Boy oh boy, did I mess up last week.
I wrote a column decrying the fact that Maine’s Republican Party, rather than engaging in thoughtful, intelligent debate on who should be Maine’s next U.S. senator, is obsessing on stupid stuff — like whether Angus King got permission to use Google Earth in his recent TV ad, or whether King included the word “authorized” in the ad’s subtext.
What’s worse, I complained, the Republicans were churning out this drivel while simultaneously (and falsely) whining that we in the media aren’t paying any attention to the weighty issues in the race between King, Republican Charlie Summers and Democrat Cynthia Dill.
That complaint struck me as hypocritical, which was why I led the column: “David Sorensen (the spokesman for Maine’s Republicans) reminds me of the kid who murders both of his parents and then asks the judge for mercy because he’s an orphan.”
I figured that old saw pretty much captured the situation. So did Crystal Canney, King’s spokeswoman, when she went on “The George Hale/Ric Tyler Show” in Bangor on Friday morning and referenced my “great column” to her radio audience.
Time to move on?
I wish. Monday morning, the Republican empire struck back.
“Chairman (Charlie) Webster Demands Apologies from Nemitz, King — Outrageous comments have no place in Maine politics,” fumed the press release from state Republican headquarters.
“Summers Campaign: King Needs to Apologize for Support of Hateful Remarks,” echoed the blast from Summers’ camp.
Ummm … and exactly what’s the problem here?
“Campaigns can get heated, but there is no place in Maine politics for this type of venomous personal attack,” charged Summers’ spokesman Drew Brandewie, who’s on loan from the staff of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and has been in Maine less than a month. “Comparing a political opponent to a murderer is clearly over the line …”
I swear I’m not making this up.
“This is a new low for liberal columnist Bill Nemitz,” wailed Webster. “Likening our staff to someone who murders his parents is disgusting. He should apologize for his outrageous remarks and MaineToday Media should hold him accountable for his violent vitriol.”
Now I understand that Charlie Summers needs to generate some heat — and fast — if he’s going to get any traction against King between now and Nov. 6.
And I’m more than happy to give Charlie Webster a bonus point for his dead-on use of alliteration — as any student of his past utterances will attest, “violent vitriol” is way outside the man’s comfort zone.
But Charlie and Charlie, my friends, we need to talk about analogies.
First, seeing as you’re both feeling under attack and all, let’s go to an unbiased source. The American Heritage Dictionary (which I deliberately chose because Republicans love the phrase “American Heritage”) defines “analogy” thusly:
“a. A similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar.
b. A comparison based on such similarity.”
Get it, Charlies?
The “similarity” was hypocrisy.
The “things that are otherwise dissimilar” were the kid who murdered his parents and Republican spokesman Sorensen.
And the “comparison based on such similarity?”
Well, Charlies, that was the lead to the column about all the stupid stuff — the one that now has both of you (sound the irony alert) spewing out even more stupid stuff.
Of course, if I were the cynical type, I’d think you guys both know this already.
I’d think that you put this crap out because it plays to your base, which I suspect includes more than a few folks who think “analogy” is what happens when you breathe in too much ragweed.
But here’s what I don’t get, Charlie Times Two. Why, with the primary season months behind us, are you guys still focusing myopically (like a telescope) on your hard-core, Republican base?
With Election Day fast approaching, why aren’t you taking off the dunce caps (like smart guys) and at least trying to appeal to voters who can only laugh (like hyenas) as you self-righteously impale yourselves on a literary device?
I can only hope Charlie and Charlie will address these pressing questions in their next round of news releases.
Meanwhile, as I said earlier, I’ve got my own mess to clean up.
So here goes:
Mindless misinterpretations notwithstanding, the leaders of Maine’s Republican Party, starting with the two Charlies, are not, never have been and never will be murderers.
They’re just idiots.
Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at: