The Bollard’s View



photo/courtesy Hoffman
photo/courtesy Hoffman

U.S. Senate: Herb Hoffman

The Bollard enthusiastically endorses Herb Hoffman to represent Maine in the United States Senate. 

Hoffman is a Harvard graduate, a Korean War veteran and retired psychologist living in Ogunquit. He was widowed in 2006 after 48 years of marriage, and has two grown children.

A lifelong Democrat who worked on Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign, Hoffman ditched the party earlier this year, fed up with the Dems’ spineless response to the war in Iraq and abuses of power perpetrated during the ongoing global war on terror. 

Hoffman fell just short of getting his name on the ballot this year. State Democratic Party officials challenged the validity of his ballot petitions on grounds that he had not personally witnessed a handful of signatures. In a controversial decision with national implications for voting rights, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court invalidated 90 valid signatures because they appeared on the same pages as three that were not properly witnessed. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Hoffman’s appeal.    

Hoffman should have turned in far more signatures than he did to ensure such technicalities would not nix his bid to get on the ballot. But the state Donkey Party revealed what real asses they are by resorting to the types of tactics more commonly associated with Republicans — a craven move to keep Hoffman from siphoning votes from Tom Allen.

Allen is a bland Congressional benchwarmer who’s had no discernible influence or voice in national affairs during a dozen years in Washington. His vote against giving Bush authority to invade Iraq is commendable, as is his support of efforts to ban landmines, further gay rights and other progressive causes. But on balance, he’s been ineffective; a follower, not a leader, who routinely puts politics before principles.

Republican incumbent Susan Collins deserves to be kicked out of office for her Iraq war vote alone. Add on her votes to put Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court and her active support of a slew of disastrous Bush economic and military policies, and it’s clear Collins must go.   

Hoffman embodies our values. His commitment to peace and justice is genuine and absolute. His election would spare us the kind of grim spectacle we witnessed earlier this year: Collins and Allen bashing each other over who can pressure the Navy to build more billion-dollar destroyers in Bath. Hoffman’s a member of Maine Veterans for Peace, the group that holds vigils outside Bath Iron Works to protest obscene military spending.  

Portland City Clerk Linda Cohen said voters can write “Herbert Hoffman,” “Herb Hoffman” or even just “Hoffman” on the ballot to indicate their support, but stressed that you must also fill in the oval next to the write-in line. If you don’t, your vote won’t count — and you can count on the Anti-Democratic Party to challenge every single one.     


U.S. House: No Endorsement

We really wish we could endorse Charlie Summers on the basis of one key attribute: he’s not Chellie Pingree. 

Alas, Summers falls just short of our minimum standards for endorsement. His opposition to additional gun-control measures and embrace of nuclear power are disappointing, but not deal-breakers. As a freshman Congressman, he couldn’t do much damage on those fronts, anyway. 

More troubling is his hardline stance in defense of maintaining our huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and his past support of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. It’s nice that he says he supports civil unions, but his “marriage is a religious ceremony” argument is bullshit — the government confers marriage rights, not Jesus, Moses, Buddha or Ganesh. 

Which is not to say we won’t be voting for him. We just can’t champion his candidacy.

Pingree’s positions are much more aligned with our values, but she’s got an insurmountable fault: she’s a liar. 

We’re not talking about the run-of-mill fibs politicians spout all the time. Pingree has shown she’s willing to lie about deeply personal things, the stuff closest to one’s heart, and to do so for ugly political reasons — in this case, to try to obscure a relationship tied to big bundles of campaign cash.

That’d be Pingree’s relationship with S. Donald Sussman, the super-rich hedge fund guru and soft-money ATM whose pals and employees have loaded the former Common Cause president’s campaign war chest with well over $100,000. As reported in our July cover story, “Chasing Chellie,” the Pingree campaign repeatedly insisted this summer that she and Sussman were just “friends.” 

That’s a lie. As the Maine Sunday Telegram reported in passing in a Sept. 21 puff piece on Pingree, she’s been “dating” Sussman “for several months.” (Our sources say they’ve been a couple much longer, and the Telegram also low-balled the amount Sussman’s various associates have contributed to her campaign, reporting less than half the actual total to date.) 

We don’t trust Pingree. The potential conflicts of interest this coupling creates are numerous and wide-ranging, stretching from legislation affecting Wall Street (hedge funds in particular) to U.S. policies toward China, Israel and Maine. (Pingree’s daughter, Hannah, is poised to become Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, spawning an additional set of potential conflicts.) 

Chellie Pingree’s claims to be above Sussman’s influence ring hollow in light of her repeated lies about the nature of their relationship.      

And look at how she handled our inquiry: she lied, then her campaign accused us of wrongdoing for asking about the affair, cut off all communication with us and finally (partially) admitted the relationship to the mainstream press. (Reminds us of another prominent Dem, a fella from North Carolina with nice hair who couldn’t outfox the National Enquirer.)

If this is the way Pingree conducts herself before she’s in power, we have no confidence she’d be able to work honestly and constructively in the snake pit of Washington D.C.. 

Then again, maybe she’d fit in just fine.

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