Down East 2013 ©
Political consultant Dennis Bailey, recently the strategic force behind Rosa Scarcelli’s primary campaign, is now working for independent gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody. Fellow independent Eliot Cutler doesn't seem to like this.
Here's the text of an email he wrote to Bailey's recent employer, Democratic candidate Rosa Scarcelli:
Subject: Dennis Bailey
From Rosa Scarcelli to Shawn Moody? Infinitely adaptable, huh? (There's another word for that.)
Bailey, writing on his personal blog , assumes that the word Cutler is alluding to is "whore," but I guess if you're being charitable, there are a few other possibilities: mercenary, hustler, entrepreneur, opportunistic, cynical, capricious, variable, indiscriminate, unprincipled. Why yes, I do have a new thesaurus.
Regardless of the verbiage, Cutler's intent and his unprofessionalism are clear. A few words that might describe this email: spiteful, catty, churlish.
It also shows that Cutler is well aware of the threat that another strong independent campaign poses to his candidacy.
Cutler, Moody, and Kevin Scott, the other independent in the race, have been getting a lot of attention lately in the media, mostly because they are finally emerging from the shadow of the party primaries. What doesn’t seem to be getting much attention, however, are their policy positions.
Obviously, without a party label, it’s harder to make assumptions about the ideology and values of independents, especially those who haven’t held elective office. We know that Libby Mitchell is a Democrat and we see the choices she has made during her many years in elective office. We know that Paul Lepage is a Republican with some Tea Party tendencies and have his record as mayor of Waterville to examine. For Cutler, Moody and Scott, however, we just have their words – and not an overabundance of those.
Cutler has the longest description of his policy proposals on his Web site , but long certainly doesn’t mean detailed. In fact, his policy proposals seem designed to be a bit fuzzy. He identifies the problems he sees as priorities, but his solutions are a series of plans for mostly vaguely-defined “commissions,” “initiatives” and “frameworks” that could really mean just about anything.
Al Diamon took a look at Scott’s policy ideas in a recent column . His conclusion: the guy doesn’t have a clue (or a chance of getting elected).
Moody, however, is perhaps the worst offender. He seems to think that every problem in the state of Maine just happens to be solvable with the exact same skills he uses to run his small business. No details necessary.
Take this recent interview  on Good Day Maine (OK, not a paradigm of hard-hitting journalism, but still). Moody is asked about how he’ll fix the state’s budget woes and replies that “Shawn Moody's way is taking care of people, empowering people” and that “we need to get bottom-up restitution of the state budget process. Those people [state workers] know what's wrong, how to fix it. If we empower them and overhaul the state's budget process, it's gonna drive efficiencies, improvement, like the private sector.” He gives the employee stock option program at his collision repair centers as an example of what he means by empowerment.
I don’t think he’s suggesting that we give shares of the state to government bureaucrats. He seems instead to be proposing either some kind of informal canvass of state workers for ideas, or that some general improvements in working conditions will allow state employees to fix budget gaps on their own. Even proposing to create a Cutler-style commission would be a more concrete answer.
Moody is eventually asked for some specifics in the interview and he dodges the question like a veteran politico. Asked about his stance on social issues like gay marriage and abortion, Moody acts like the governor has nothing to do with them, declaring that “as governor, the last thing I would do is work my social agenda onto the people.”
There’s lots of time before November, but since the media is focusing on the independents right now anyway, let’s at least spend this time learning something, and not just vocabulary.