With 11 months to go before the next Election Day, the battle of the bumper stickers has begun, and I’m already fed up.
Last week, I was driving behind a work truck on Route 1 in Biddeford when I spotted a small sticker on its back window. “Keep Calm and Vote Cutler,” it read, with the green silhouette of a pine tree where the crown was on the original World War II-era British propaganda poster. God save the Queen — and while you’re at it, Lord, save us Mainers from this banality.
Last year’s most dubious sticker was produced by Angus King’s campaign. It’s the one that appropriates Moxie’s “distinctively different” white-and-blue font and bright orange background, with King’s mug replacing the pointing Moxie Boy’s face. Though it had the potential to be that rare bumper sticker that’s cooler than the candidate, the white suit coat and black tie combined with King’s white hair and mustache made the candidate look more like Colonel Sanders.
Cutler’s new sticker got me wondering what other stock phrases could be co-opted by political machines in the coming year. The whole “My [insert dog breed] Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student” series is ripe for exploitation: “My Pitbull Is Nicer Than My Governor,” “My Brown Dog Is More Loyal To Core Democratic Party Principles Than Your Blue Dog,” etc.
Here are a few that could work for either the Cutler or Michaud teams: “If Your Child Can Read This, Don’t Thank LePage,” “Mean Governors Suck,” “Question Reality — Vote Republican” and “I Believe The Liberal Media.”
LePage supporters can promote the governor’s record on environmental issues with this clever twist on the famous kale slogan: “Eat More Greens.” Or they could just rip off Cutler’s ripoff: “Get Enraged and Vote LePage.”
A lot of disgruntled Dems and independents have been sporting the “61%” stickers on their vehicles for the past three years, a reference to the percentage of voters who did not vote for LePage in 2010. But, of course, Cutler garnered even less support in that election, giving Democrats and Republicans the opportunity to display this stinging rebuke: “63.5%.”
Savvy political operatives know the power of projecting guilt by association. I’ll be waiting for some wag to surreptitiously slap this sticker on the bumper of Sen. Susan Collins’ vehicle next year: “I Brake for Tea Parties.” And for another wag to tag Rep. Chellie Pingree’s ride with, “My Other Car Is A Private Jet.” There’s also the ever-popular, “I’d Rather Be Fishing, But Pingree And The National Marine Fisheries Service Won’t Let Me.”
Michaud’s blue-collar supporters can call attention to a rival’s obscene wealth with this winner: “Butlers for Cutler.”
You can cost any candidate some votes by placing their propaganda on your bumper between two New York Yankees stickers and beneath a window decal depicting Calvin urinating on an American flag. (Just don’t attempt to drive this vehicle north of Augusta.)
Here’s one I expect to see in Bath soon: “It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need and BIW has to hold a bake sale to pay for its shipyard expansion.”
What Mainer can’t relate to this gem? “My Other Car Isn’t Inspected Either.” Or how about, “Follow Me: To A New Hampshire Liquor Store”? In Portland, there’s, “This Car Climbed Munjoy Hill — And Got Towed Off During The Parking Ban.”
But back to politics. The race to fill Michaud’s seat in the 2nd Congressional District has the potential to inspire some zingers: “Get Some Action, Vote Troy Jackson” turns LePage’s “Vaseline” comment to the candidate’s advantage. And his rival Emily Cain can deflect anti-Augusta sentiment with “Don’t Blame It On Cain.”
The Sugarloaf crowd can delight in this classic put-down of a Republican contender: “Bruce Poliquin Skis In Jeans.”
I’ve never put a political bumper sticker on my car, but I’d strongly consider affixing this one if someone printed some up: “If Moody Runs Again, Ram Me Here!”