Politics & Other Mistakes (93)

Something wicked this way comes

True story: Several years ago, anti-gay activist Michael Heath posted an item on his blog saying that if he were ever elected governor, he’d hire me as his press secretary.  That’s when I realized Michael Heath is an idiot. Apparently, Heath thought I’d make a good spokesman for his hateful agenda because I’m blunt, and TV makes me look fat. Overweight obnoxious guys are always the best salespeople for bigotry.  Unfortunately for my employment prospects…

Corn mash

I’m puzzled by Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s sudden concern about the health effects of ethanol. Last month, LePage ordered the Maine Center for Disease Control and the state Department of Environmental Protection to study whether ethanol emissions are responsible for an assortment of ailments, including opioid addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, asthma, higher crime rates, depression and Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves. One reason I’m puzzled is because LePage hates studies. For the past six years,…

School (funding) is for losers

Let’s discuss the mind-numbing topic of financing Maine’s schools. Just kidding. It’s summertime, and no normal person wants to think about paying for education. That can wait until fall. Or winter. This is the season for focusing on more engaging topics, such as beer, sex and afternoon naps. Although, to be honest, those things are mostly what I think about in fall and winter, too, leaving almost no space on my mental agenda for considering…

Poor loser

Mark Holbrook has worse manners than Ted Cruz. (He refused to shake his opponent’s hand after a debate and mocked him online for being divorced and remarried.) Holbrook is less electable than Carly Fiorina. (He’s a right-wing extremist running in a congressional district that skews strongly to the left.) And Holbrook’s public persona makes Donald Trump look normal – almost. (He included a quote on his website claiming President Obama pitted “his Muslims against Christians.”)…

Minimum effort

  There are two kinds of people claiming to support a higher minimum wage in Maine: 1. Those who genuinely believe raising the minimum from $7.50 per hour to $12 in several steps by voting for a referendum on the November ballot will improve the lives of folks who are struggling to make ends meet, and … 2. Liars. To help distinguish between the two, a little history might prove useful. But first, let’s take…

You get what you pay for

Maine legislators earn about $22,000 for a two-year term, somewhat less than the going rate for freelance political columnists. This seems fair, because state senators and representatives are only funny unintentionally. Nevertheless, there are frequent calls to raise legislative salaries, with proponents arguing that such miniscule compensation prevents average working folks from serving. As a consequence, the Legislature is overrun with retirees, lawyers, rich people and teachers (who have a special legal exemption that preserves…

Let’s get filthy

To clean up politics, we’ve got to get dirty. Instead of squandering millions of dollars on public financing of campaigns through Maine’s Clean Election Act, it’s time to acknowledge reality. Providing a few thousand bucks from the public coffers to a legislative candidate doesn’t reduce the amount of private funding expended on any particular race. It just diverts money that might have been donated directly to the campaign to political action committees (some run by…

Blue newspaper

Republican Gov. Paul LePage loves to tell audiences that buying a Maine daily newspaper is like paying someone to lie to you. Of course, the same could be said of the factually challenged governor. Matthew Gagnon, the chief executive officer of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center, sent out an email recently attacking the state’s largest daily. “It's no surprise that a libral (sic) rag of a publication like the Portland Press Herald reguarly (sic)…

Diminishing returns

As Donald Trump has so colorfully reminded us, size matters. Nobody wants to be perceived as … er … teeny weenie. Given the populist belief that bigger is better, it’s difficult to understand the logic that drives persistent efforts to reduce the size of the Maine Legislature. As pitiful as the current House (151 denizens) and Senate (35 critters) have been, there’s nothing to indicate that a legally mandated shrinkage would improve their performance. The…

It’s not over

It’s time to relax and take a break from politics. The Legislature has adjourned, not to return until December when there’ll be some new faces, but many more old faces, so don’t expect any change. Gov. Paul LePage has announced he’ll no longer make as many public appearances, because “rich college kids” and “idiots” show up to protest the idiotic things he says, while the media ignore his accomplishments and make a big deal out…
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