Reflections on Cutler’s Announcement

I didn’t know what to expect today, but I find myself feeling pretty ho-hum tonight about the whole Cutlerpalooza series of launch events. I’ve read the “book,” studied the clips from 2010 and watched OneMaine carefully. Cutler’s message today has been telegraphed for a long time, and I didn’t detect much deviation in today’s performance.

I hope I can use this space to impart a few requests for my readers, and for Democrats everywhere in Maine:

1) Stay calm. We’ve got this.

The Party you know now is the Party that brought us back from the political abyss. We know how to make smart tactical decisions. We know how to talk to voters. We are solid in our values and proud of the work we’ve done in the last three years. This is going to be a long, hard campaign, but we are ready. For many of us, this may be the most important political thing we do in our lifetimes. This campaign will be treated with that level of seriousness. We are putting the most resources and the best thinking into this race. The stakes are too high for anything short of that effort.

2) Enough about “spoilers.”

It’s time to retire this term, and the questions it elicits. I know for a fact that there is a lot of anxiety among the electorate about a split vote that allows Paul LePage to win a second term. It’s understandable, and it’s a powerful motivator. However, confronting Cutler, or a Cutler-ophile, with the direct question about running/not running serves no purpose anymore. It’s a moot point, and worse, it allows Cutler to assume one of his more powerful postures: victimhood. Let’s all commit today to accepting that he is in the race, but also that we have the clearest pathway to victory. If we do things right, Michaud will win on his own merits.

3) Read Cutler’s book.

Seriously. Get familiar with what he’s talking about. I’m going to keep my own analysis private (for now), but needless to say he presents us with a lot of good opportunities. Read up on Michaud’s issue statements, too, and look for more new ideas in the coming months. There is no substitute for being prepared.  

4) Get involved.

There is a lot of nervous energy coursing through the left/center-left right now. It is spiked by Cutler’s entry into the race, no doubt, so it’s a good time to remind everyone that you have outlets available to you. The MDP has been working on the race for months, and we will continue non-stop into 2014. You can be frustrated, anxious, fearful, excited or anything in between. However, if you’ll only be actually helping if you sign up. We’ve defended the vote, won special elections in races we could have lost, and turned the Legislature from all red to all blue in one cycle. Our statewide networks are getting stronger, our volunteer leaders are more committed than ever, and the Party’s leaders have your back.

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for since we woke up on that awful November day in 2010. We always knew this final step would be the hardest, and Cutler’s announcement today only serves to confirm it. But, don’t forget, we’ve got a guy at the top of the ticket who’s won 17 elections and lost none. He’s earned hundreds of thousands of votes over his career for a reason. He’s battle-tested and no one will outwork him. He understands what average Maine people are going through and he shares their mainstream values. He hasn’t had time to write a book because he’s been walking the walk. He’s Mike Michaud and he’s going to be our next Governor.

With your help.

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