Photos: Screenshot from live-stream of Congressional campaign launch in Auburn.
Last week here in Maine, Eric Brakey, the libertarian-leaning, gun-loving, socialism-hating, immigrant-maligning conservative you've never heard of, announced he's running for Congress in our 2nd District on the wonky platform to "defend your freedoms and let you live your life!" At his launch, Brakey also met with the best photobomb ever. It's not the first time he's garnered unwanted attention: In his 2013 campaign for state Senate, having run Ron Paul's Maine presidential campaign and founded the libertarian Defense of Liberty PAC, the former actor won notoriety for a commercial he'd made for Vita CoCo coconut water showing him, evangelical Christians charged, "dancing around in his underwear (as) though he were demon-possessed." He was also the state's first candidate to accept campaign donations in bitcoins. He still won - Maine's funny that way. In office, he was known for a bill to allow 18-20-year-olds to carry concealed handguns, never mind the mountain of research showing that tender kids of that age are short on good judgment and big on idiocy; he also worked with local 6th graders to legalize hedgehogs as pets. Last year, he lost a U.S. Senate race to Independent Angus King. His platform was pro-2nd Amendment, anti-abortion rights, anti-regulation; he charged King wanted to “replace your kids with refugees” but argued he's not racist just because "we don’t want to see our communities transformed overnight."
Now he hopes to win a Congressional seat in the wide northern swath of Maine where Trump won by 10 points and Sen. Susan 'We Love Drunken Rapists' Collins serves, hopefully not for long. The seat is held by Jared Golden, who won a mid-term fight in the country's first ranked-voting election and flipped to blue the only GOP-held seat in New England, part of Maine's newly welcome move to the left after the Paul LePage debacle. Enter Brakey to stem the commie tide. "Liberty means you are an individual - free to decide how to live your own life," his website declares. "Socialism means you are a number - your choices and decisions managed by far-away bureaucrats based on someone else's idea of the 'common good.'" Strangely, he is still dancing, and his platform is much the same - guns and lots of "freedom." In a state where over 100,000 people have no health insurance, he suggests applying "free market principles" to health care rather than the "road to serfdom" that is Obamacare. Better to be "free," he says, with no regulations on insurance companies that have proved so humane to date. In his campaign launch at an Auburn diner, Brakey stood on a makeshift podium and praised an ever-nebulous freedom: “I believe in a free Maine and a free America. And that means Washington D.C. needs to mind its own business. Get out of our jobs, out of our healthcare, out of our gun closets.” On either side of him, two activists held signs dutifully if vaguely proclaiming, "FREEDOM." Their photobomb came about six minutes into his speech, when they quietly switched out the signs to, "FREEDOM FROM HEALTH CARE." Brakey proudly live-streamed the event on his Facebook page. Yes, it's still there.