In a recent negative ad sent out by Democratic candidate for the Maine House of Representatives Joe Wagner, he launched a low attack on his opponent, incumbent Republican Representative Aaron Libby. It shows two pictures, one of former President Abraham Lincoln and another of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek. Beneath it, it says “American Government vs. Austrian economics”, noting the left is Wagner’s hero and the right is his opponent’s. It’s not exactly clear what Wagner is trying to get at here, but it appears to be a weak argument possibly suggesting Rep. Libby is a foreign sympathizer. That’s a stretch, unless Wagner is xenophobic. If Wagner despises foreigners, then one should ask why he’s running for office in America. Because, after all, his supposed hero was the one who freed foreigners from enslavement. But inconsistency is a given, welcome to politics.
For background purposes, Friedrich Hayek is a prominent economist who lived from 1899-1992, and is the author of the well-known book “The Road To Serfdom”, among others. In 1974, he shared the Nobel Memorial Award in Economic Sciences with Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal. Does Wagner believe Rep. Libby puts Austrians and Swedes before Maine? It’s still difficult to understand the logic behind this attack literature.
Today, the Austrian school of economics includes economists from all across the world. Walter Block is a born and raised American, starting his life in Brooklyn, New York. He now is a Professor of Economics at Loyola University New Orleans. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, alongside many Americans like Thomas E. Woods Jr., who was born in Massachusetts. Woods is a New York Times-bestselling author of many books, including topics of history and economics. It’s not just Austrian individuals, like Friedrich Hayek, it’s Americans like Block and Woods. Wagner appears to be uneducated, at the very least.
It’s the sort of tactics that Wagner employs however, that many despise. Negativity is one thing, but making a stretch out of nothing to try and create a negative response to a non-issue is another. Rep. Libby’s opponent did not attempt to call him out on a legitimate issue or disagreement, but rather resorted to something more dishonest. Wagner took two images and without any explanation, attempted to draw a negative comparison by stating President Lincoln was an American and Hayek is not. Again, one must wonder if Joe Wagner is xenophobic.
It’s no surprise when one takes a look over Wagner’s website, though. His website highlight a series of outlandish plans that would hurt Mainers. One is shifting the Legislature to a Unicameral structure. The justification for this shift is to eliminate the “constant-campaign syndrome” in politics. Elections keep politicians honest and more representation also means more voices for the people, as it makes it easier for representatives to connect with people. Joe Wagner believes the people should have less of a voice in Augusta and they should not be kept as honest as they are now. Take this and keep in mind that Wagner is evidently a terrible communicator to begin with. Representative Joe Wagner is an unsettling thought.
In the end, the choice is clear for the citizens of Maine House District #139. They can either chose from a proven, principled leader like incumbent Aaron Libby, or they can go with the incoherent Joe Wagner. Wagner, who believes “colonial period relics” should be done away with. The colonial period is our past though, and our past shapes us. Our founders endured the reasons why we have a free press, unrestrained by government, and a free people who are able to speak as they please without restraint by government. Our rights are ours and government cannot deprive us of a voice. Rep. Aaron Libby understands this and believes in it. Joe Wagner wants to take that away, while using his own voice to make confusing shots in negative campaign ads. As Mainers, do we want individuals of class representing us in Augusta or childlike statists running the show?