Maine GOP’s World of Trouble

The catapults at the Maine Republican Party have been rearmed with fresh mud as Communications Director David Sorensen fires some heavy shots at a Democratic candidate for State Senate who plays a computer game. The sad part is, this isn’t a joke.

Colleen Lachowicz is a Democratic candidate for the Maine State Senate in District #25 against Republican incumbent Thomas Martin. She is also a regular gamer who plays Blizzard Entertainment’s highly popular World of Warcraft MMORPG. Essentially, it’s a lot like playing Dungeons and Dragons on your computer with several million people across the globe, minus the pencil and dice. Now many people in America are guilty of playing video games, whether it be the Madden series, Pokemon, or World of Warcraft. This doesn’t make those engaged in aggressive gaming inherently bad people.

Maybe that wasn’t Sorensen’s point. A website called Colleen’s World was launched with a long list of comments Lachowicz made on her blog, some that are very disturbing in their graphic violence. It is agreeable that Lachowicz is not fit to be a State Senator if this is to be her conduct and outlook on the world, but these are the only facts to be found here. There is no crime in gaming.

It very well could be possible that the Maine Republican Party never intended to attack the nine million gamers who helped propel World of Warcraft to the record for most popular MMORPG in terms of subscriber base, according to Guinness World Records. The website launched by the party claims that studies show the average gamer spends 22.7 hours playing, without noting what sort of “study” it used. But the over emphasis on the fantasy gaming part, with everything from her Orc avatar to the level of her fictional character, gives the impression she is under attack for her private life and gaming habits.

State Senator Tom Martin, Lachowicz’s opponent, has maintained the high ground by refusing to join the Republican leadership in mudslinging. One must compliment his class, which is obviously short at the top of the party.

The Maine Republican Party hasn’t been one for welcoming young individuals this year, notably doing everything in it’s power to shut out Ron Paul supporters, or “wing nuts”, in Chairman Charlie Webster’s words. The Paul Republicans have been dominantly young individuals who joined politics and the GOP enthusiastically, but have been turned away after a series of events. The lack of leadership of Webster and his overall abrasiveness has been hurting the big tent appeal.

Now Charlie Webster has another issue on his hands. The man who helped disrupt and delay the State Convention was given a role as Communications Director, and has adopted a style of pulling the trigger before properly loading the ammunition. Sorensen hits the wrong targets and especially now, will give negative publicity to his party.

One does not need to remind Republicans how critical everything is at this point. The Legislative majority gained in 2010, largely because of the active grassroots and peak of the Tea Party movement, could be threatened by continued disunity. Charlie Summers’ victory is essential, as Republicans cannot afford to lose any U.S. Senate seats. Mitt Romney’s victory in November could very well be dependent on Maine Congressional District #2, a district where even a tie would be a fortunate outcome for Republicans. Victory is an uphill battle, it has been for the start. But the Communications Director for the Maine Republican Party is not helping the internal party unity or external party image, both of which will damage the party’s appeal at the ballot box in November.

It’s time for Charlie Webster to step up to the plate. What he does at this point will reflect on his leadership which will be all questioned in December when his chairmanship is up for reelection. It will also reflect on the party, which stands five weeks out of a close general election. Change focus to the issues and not video games, or stand to lose it all in November.