As every sane Mainer knows, the wackiest ideas for improving this state come from people in the immediate vicinity of Portland.

Those weirdos want to let noncitizens vote. They want to turn Northern Maine into a national park. They were thinking of supporting Green Independent Lynne Williams for governor, until she failed to qualify for the ballot. Now, they’re deciding which of the remaining candidates is the furthest out on the fringe.

Might be something in the water that causes them to act that way. Might be something in the air.

Might be the weird rays emanating from volatile Portland City Councilor Dan (The Madder Hulk Gets, The Stronger Hulk Gets) Skolnik (who once informed the West End News, “My statement is not false. It’s not sufficiently accurate.”)

Whatever the cause, it’s been noticed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Abbott, who, according to published reports, told an audience at an Augusta debate earlier this month that he’d like to see fewer legislators from Portland because they “hatch and promote kooky ideas in this state.”

Abbott lives in Portland. Possibly a little too close to Skolnik.

At least he has that as an excuse. Paul LePage, one of his opponents for the GOP nomination, is from Waterville. At the same debate, he said, “In Southern Maine, yes, there’s a lot of kooks down there.”

I’m sure LePage has a campaign strategy all worked out for winning that kook vote. Possible slogan: I’m Certified As One Of You.

But future potential governors might not have to pander to the performance artists, eco-weenies, vegans, transgendered students and mutant mayors of Biddeford who dominate Southern Maine’s political, social and cultural life.

If Republican state Rep. Henry Joy of Crystal (municipal motto: About As Far From Dan Skolnik As You Can Get) has his way, politicians from the “real Maine” will never again have to deal with those freaks who are opposed to cutting down trees, shooting deer and riding snowmobiles on thin ice while simultaneously drinking coffee brandy, smoking unfiltered cigarettes and eating fried meat byproducts wrapped in white bread enhanced with extra gluten, preservatives and genetically engineered wheat.

Joy wants to split the state in two, with the northern part retaining the name of Maine, while the southern portion would be rechristened “Northern Massachusetts” and required to place signs at its borders reading, “Warning: Entering Skolnik Zone. Wear Protective Clothing.”

According to a press release from Joy, his reformulated Maine would include the counties of Aroostook, Piscataquis, Somerset, Franklin and Penobscot, as well as the least prosperous parts of Washington, Hancock and Oxford counties. The new state would have almost no tourists, almost no Democrats and almost no money.

No major changes there.

“Some people might think a bill to divide Maine into two states is a joke,” Joy said in his release.

I can’t imagine why.

Except for what he said next: “It won’t seem very funny if the environmental extremists get their way, and we see the forced relocation of the population of Northern Maine. That is exactly the plan of the 1992 Biodiversity Treaty, run by the United Nations. They want half of the United States to be returned to wilderness. Northern Maine would become part of the Northern Forest Bioregion, some 26 million acres of timberland running from northern New York to Eastern Maine.”

Attention, U.N. headquarters. We have a bad case of paranoid Skolnikosis here. Send in the black helicopters armed with tranquilizer guns.

“The environmentalists have been working towards this for years,” Joy continued, as forces from the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations attempted to haul him away to a re-education camp.

“They plan to take 10 million acres in Northern Maine and turn it over to the federal government. The land could not be used for any further development, and private property would be seized with no compensation. They don’t want anybody up there.”

If Joy could turn off his nuclear-powered conspiracy-theory generator for a moment, I’d point out that an independent Northern Maine might have some real advantages.

Since everybody there already works under the table, there’d be no reason to have a state income tax.

Since everybody drops out of school after sixth grade, there’d be no need for middle and high schools.

Health care? Just send the sick people out in the woods to be devoured by animals the healthy people can later kill and eat.

This is at least the fourth time Joy has unsuccessfully tried to convince the Legislature to split the state in two, although his previous attempts were based on such semi-rational notions as giving the north a measure of self-determination and reducing regulations on business. Those old plans lacked the over-the-top, frothing-at-the-mouth looniness of this proposal.

It’s so kooky, you’d almost think it was the idea of somebody from Portland.

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