Politics & Other Mistakes (96)

Hard cases

Last week, I presented my list of Maine’s wimpiest political figures. Now, it’s time for the tough stuff. Here are the state’s most unyielding electoral warriors, ranked by increasing degree of what I’ll politely call “intestinal fortitude.” 10. Roger Katz. A Republican state senator with the gall to declare Donald Trump “not fit to be president” and to publish a 2013 op-ed criticizing his own party’s governor. He said Paul LePage exhibited behavior “I have…

Spineless

Who are Maine’s toughest and wimpiest politicians?   To answer that question, I conducted a comprehensive survey (which involved sitting in my office, drinking beer and binge watching old episodes of “Mike Tyson Mysteries”). This highly scientific method of determining strength of character produced two definitive lists, which I’ll share with you this week and next.   First, the wimps. Here are the top 10, ranked by decreasing quantity of backbone.   10. Ken Fredette.…

(Not his) drug of choice

There’s methadone to Gov. Paul LePage’s madness. Bad puns aside (and I admit that one seems to make no sense, but bear with me), LePage has a valid point when he criticizes drug-abuse treatment programs that dispense methadone. Most of Maine’s nine dispensaries for this stuff are run by for-profit corporations that accomplish little more than switching their clients from one dangerous drug to another, while providing an ineffective level of the counseling required to…

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…
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