Saturday, April 19, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
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
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.