Thanks for coming to my power-point presentation on the Maine Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate prospects. As this first shot shows – oops, that’s an old Libby Mitchell screen saver, just forget you saw that – the party is well positioned to return to prominence this year by following bright young leaders like …

Hmmm, blank screen. Can’t imagine what the problem is. Maybe if I reboot.

Ah, here we go. This is state Sen. Cynthia Dill of Cape Elizabeth, a candidate for the seat currently held by Republican Olympia Snowe. Dill is the creator of one of the most interesting economic development schemes ever advanced by someone not named Ponzi. She gets paid for writing her blog, Dill’s Conventional Wisdom, by her own political action committee, Dill Leadership PAC. Last year, she wrote checks to herself for a nifty four grand for turning out 31 short essays, which comes to about $129 each.

Here’s the beginning of one of them:

“Pretend for a moment that I am legislator (sic). Now imagine me readings (sic) bills that would deny legal immigrants welfare benefits.”

Apparently, proof reading costs extra.

Another – one that’s all of four paragraphs long or about  $32 for every time Dill hit the tab key – kicks off with “Why do brash liberal pansies blog for nothing?”

Brash pansies? Could someone turn off the oxymoron alarm?

Dill is no shrinking violet, but she has to know she has virtually no chance in this June’s Democratic primary, because she lacks statewide name recognition (I assume I’ll get a nice thank-you note for helping with that problem). She’s running for the Senate not to win, but to bolster her image in preparation for a campaign for governor in 2014. Although, it’s tough to figure how finishing third in a four-way race is going to accomplish that.

No matter. The Dems have other hot prospects for that Senate seat. Hot when compared to Libby Mitchell, I mean.

For example, there’s Benjamin Pollard, who according to Wikipedia was the Anglican bishop of Sodor and Man in 1954. He seems to be dead. Might be the wrong guy, but if it isn’t, he could really help with conservative religious voters.

Maybe it’s supposed to be Justin Benjamin Pollard, who graduated from Yale in 2004 and owns, according to LinkedIn,  an “ecologically sustainable construction company” in Portland. Zero political experience. Zero track record. Zero name recognition. But at least he pays himself to do something besides blog.

It’s possible Dill hired him to be a candidate to make sure she won’t finish last.

Might not work. Particularly if he turns out to be that dead bishop.

Next up is Jon Hinck, who’s a state representative from the ultra-liberal West End of Portland. He’s a lawyer in real life, as is his wife, who represents wind-power companies, which he’s gone to great lengths to explain has nothing to do with his support in the Legislature for putting turbines on every wilderness mountaintop in the state. Nor is it the inspiration for his campaign slogan, “New Energy For Maine.”

Probably means peat.

As far as I know, Hinck isn’t paying himself to blog, but if he ever does, he should consider easing off on the strained figures of speech. Such as (from the West End News), “Scraping the bones of a small, defunct operation [Maine Green Energy Alliance] looking for political red meat does little to improve building energy efficiency or lower the cost of energy.” Or this (from the Portland Press Herald), “Like a figure in the crowd at the Roman Coliseum, the senator [Snowe] joins her party’s unanimous thumbs down to the [Obama] jobs plan because it would allow the Bush tax cuts to lapse while reducing the deficit.”

Dude, you’re over-Dilling it.

Finally, we come to Matthew Dunlap – former legislator, former secretary of state, former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. Dunlap is the most experienced of the Senate contenders – and the least competent.

During Dunlap’s tenure as a constitutional officer, confidential state records were thrown in a Dumpster, where they were discovered by a TV reporter. A guy from Ireland got a Maine driver’s license from one of Dunlap’s employees, using it to buy a handgun that was later employed in a bank robbery. Dunlap admitted overlooking routine financial details that resulted in an unexpected budget deficit. In 2009, his office missed a constitutional deadline for certifying signatures on referendum petitions. He said his staff was overworked, neglecting to mention that, instead of checking off names, he’d spent a week of that crunch time at a conference in Kentucky. His tendency to show up at legislative committee meetings to testify on behalf of the Sportsman’s Alliance (he was a board member at the time) resulted in public concern about conflict of interest.

To his credit, he’s never been accused of blogging.

That’s the end of my presentation. Could somebody turn on the lights?

Hello? How come it’s still dark?

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