Politics & Other Mistakes (73)

Faking it

Maine has many serious problems, so it’s only natural the Legislature would devote all its efforts to finding solutions.   Except there’s nothing natural about the Legislature (warning: contains androids, invasive species and random bits of plastic), so it’s no wonder legislators dither away their time on insignificant matters. As everyone in this state knows, actual issues of importance are settled by referendum.   Shuffling complicated policy questions off on the voters frees legislators to…

Give the credit where it’s due

Here’s a rule they don’t teach in economics classes:   It’s not just about lower taxes. It’s really about paying less in taxes than the competition.   Allow me to use myself as an example. Years ago, I developed a successful scheme to reduce my tax bill: I decided to make my living as freelance political columnist, thereby severely limiting my earnings. But even though my annual bills from the tax collectors in Augusta and…

Vanishing Land

Nobody likes moderates, anymore.   Once upon a time, middle-of-the-roaders were considered thoughtful and measured in their actions. They weighed a proposal’s advantages and consequences and attempted to craft a course that produced as much as possible of the former and as little of the latter. They preferred pragmatism over ideology and were open to fresh perspectives even if they came from the opposition. They got things done, although not quite enough for those on…

Lost In Translation

Here’s an official statement from Republican 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s spokesman, in response to a question from The Lewiston Sun Journal:   “The congressman understands that this topic raises passionate discussion on both sides of the issue. He agrees that all of us should extend compassion and support to every woman in need of care – and always offer help, never condemnation.”   No idea what Poliquin is talking about? Don’t worry, there’s…

With a conflicted heart

Ryan Tipping may be the most honest member of the Maine Legislature.   That’s not really a compliment.   The state law that governs legislative ethics can be roughly translated from the legalese thusly: Do whatever the hell you want. Just don’t get caught.   As ethics laws go, that’s pretty strict. In Illinois and Louisiana, lawmakers are required to commit criminal acts. And in our nation’s capital, the president is allowed to craft his…

Do nothing ‘till you hear from me

The Maine Legislature doesn’t like to be told what to do. That’s because the Legislature would prefer not doing anything. For a politician, doing stuff is risky. No matter how innocuous the action (a proclamation declaring National Don’t Do A Damn Thing Day), there are going to be people who won’t like it (probably the Alliance of Highly Motivated Doers). Once legislators are on record for or against, the folks annoyed with whatever they did…

Looking for the next bad thing

Rick Bennett isn’t going to be Maine’s next governor.   Too bad.   Bennett is probably what the state needs: a fiscal conservative with common sense and no pathological aversion to compromise. In other words, he’s 10 percent like current Gov. Paul LePage and 90 percent not.   One other difference: Bennett is pro-choice, LePage pro-life. With the U.S. Supreme Court likely to overturn or restrict Roe v. Wade, abortion is going to be a…

Don’t know much about history

Welcome to History 101 at Trump University. I’m your professor, Gov. Paul LePage.   In this class, you’ll learn the true history of the United States, free of political correctness and so-called scientific facts. After completing this course, you’ll see the world in a new light. A white light.   Let’s start where our problems began — with the Big Bang. This was a socialist plot to redistribute all matter equally, a sort of cosmic…

Smells like Bean spirit

I don’t like Linda Bean.   It’s not about politics. My negative attitude has nothing to do with Bean being fined for excessive donations to a political action committee she set up to support Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. Compared to her previous sins, that’s nothing.   Nevertheless, there have been calls by liberal activists to boycott L.L. Bean, the Freeport retailer, because Bean is a part-owner and a member of its board. If I accepted…

Do you trust the mainstream media?

Those alt-right weirdos say a lot of nasty stuff about the mainstream media. They might have a point. It’s not that I buy into the complaint that reporters and editors at daily newspapers and TV stations have a liberal bias. For the most part, that isn’t true. To have a bias, they’d have to know something about the subjects they’re reporting on. Often, that’s not the case. What makes it easy to dismiss much of…
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