Politics & Other Mistakes (85)

Kingdom of gettin’ it wrong

Would Mary Mayhew make a good governor? Hell, no. Republican Mayhew, who recently resigned after six years as commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services so she could announce her gubernatorial ambitions, has an interesting resume. She’s been an active Democrat, directing a 1990 congressional campaign, working for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and serving as a congressional aide. She’s also lobbied for the Maine Hospital Association, which strongly supports Medicaid expansion, the…

Gods and Monsters

Politics is such a contentious topic right now, it appears nobody can agree on anything. Let’s turn down the temperature a bit by discussing something less controversial: Religion. Or, more precisely, the lack thereof. The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees us the freedom to worship any deity we choose. Yahweh. Jesus. Allah. Buddha. The Great Spirit. The sun. A volcano. Mr. Wednesday on “American Gods.” The government is prohibited from meddling in spiritual…

Dope and money

You may find it hard to believe, but the Legislature has a sense of humor. It’s pretty feeble, but any sign of comedic instincts at the State House has to be encouraging. As proof of this tentative tendency toward funniness, I offer the official name of the task force the state House and Senate created to deal with how legal pot will be regulated. It’s called the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation. I…

All the small things

I’d like to think Paul LePage is a rational person. I’d also like to think every shot of booze I drink counts as a helping of vegetables. Sadly, evidence indicates neither of these is true. Nevertheless, LePage, Maine’s carnival freak show of a governor, continues to say stuff that doesn’t make sense. And I continue to drink. Coincidentally, the latest examples of both those activities have intersected at the convenience store counter where they sell…

Let the games begin

The field for the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Maine is set. Independent incumbent, Angus King will take on Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey and a Democrat whose name will be no more memorable after the election than it is right now. GOP Gov. Paul LePage had said on several occasions that he might challenge King, but in early May, his top political adviser announced LePage would take a pass. His official reason was that…

Send in the clowns

Nothing says civility like a heavily armed National Guard unit. If you’re concerned that social conventions in the United States might be breaking down, fear no more. Paul LePage, Maine’s Republican governor and reptilian invasive species, announced during a recent radio interview that he’s considered employing the military to deal with “an internal domestic problem.” I had one of those. But a couple boxes of d-Con took care of it. To be fair to the…

Fading Out

WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS COLUMN WHILE DRIVING, OPERATING HEAVY MACHINERY, STANDING ON A CLIFF OR SLURPING HOT SOUP. DUE TO THE THREAT OF BOREDOM-INDUCED CATATONIA, YOU MAY BE AT RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY, DEATH OR EVEN PUBLIC HUMILIATION. I AM NOT KIDDING. Well, I might be kidding a little. But it’s nearly impossible to explain the technicalities of the state budget process in an entertaining fashion. Even an experienced journalist such as myself requires…

Whiskey-bent and Hell-bound

The most important issue in Maine’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign is: Can Paul LePage pardon a dog? Also, who is this Susan Collins person, and why has she never bothered to introduce herself to LePage? But back to the pooch. Gov. LePage claims he can pardon dogs the courts have ordered euthanized after they’ve been found to be dangerous. Next year’s potential gubernatorial prospects are deeply divided on this issue. When asked, conservatives rolled their eyes,…

I don’t recall

Here’s a great idea for those of you interested in making things worse: Let’s allow voters to recall any elected official in Maine that they don’t like, including the governor. Democratic state Sen. Justin Chenette of Saco has introduced a bill to do exactly that. Never mind that it’s probably unconstitutional (more on that later). The big problem is it’s a recipe for political chaos. If you think the state is currently divided — Democrats…

Angus King of Nothing

“An independent,” writes P.J. O’Rourke, “is a person who doesn’t know what to think. And is proud of it.” O’Rourke’s comment — from his latest book, How The Hell Did This Happen? — wasn’t specifically aimed at independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine. But it could have been. King has a reputation for taking thoughtful stands on issues. Which is a polite way of saying he dithers around, before reverting to his default setting:…
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