Phil Harriman and Ethan Strimling give their postmortem of the 2nd District debate between Jared Golden, Bruce Poliquin and Tiffany Bond.
Phil Harriman (left) and Ethan Strimling agree to disagree. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

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Ethan: Yo! Did you hear Newscenter Maine’s iconic anchor and moderator of our Political Brew segments, Pat Callaghan, is retiring next week?

Phil: Sadly I did. Callaghan has been moderating our debates since you and I first started at Newscenter in 2010!

Ethan: Phil, he has been at Newscenter decades before us. In fact, you were a young man when he became Maine’s anchorman. 

Phil: True, my friend. It was over 43 years ago that Pat was first in my home delivering the daily news. Among Pat’s professional qualities has been his longevity. He could have moved on to bigger, higher paying markets, yet he and Karen committed to make Maine their home.

Ethan: Longevity is merely a matter of survival. Truly, Pat’s best quality is how well dressed he is all the time. I mean, that guy must wear his suit and wingtips when walking his dog on the beach!

Phil: Ha! He is well dressed, but really, Strim, you overlook the fundamentals when it comes to judging Pat’s accomplishments. His best quality is really how hard he works. He is always either on the air comforting or informing viewers, or texting us (and likely a lot of other people) the latest political news.

Ethan: Hard work, like longevity, is overrated. Most people work hard in the same job their whole life, but barely have the impact Pat has had. Surely you agree, when you get right down to it, Pat’s best quality is how even handed he is when moderating debates. He never lets the knuckleheads, or the knuckle draggers, get under his skin.

Phil: True. Yet, suffering fools (i.e. politicians) is a skill many have. On air, his best quality is how even keeled he is no matter the situation. Ice storm. Breaking news. Human tragedy. Celebrities in the house. None of it matters. He handles it all behind that anchor desk with aplomb and poise.

Ethan: Even keeled? He’s not a boat, Phil! Unquestionably, his best quality is how probing his questions are when he interviews anyone.

Phil: Ethan, it’s not the questions he asks, it’s how good of a listener he is.

Ethan: A listener? Viewers don’t want to watch a guy listening on TV!  What Pat is best at is getting a politician to actually say something smart.

Phil: Many politicians have been in that arena and few have taken advantage of what you say, which is why, when it is all said and done, Pat’s best quality is actually how he keeps politicians from talking too much.

Ethan: Yeah, like how he keeps you from doing every Sunday morning on Political Brew.

Phil: More like what he keeps you from doing every Sunday morning on Political Brew.

Ethan: Well, we will just have to agree to disagree on what Pat’s best quality is. But I think we can both agree that he is our “Winner of the Week.”

Phil: And Maine people the “losers” when he does his final signoff on Dec. 9. Pat, if you are reading this, thanks for all the fun.

Ethan: Did you really have to get the last word in even on our tribute column?

Phil: Yup.