There's been a huge spike in traffic to the blog since my post on the new, crazy Maine GOP platform.
Here's where most of the traffic is coming from (updated as other sites pick it up):
The New Republic
Little Green Footballs
The Washington Post
Crooks and Liars
The Randi Rhodes Show
An overwhelming majority of delegates to the Maine Republican convention tonight voted to scrap the the proposed party platform and replace it with a document created by a group of Tea Party activists.
The official platform for the Republican Party of Maine is now a mix of right-wing fringe policies, libertarian buzzwords and outright conspiracy theories.
The document calls for the elimination of the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, demands an investigation of "collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth," suggests the adoption of "Austrian Economics," declares that "'Freedom of Religion' does not mean 'freedom from religion'" (which I guess makes atheism illegal), insists that "healthcare is not a right," calls for the abrogation of the "UN Treaty on Rights of the Child" and the "Law Of The Sea Treaty" and declares that we must resist "efforts to create a one world government."
It also contains favorable mentions of both the Tea Party and Ron Paul. You can read the whole thing here.
Dan Billings, who has served as an attorney for the Maine GOP, called the new platform "wack job pablum" and "nutcase stuff."
Despite the document's crazy content, Maine Republican Party Chair Charlie Webster insisted to the AP that all of the elements in the platform are things that Republicans support. He claimed to the Press Herald that these issues reflect the values of working-class Mainers.
As you can see in this video of the vote, the document certainly represents the opinion of the vast majority of GOP delegates:
Party platforms often include planks that are outside the mainstream, which are often ignored by candidates and the public, but the extremism this document represents is unique and unsettling.
Steve Abbott's campaign was given a list of GOP convention delegates and their addresses before the other campaigns and used that information to contact a wide swath of the Republican activist base before their competitors.
This has some staffers for other republican campaigns crying foul and claiming favoritism and the Maine Republican Party in full denial mode.
The Abbott campaign sent a postcard to all delegates inviting them to his hospitality suite at the convention. It hit mailboxes two days before the list of delegates was made available to the other campaigns.
Below is the mailer and the email, both sent to me by a staffer at another campaign. The email has representatives from the Otten, Poliquin, Beardsley, LePage and Mills campaigns in the TO: field, with the Jacobson and Abbott campaigns absent.
From: Michelle Dale
To: [staffer emails redacted]
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2010 10:25 AM
Subject: delegate list
We now have the delegate/alternate list available, please let me know if you would like me to email you a copy. Sorry its been a long time coming, we still have people signing up to be a delegate and I wanted to make sure that we had the most current list to get to you.
According to the Abbott campaign, there was nothing nefarious about their receiving the list early.
As campaign spokesperson Lance Dutson explained, "We have people with connections with the party and with a really intimate understanding of the process of conventions."
According to Dutson, because of these connections and knowledge they simply knew to request the information early. He noted that former Maine GOP chair Mark Ellis is now an Abbott staffer.
According to the Maine Republican Party, however, the whole thing never happened.
Maine GOP administrative assistant Michelle Dale, the author of the email above, denies that Abbott got the list early.
"He did not receive it before them," she said flatly when reached by phone today.
When asked about the Abbott postcard, Dale said "you'll have to take that up with the Chairman" and reiterated her denial several times. "No. he didn't get it early."
On a related note, Down East online is moving to the open-source Drupal content management system (probably because they want to be cool like Obama), so authors will be able to post their own items and enjoy a more flexible format. I'm looking forward to taking full advantage.
If you enjoy Maine GOP squabbling, you'll love this.
Deirdre Fulton at the Portland Phoenix's About Town blog flags a mailer from the Maine GOP which attempts to use Todd Palin to connect with Maine snowmobile enthusiasts.
As you can see, the mailer also attacks Obama for accepting the endorsement of the Sierra Club.
At least this Maine GOP piece is positive. Other mailers from the party have mostly been anti-Obama smears.
Patrick Eisenhart was the only Maine delegate at the Republican National Convention who didn't vote in favor of John McCain, choosing instead to attempt to cast a ballot for Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
He's sent in a long look at the convention that provides a unique perspective on the proceedings. Here's an excerpt; click "read more" to see the whole thing.
The "Black Out of Congressman Paul" was so intense that only a few of the state delegations dared to utter his name when it came time to count the votes. For example the Maine delegation elected to say, "Maine casts 20 votes for John McCain" rather say "Maine casts 20 votes for John McCain and one for Congressman Paul". I suspect the strategy was to give the TV audience the impression that Maine and the other states were unanimous in support of Senator McCain.
Through it all, I was proud of my fellow Ron Paul delegates who comported themselves in a dignified, respectful, and civil manner just as Congress Paul has throughout ten terms in Congress, despite being maligned by his fellow Republicans and Democrats alike. I am especially proud of all the Ron Paul people back home, especially the newcomers to the process, who got off their couches and got involved to try to help our country.