Last month I decided to use this column to write a letter to Bruce Poliquin. The letter was in response to a video he posted on Facebook. The video is nearly 11 minutes of Bruce debasing himself in an ever-increasing, excruciating torrent of inexcusably embarrassing nonsense. The letter was an attempt to get him to stop the searing agony of his exponential, unintentional, reputational self-flagellation.
It did not work. But the response from readers made one thing clear: many of you don’t know who Bruce Poliquin is. Some of that is because he wasn’t very good at his job, as evidenced by his humiliating loss to Congressman-elect Jared Golden. But some of it is also because, for Bruce, media appearances lead to such unbearable self-abasement, as evidenced by the Facebook video. This means Bruce will stop at nothing, at times displaying what can only be described as a negative dignity, to avoid acknowledging his own opinions.
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s take the Bruce Poliquin Pop Quiz!
During his presentation at a cocktail reception held by the conservative activists at the Maine Heritage Policy Center in 2017, Bruce was asked why he doesn’t champion his beliefs to the public. How did he respond?
A) “There’s a certain conviction of character necessary to stand up for one’s beliefs. I simply don’t have it. It scares me to even consider it. I’ve never wet myself in public, per se, but just the thought of … Oh no. I may have spoken too soon. If you’ll excuse me…”
B) “Hey! That reminds me, you guys like Jadakiss? ‘Boom-bip-bip-bip-boom-boom the champ is here! Ca-caaw! Boom-bip-bip-bip-boom-boom the champ is here! Yeeah!’ Ha, ha! Oh, man. I love that song!”
C) “Do I talk to the national media? Not often. I’ve been dying to do what you want me to do. Dying to do it, but we’ve got to be very – it would be stupid for me to engage the national media and give them and everyone else the ammunition they need and we lose this seat. We have to be really careful.”
During a visit to Nason Park Manor, a senior living center in Bangor, Bruce was asked why he voted for the American Health Care Act (which, according to AARP Maine, would have slashed federal funding and raised costs for seniors). What was his response?
A) “I don’t – uh, I mean, I haven’t, um, you’ve gotta understand. Not everyone … Oh no. It’s happening again! Would you please direct me to the bathroom?”
B) “Well, of course I know that this bill hurts seniors, the working poor, people with disabilities, pregnant women, new mothers, and states suffering the most due to the opioid crisis — which, yes, I know includes my state. But I don’t answer to them now and I never will!”
C) To scurry away.
Back in August of 2016, when asked by a reporter if he would vote for then-candidate Trump, Bruce responded by:
A) Standing up straight, jutting out his chin, looking the reporter dead in the eye and proudly saying, “No. I know I’m a Republican but, you know what? I’m an American first. Actually, fuck that! I’m a goddamned human being first. For far too long we’ve let this country slide into decay. Actually, you know what? Scratch that, too! This country was built on the backs and graves of the very same people it continues to imprison and bury, and that just cannot continue. Very few people have actual political power, but I do and I will use every last bit of it to stop this pattern of destruction against Americans!”
B) Getting a coy look in his eye, taking a flirty tone and saying, “Well, you know what Jadakiss says, right? ‘No security guard can stop a refrigerator falling off a skyscraper.’”
C) Scurrying away, again.
In the spring of 2017, when reporter Jim Newell asked Bruce if he’d made up his mind on his Trumpcare vote, Bruce responded by:
A) Turning to Jim and saying, “Of course I have, Jim! I’m going to vote no! Now here, take this!” Then handing Jim a cassette of Jadakiss’ 2001 album Kiss tha Game Goodbye and continuing to stand there, smiling.
B) Shaking violently until his clothes and skin fell away, revealing him to be a three-foot-long actual worm, then slithering into the nearest heating vent before anyone could react.
C) To quote Jim Newell, “He said nothing and made a beeline to the restroom. Unfortunately it was the door to the women’s restroom that he had first run to, so he corrected himself and went into the men’s room. When he emerged several minutes later, he was wearing his earbuds and scurried away.”
Samuel James is an internationally renowned bluesman and storyteller, as well as a locally known filmmaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.