All the political oxygen has been sucked out of the room by the monumental snarl surrounding the U.S. presidency. This may be why the appearance on stage of another Democrat contesting Sen. Susan Collins’ seat has received little attention. Nevertheless, here he is.
Yes, “he.” Jonathan Treacy of Oxford has become the fifth candidate to enter the Democratic primary scheduled for June 9, 2020, and the first male among them. Two candidates, Sara Gideon and Betsy Sweet, have traction. Self-proclaimed mermaid Bre Kidman, not so much.
Candidate number four, Milbridge physician Cathleen London, appears to have withdrawn from the race following her censure by the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine for everything from “inappropriate interactions” with patients and other professionals to “violating patient confidentiality.” Patient complaints included rudeness to patients and having dogs in her office. Let’s consider her gone.
Jonathan Treacy? He’s in. Treacy lives in Oxford, and is new to politics. His website (jontreacyforsenate.com) describes him as a retired Air Force major general with 34 years of service in various branches of the military, including combat operations.
This is what sets Treacy apart from the rest of the Democratic candidates. The United States is embroiled in conflicts all over the world, conflicts that bear little resemblance to what we used to call “war.” Now we are engaged in covert operations with non-governmental rebel groups and insurgencies of unclear origin, in places most of us could not locate on a map.
Chaambi? Batwa-Luba? Tripura? Oromo? The Lord’s Resistance Army? The U.S. may not be involved in all these troubled areas — yet. But they are all listed as “ongoing insurgencies” on a Wikipedia site, and in our current congressional delegation only Congressman Jared Golden has military experience.
Even now, with just one out of four of our federal representatives having a military background, we’re doing better than Congress as a whole. In the House and Senate together, less than 18 percent of U.S. members of Congress are veterans. After the Vietnam War, veterans made up almost 75 percent of Congress (militarytimes.com).
Treacy‘s list of critical issues is what one would expect: health care, climate change, women’s rights, education, immigration and gun safety, but his conversation is mostly about values, not programs. They are good, solid values, as all-American as it gets, but he has yet to sort out just how he would reach his goals to “protect our freedoms, promote prosperity with opportunity for all, end divisive government and serve the people.”
He is also late to the party. Both Sara Gideon and Betsy Sweet hit the streets months ago, locking up supporters and donors. Though the party is coy about it, Gideon is looking like their candidate of choice. As speaker of the House, she is at ease in gatherings large and small and is an articulate speaker. One of her gifts is the ability to stay on track with an audience.
Treacy has some distance to go in that regard. The ability to field questions in public on a wide array of issues is no simple matter, and at a recent meet-and-greet he struggled to keep his answers cohesive. Practice makes perfect, or at least better. For Treacy, a lot will depend on how steep a learning curve he can manage.
Of gun safety, Treacy says the “root cause of the problem is access,” calling efforts for gun safety “a fight we cannot lose.” He says he worries about his family, and wonders “when they will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Military weapons should be “reclassified,” as they once were, for military use only.
He believes that under the current administration America has abdicated its global leadership, a problem for which “there is no partial success. It’s all or nothing.” The “diplomatic service has been eviscerated” and “foreign aid is in shambles.” On the home front he says our country “is only surviving because of incredible debt.” In a reference to his would-be opponent, he says: “She’s been in office for 23 years and I still can’t call across town on my cell phone.”
There is no shortage of candidates who run only because they love the limelight. The perennial presidential candidate Vermin Love Supreme, who wears a boot on his head and carries a giant toothbrush. Basil Marceaux, who promised immunity from state crimes. Jonathan Albert “The Impaler” Sharkey, a self-styled vampire.
At the very least, Jon Treacy seems modest and sincere, a nice guy and a straight shooter, from whom we are not likely to get politics a la mode, which is to say the politics of which we are heartily sick. He is a man who has given his life to service to our country and wants to continue in a new role. We welcome him to the race.