Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Bill Nemitz email@example.com
Dear Governor LePage,
So there I was on Saturday, wrapping up a weeklong vacation with the final chapter of a great book, “The Johnstown Flood,” by a great part-time Mainer, David McCullough of Camden.
“Boy does this guy have a way with words,” I thought to myself. “Not to mention his command of history.”
Closing the book, I figured it was time to check in on the news. And as always, Governor, you were atop the headlines, snarling for my attention.
Let me make sure I got this right: You’re apoplectic (sorry, that’s a McCullough-type word meaning “really PO’d”) at the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the constitutionality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
No surprise there, Big Guy. You hate “Obamacare” because ... because ... because “We Hate Obamacare!” is right up there at the top of the Republican National Talking Points. (Which is kind of ironic, since many of the initiatives enshrined in the new health-care law were Republican ideas to begin with.)
Man, I wish I’d been a fly on your office wall last week when Adrienne Bennett, your newly promoted communications director (see: Mission Impossible) dropped off the prepared text for your weekly Saturday radio address on how the Supreme Court’s ruling marks the end of the free world as we know it.
Now Ms. Bennett, to her credit, did what she’s paid to do – discern what she thinks is on your mind (see: Hubble Space Telescope) and turn it into intelligent, civil discourse on an issue that is as complex as it is controversial. That’s no easy feat – especially considering your contempt for words that exceed 12 letters or four syllables, whichever comes first.
But Ms. Bennett’s words, while perfectly clear and on point, weren’t quite you, were they, Governor? They lacked that trademark stupidity that you and only you spew so effortlessly week in and week out, one eruption after another, after another ... (see: Old Faithful).
So you got out your Sharpie. And when you got to the part where health-care freeloaders will be forced to pay penalties to the Internal Revenue Service for failing to obtain insurance like the rest of us, you inserted “the new Gestapo” right before the IRS.
Now I’m no David McCullough, Governor, but I’m pretty darned sure that the Gestapo specialized in imprisoning, torturing and killing helpless Jews and other oppressed minorities per order of Adolf Hitler during World War II. And I definitely know that had nothing to do with collecting penalties (or, if you prefer, taxes) as the IRS does.
Literary types might call your Gestapo reference a mixed metaphor. But not me, Governor. After almost two years of this stuff, I’m convinced you wouldn’t know a mixed metaphor if it walked up and hit you like a freight train.
No, I think it’s nothing more than plain old, ignorant trash talk.
The language spoken by your peeps, right Governor?
I know, your loyal base has loved you every step along this rhetorically hysterical journey – from the (mercifully unfulfilled) campaign promise to tell President Obama to “go to hell,” to the suggestion that the NAACP “kiss my butt,” to the women who “may have little beards” if they put a plastic bottle in the microwave, to all the “corrupt” middle managers in state government ...
And that’s just the stuff that made headlines!
Heck, just before I went on vacation, I got hold of a note you dashed off to state Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford. It seems he had the gall to send an email to his constituents criticizing your refusal to issue any of the bonds on this November’s ballot – even if voters approve them.
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