefiting from a super-PAC’s anonymous largesse. His latest campaign gambit was just more grandstanding by an egomaniacal one percenter feeling left out of the primary-day media circus. The timing of his attempt to dictate the rules of the game – the morning after the primary – was obviously intended to draw attention from his major-party opponents in their moments of victory while injecting himself into the news cycle.
I’m starting to think Angus King is running scared. After all, when he first decided he was qualified serve in the Senate on the independent one-percenter ticket, he assumed everyone would welcome him back to the political arena with open arms. Did he think people wouldn’t remember the billion dollar state deficit and empty rainy day fund he left behind in 2003? Or that Mainers would ignore his subsidy-sucking energy speculation that involved destroying mountain tops and fragile ecosystems? Or forget that he’s consistently sided with corporations and Big Biz, rather than helping the middle class and working poor?
Angus King’s proposal to reject super-PACs reeks of insincerity. Perhaps I’d feel differently if the dude actually took a principled stand, rather than spouting jibber-jabber. For instance, he could have demanded the icPurple super-PAC cease supporting his campaign. Or even more admirably, he could have publicly denounced and returned the nearly $150,000 he’s raised from out-of-state supporters, many of whom are one-percent corporatists with no links to the real people of Maine. Then, perhaps, I would have believed the dude was serious about the undue influence of money in politics.
But I have trouble taking anything seriously about campaign finance reform that comes from this fella’s mouth. After all, in 1994, he was the first candidate ever, in Maine, to spend over a million of his own cash to win a political office. And a close look at those paying the bills for his current campaign shows him hanging out with folks with very deep pockets and very special interests.
If Angus King really wanted to make a difference, he’d propose something similar to his 1998 gubernatorial campaign, when he imposed a “voluntary” $250 limit on individual campaign contributions.
Fat chance. This time around, he’ll take any money he can get.