Lost In Translation

Bruce Poliquin at a Republican Leadership press briefing in 2015. Bruce Poliquin at a Republican Leadership press briefing in 2015.

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 more.


“For nearly 40 years, majorities in Democratic- and Republican-controlled congresses have agreed that federal tax dollars should not be used to fund elective abortions. As a Franco-American Catholic, the congressman agrees.”


That seems clear enough. Except the question wasn’t about funding abortions. It was about Poliquin’s vote for a bill that makes it tougher for individuals to buy or businesses to offer their employees insurance that covers abortions.


Let’s be more direct. The Bangor Daily News asked the congressman if he supported cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Poliquin issued this statement:


“As a single father who raised a son mostly as a single dad after I lost my wife, I know how critical it is for women to receive health care services, especially those mothers caring for children.”


How does his being a single dad have anything to do with women’s health care? The rest of his response is equally opaque:


“In Congress, I’ve voted to increase funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s) in Maine’s 2nd District, which provide women’s health services. Since Maine’s 2nd District does not have any Planned Parenthood locations, but is home to these FQHC’s, sending funds to these facilities increases access to women’s health care.”


Does this mean Poliquin opposes spending federal money on anything not located in his district? If so, that’s bad news for nuclear waste disposal, Flint, Michigan’s water supply and Trump’s Mexican border wall. A little clarification, please.


“I support our nation’s current laws that prohibit federal funds from being used for elective abortions. To better serve our district, I believe these dollars should go to fund those doctors and health care providers in our district who currently provide care at our FQHC’s.”


That almost sounds reasonable, except no federal money is spent on elective abortions. So Poliquin’s plan to divert those dollars to FQHCs won’t be happening. More meaningless blather.


Abortion isn’t the only issue on which Poliquin refuses to give coherent answers. He refused to comment on Trump’s immigration restrictions aimed at Muslim-majority countries. “The Congressman will not be voting on these executive orders,” his spokesman told The Portland Press Herald. (Oddly, this was just a few days after Poliquin called for the U.S. Senate to repeal its filibuster rule, another matter on which he won’t be voting, but somehow manages to have an opinion.)


When GOP Gov. Paul LePage called on Trump to undo the designation of a national monument east of Baxter State Park, Poliquin took no stand, even though the land is in his district. “My No. 1 priority in Congress is creating and protecting jobs in Maine,” he boldly announced in a written statement.


Poliquin didn’t even have the guts last year to endorse his party’s nominee for president, repeatedly refusing to answer questions about whether he supported Trump. “The Maine media is obsessed with the presidential race,” his campaign spokesman emailed reporters. “Congressman Bruce Poliquin is obsessed with curbing the opioid epidemic, creating jobs, growing the economy and fighting terrorism.”


Fortunately for those who prefer to know where their congress-manikins stand on important issues, a recent invention may help. It employs complex scientific stuff to uncover the true meaning behind politicians’ utterances. One merely feeds the original quote in one end – called “the mouth” – and the decoded version comes out the other end – called “definitely not the mouth.” Here’s the result:


Poliquin on abortion: “I don’t want to discuss this, because I want you to vote for me.”


Poliquin on defunding Planned Parenthood: “I’m taking a pass on this one, because I want you to vote for me.”


Poliquin on immigration restrictions: “Pretty please, just forget this and vote for me.”


Poliquin on the national monument: “Vote for me or I’ll cry.”


And Poliquin on Trump: “Vote for me because I’m a cute little guy.”


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Last modified onMonday, 06 March 2017 13:06