Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I wrote today to my state representative, who is a Republican, about the governor's veto of the state budget and about his latest remarks. It occurred to me that I could speak to all Republicans through this venue, so that is what I am trying to do with this letter.
Referring to Gov. LePage’s sexual remark about a legislator, a reader says, “Plain talk is one thing – Ronald Reagan was a plain talker – but vulgar talk is another.”
2013 Kennebec Journal File Photo/Andy Molloy
I don't have to tell you how upset I have been at the governor's remarks lately ("LePage draws fire for sexual remark," June 20). Plain talk is one thing -- Ronald Reagan was a plain talker -- but vulgar talk is another.
Having to explain his remarks about Vaseline to children can generally be avoided or re-directed, but I had to explain his remarks to my 89-year-old mother. This is not funny to me or an example of blunt speech; it is simply vulgar and unacceptable.
I do not like this governor and I did not vote for him, but I have never used vulgar speech in reference to him -- as tempting as it was -- because I honored the process of his election as I honor the office of governor.
Shouldn't I expect the same courtesy from him? Shouldn't he honor the people of the state of Maine in the same way?
It is time for principled people, no matter the party, to stand up to bullies and to stand for bipartisan agreements and hard compromise.
My outrage, embarrassment and anger with the governor have reached the boiling point, culminating with his latest vulgar remarks. There is a vast difference between being outspoken and being a bully and being vulgar.
How can a man whose personal cause is to end domestic violence and bullying openly practice verbal abuse against his opponents while preaching against abuse? What man, woman or child would even begin to take him seriously?
My outrage at his behaviors has nothing to do with politics or political beliefs. It has to do with not being a decent, caring human being who is supposed to represent all of the people of Maine.
Sadly, he does have and had espoused some salient political messages. However, his bullying and behavior have reached the point that no proud Mainer could ever support these kinds of behaviors.
It is sad when my adult children, who live out of state and, in one case, out of the country, are asked about the veracity and ignorance of the person who is in charge of their home state.
Something needs to done before vulgarity and bullying define Maine. His behaviors are worse than the damage any tax increase or political issues he opposes.
I've had enough.
When Gov. LePage was elected, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. I really did. I may not have voted for him, but for the sake of my state I wouldn't wish ill upon its leader.
I also respect that there are legitimate differences of opinion on policy issues important to Mainers. In fact, it's opposing views that keep our democracy healthy.
But what's coming out of the Blaine House today is of an entirely different sort. The list of offenses now runs far too long for a letter with a word limit, but LePage's comment last Thursday in describing his budgetary disagreement with Sen. Troy Jackson certainly crosses some invisible line.
You just don't say stuff like that -- far less so if you are the elected leader of a state tasked with representing the views of its people. It is unbecoming of the office.
Sadly, the comment is emblematic of a constant deterioration of LePage's leadership. Calling LePage "unfit to lead" would be overly generous. He is a national laughingstock.
But I'm not laughing. Because it's not just LePage's image that is harmed, it's the whole state.
It's the children in our schools whose education is jeopardized due to a lack of proper funding and a rudimentary school grading system. It's the homeless individuals on our streets who LePage has turned his back on. It's the 70,000 individuals who won't receive Medicaid due to reasoning by LePage that is factually dubious. It's you and me.
Over the next year and a half, I look forward to a healthy debate among the gubernatorial candidates about LePage's sorry record. I would also ask that the Press Herald clarify with LePage's spokesperson what exactly he meant by his comment.
We have entered the post-LePage era. His most recent serial outburst, disgusting and demeaning as it was, has justly earned him the contempt of most reasonable Maine voters of all stripes. He has forfeited his right to a second term.
The only question is how much self-inflicted harm the Republican Party is willing to accept as the price of the ticket to their post-LePage status. There are two options facing the party.
First, they can stick their head in the sand, rally around LePage, renominate him as their candidate and face the almost certain loss of the governorship, with the best-case scenario being that Eliot Cutler, an independent, gets elected.
The worst-case scenario is more probable: loss of the governorship to either Cutler or the Democratic candidate, and the wholesale loss of Senate and House seats.
The electorate will take out its revulsion not only on LePage, but also on a party that is seen as enabling and supporting his utterly unacceptable behavior as governor, not to mention their policy votes, which many will disagree with.
The Democrats would have veto-proof majorities in both houses, and, regardless of who is elected governor, would be in de facto control of the state government.
Second, the Republican Party could face reality and move now to contest LePage's bid to be renominated as their standard bearer. The adults in the party could attempt to reassert control.
It would be an ugly fight with the tea party types, and may still doom them in the governor's race, but they may be able to reclaim their future as a rational, governing party and salvage more House and Senate seats.
Either way, we have entered the post-LePage era. The question is, have we also entered the post-Republican era?
The governor said he made the remarks to "wake people up," and I think he has ("LePage: Sorry if you were offended," June 22). Everyone now knows we have a foul-mouthed bully in the Blaine House.