Joe’s Journal

Week15 – Summertime

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 06/24/2020 - 7:00am

Last Sunday, Boothbay Harbor looked like summer.

A warm sun smiled as local clergy asked the Almighty to protect our fishermen in the annual blessing of the fleet. A blue and white yacht, nearly the size of one of the BIW destroyers, bobbed at anchor while another biggie sat at Brown's dock. Brady's patio was filled with smiling customers, as others lined up to enter Ralph Smith's Boat House Bistro.

Russ Pinkham smiled as a happy customer picked up a fresh halibut fillet. He said his gourmet market was so busy on Saturday that it looked like the Fourth of July.

Tourists from near and far, few wearing masks, milled around the docks nosing in and out of shops.

Don't get me wrong; it was not a full house, but it wasn't bad, considering we are in the midst of a pandemic that has sickened more than 2.2 million Americans and taken the lives of nearly 120,000.

Despite those grim numbers, our state has been fortunate to have had just under 3,000 sickened, while 102 residents of the Great State of Maine have died.

Here at home, in Lincoln County, we have had just 21 cases of Covid-19. Thank the Lord, we have had no fatalities.

Oh yes, the virus also triggered a severe economic downturn throwing thousands out of work, but that is another story.

Ready or not, the summer of 2020 is here.

As the virus has trashed our business and social calendars, it has wreaked havoc with the timetables of our political friends as Gov. Janet Mills postponed the June primary election to July 14.

In case you live off the grid in the deep woods, national pollsters and pundits say our Sen. Susan Collins, the longtime Republican seeking her fifth term, could be in trouble.

Democrat Sara Gideon, the Maine Legislature's House Speaker, is the favorite to oppose her.

Gideon must win her party's nomination over two other hopefuls, but national party supporters decided she is the most likely winner of the July primary. They have filled the airwaves with ads touting her and knocking Collins. The incumbent and national GOP backers countered. It looks like both sides have spent a ton.

Over the years, Collins has steered a lot of federal money to Maine and her shipbuilders. However, pundits suggest some voters, including Democrats, who supported her in the past, may oppose her because she voted to support Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and voted to acquit President Donald Trump during the impeachment trial. Collins knows she is in the fight of her life and is fighting back.

It is no secret that the 2020 Presidential contest is unlike any seen since the olden days when candidates like U.S. Grant and Benjamin Harrison stayed home and let surrogates do the campaigning for them.

This time, it was the pandemic that forced Republican President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden, his Democratic rival, to stay home.

As the incumbent, Trump should be the favorite, but the virus tanked the economy. Then he was forced to confront the national protests following George Floyd’s death.

Pundits say Trump has failed to console the nation during a major crisis. Instead, they say he belittled, criticized and attacked Biden, Democrats, protesters, medical experts, and anyone who dares to criticize him.

Meanwhile, Biden has stayed home issuing statements and commitments via social media.

National polls say the voters are leaning toward Biden. The Cook Political Report, a respected national arbiter, says voters fault Trump for his actions during the pandemic crisis and race relations.

On top of this, his former national security advisor, John Bolton, wrote a tell-all memoir of his time on Trump's staff. It faults the president for a series of missteps and assorted fumbles. Trump tried to get a federal judge to block the book on national security grounds. But because the publisher had already distributed it to dozens of reporters, the judge declined. If you want more details, I suggest you buy the book.

Meanwhile, several news outlets, including the New York Times, say a group of young Trump opponents organized a social media campaign to trick the president's campaign staff into believing a huge crowd planned to attend his Saturday night rally in Tulsa. Instead of a full house, just 6,200 of the venue's 19,000 seats were filled, the Tulsa fire department said.

If a bunch of amateur computer fans can trick a major political organization, I wonder what experts from Russia, China, or Iran might be able to do in the fall.

Be safe. Be well.