December 29, 2013

Commentary: The sound and the silly of Maine politics

In 2013 there was no beginning, and no end, to the trivial and wacky antics in Augusta.

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Paul Nickerson, dressed as Uncle Sam, disrupts a September media event where Gov. Paul LePage, background, presented a check to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for backlogged Medicaid payments.

2013 Press Herald file/John Patriquin

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Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, was the target of the governor’s ire – and an infamous crude comment – in June.

Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

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He wrote that it’s obvious from looking at them that truckers “don’t have a whole hell of a lot of brains in their heads.” He then demanded that Auburn police form a regular patrol on his street and rack up citations against the brainless, yet somehow cunning, menace.

Brains also were on the mind of Rep. Kenneth Fredette on June 13 when the House Republican leader embarked on a perilous floor speech to oppose Medicaid expansion. Fredette attempted to disassemble the Democratic argument that Medicaid expansion is free by drawing an analogy from the book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”

Fredette was attempting to say that the two parties approached the Medicaid issue differently, but Democrats quickly took his analogy to its logical conclusion: Democrats are women who don’t understand that things aren’t free.

Politicians contemplating such comparisons in public typically receive a twinge signaling danger. It’s unclear if Fredette experienced this sensation, but he ignored it if he did.

So did Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant, who was forced to apologize for trying to parse a woman’s brain. Grant, attempting to defend Democratic lawmakers’ initial move to reject a sex trafficking bill sponsored by Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, told the Maine Public Broadcasting Network that Republicans were “desperate to try to realign a gender gap that their party faces at the polls” and that Volk “needs to kind of soften her hard edges.”


If you think that hurt, just wait until 2014. 

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

Twitter: @stevemistler


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Additional Photos

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A television located outside the governor’s State House office was the source of much media attention in May.

Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file


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