November 17, 2012

Bizarre claim puts us in national spotlight again

Letter to the Editor

Who is Charlie Webster? Is he really the face, voice and spirit of the Republican Party in Maine?

Has this been the guy holding the reins of the Republican Party, guiding and leading it to victory these past few years?

I was stunned to read his allegations about voting fraud in the recent elections.

"In some parts of the state, there were dozens of black people who came in to vote," Webster said in a recent interview. "Nobody in town knew them."

(Hmmm, sounds serious.) When WCSH reporter Don Carrigan asked him which towns, Webster responded with "small, rural towns." And he added, "I'm not talking about 15 or 20. I'm talking hundreds."

Discounting the fact that President Barack Obama won in Maine by more than 100,000 votes, an unsubstantiated, unspecific allegation about something as serious as voting fraud made by a state political leader is almost in the too-bizarre category.

Was this merely an off-the-cuff verbal outburst, much like those statements from our governor we have all come to look forward to in a somewhat wincing, somewhat laughable sort of way?

This entire conversation might normally be relegated to the dustbin of political gaffes, but national media picked up the story, (Honestly, what reporter with any sense of the bizarre and outrageous wouldn't jump on this one?), and, yet again, Maine is in the national conscious because of statements made by one of our Republican leaders.

Since Nov. 6, anger has been, well, palpable. But really, get a grip. To have Webster on a mind-bending outrage making claims of some minority conspiracy invading small rural Maine towns is -- hmmm, what is the word? -- laughable. Actually, it would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

Steve Ball, Windsor

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