Now here's the sort of man I'm talking about. Angus King is a marvel in American politics
-- a true independent
, a man not beholden to any political party, and yet one who has successfully been elected and reelected as a governor of a state (Maine
), and who now stands on the cusp of being elected from that same state to the US Senate
. Now, I won't pretend that I agree with all of King's political positions, but I surely see more common sense
in King's plain-spoken approach to politics writ large than in the partisan nonsense which has gripped the major parties.
by birth, King became a Mainer after earning a law degree from the University of Virginia
-- but he was no stranger to the area, having attended Dartmouth College
in neighboring New Hampshire
. King lawyered about and eventually came into an alternative energy company, advocating a wide variety of power sources including wind and solar. And then, in 1994, King entered politics. The sitting governor, Joe Brennan, was an old-time machine politics Democrat. The Republican challenger was a then-unknown Susan Collins
(who herself went on to become a Maine Senator), and a Green Party
candidate also made some waves on the ballot. In the end, King garnered 35% of the vote -- just enough to edge the incumbent and trounce the other contenders. In 1998, King was reelected with a commanding 59% of the vote.
For a brief period when King was governor of Maine and Jesse Ventura
was the (equally independent) governor of Minnesota
, the two of them formed an 'independent governors club' and had semi-regular meetings, building a friendship and mutual admiration which remains in place to this day. Their politics did not always match up -- in 2000, King backed George W. Bush
while Ventura championed Al Gore
-- with Ventura since having become more Libertarian, while King supported John Kerry
in 2004 and Barack Obama
in 2008. (King effectively endorsed Obama in March 2012, calling for him to be reelected over the "likely alternatives" -- at that time Mitt Romney
, Newt Gingrich
, and Rick Santorum
). Whether King has given much thought to Gary Johnson, there doesn't seem to be any press or public statement to indicate one way or the other.
Though King seems to lean towards government on a few more issues than I would care for (as governor, he pushed fingerprinting and background checks for schoolteachers, for example), he is generally libertarian in his outlook. He opposes government interference in marriage
, as well as in many aspects of business
and the economy
. And, most interestingly of all, he has expressed as well a willingness to come to the Senate and caucus with neither party, to remain a true independent. He would then possibly split right down the middle as issue come up (unlike the other independents-in-name, Bernie Sanders
who leans far to the left and caucuses with the Democrats, and Joe Lieberman
, who leans middle but caucuses with the Dems as well; Lisa Murkowski
was elected as an independent but is now formally and officially back with the Republicans). Of all of his proposals, my favorite is that Congress ought not to be paid until the budget is balanced.