Tony Payne Gives Up on the GOP

Al Diamon has a fascinating column this week where he delves into the strategic vision of Tony Payne and the Alliance for Maine's Future.

Apparently, instead of just trying to increase the number of Republicans the Maine legislature, the right-leaning (but "non-partisan") group will now be seeking out conservative Democrats and running them in primaries against progressive members of their own party.

Payne said the alliance is working with middle-of-the-road Dems to recruit centrist candidates to run against liberals in party primaries in 2010 and 2012. He hopes to create a moderate bloc of a dozen or more legislators capable of shifting the Democratic majority’s left-wing policies toward the middle of the political spectrum.

Payne said many of his GOP allies are shocked by his new approach, feeling he should be devoting his energies to reviving the feeble Republican legislative caucus.

"They’re not happy about it,” he said. “They think the Democrats are gaming us."

He said dealing with the Dems is simply being realistic.

"Maine is a blue state," he said. "We told our friends in the Republican world, ‘This is the only way to get anything done in this economy.’ We say, "Who do you want to deal with, [liberal Speaker of the House] Hannah Pingree or Bill Diamond?’"