Angus King of the Moderates

Angus King, an ‘Independent’ politician, owns a rich literary heritage.

As the saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for Angus King.”

Likewise, there’s the Biblical story of King Angus, who proposed cutting the baby in half. When the true mother insisted that the other woman take it rather than see the baby killed, King Angus wisely said, “No, I really think it would be best if I just cut the baby in half.”

Apparently the residents of Maine take these lessons seriously, because former governor Angus King is the heavy favorite for the state’s open Senate seat. As the Washington Post reports, Mr. King is running on the message that, like Angus beef, no one has any idea what he’s made of:

PORTLAND, Maine — Angus King, the popular former Maine governor and favorite to be the state’s next U.S. senator thinks the way to win an election in 2012 is to stake out the middle ground, crusade against partisanship and present himself as a devout independent.

It is a bold strategy is this hyperpartisan age, but the depths of his moderation are captured by two photographs positioned side-by-side in his campaign headquarters; one of Ronald Reagan, the other of Robert F. Kennedy.

Moderation is a glass of red wine a night; Angus King’s choice of political heroes, like fasting all week and then spending the entire weekend camped out at an all-you-can-eat buffet, is irrational. Bold is Paul Ryan laying out a plan for national fiscal solvency, or even Obama offering up another half-trillion dollars in stimulus after the first one didn’t work. King’s self-flattery, on the other hand, shows that the only “depth of moderation” is shallow.

Lest we think this is all a cynical election strategy, King assures us that, once elected, he plans to continue to play hard-to-get: Continue reading