Childish. Embarrassing. Shocking. Those are the words that come to mind when one thinks of the recent behavior of Gov. Paul LePage. Regardless of whether someone is a supporter of his policies or not, it’s impossible to condone his behavior, especially of late. It’s gotten so bad that Maine is making national headlines ”“ not for our economic development or accomplishments of any sort, but because of our governor’s continued offensive comments.

Many voters say they’d like a “straight talker” in office who will “tell it like it is,” but that just means we want the facts with no sugarcoating or promotional doublespeak. What LePage is doing isn’t “straight talking,” it’s offensive, divisive posturing.

His gaffes are beyond unprofessional, and they’re reflecting poorly on the entire State of Maine.

On Thursday, LePage made national headlines with a very personal, vulgar attack against Sen. Troy Jackson. His actual words are so shocking, coming from the state’s top office, that they bear repeating, as published in a recent Associated Press story:

“(Jackson) claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”

He later added: “Dammit, that comment is not politically correct, but we got to understand who this man is.

“This man is a bad person,” LePage continued. “He doesn’t only have no brains. He has a black heart and so does the leadership upstairs.”

Wow.

If you’re a brash type like LePage, this is the type of language you might banter around after a few beers with friends while complaining about the Legislature. It’s not the type of thing you say publicly when you’re representing the entire state.

We all get frustrated, and especially when emotions run high over differing budget priorities, but this is not where we want the level of political discourse to be in our state. Attacking someone’s position on a political issue and explaining why your point of view is better ”“ that’s all fair game. Calling someone names, insulting their intelligence and using sexually suggestive imagery to describe their work ”“ that’s juvenile and offensive.

In case the governor didn’t notice, there’s an election in 2014, and potential candidates are already tipping their hats toward the ring. The more he continues to act disrespectfully, disgracing the office and promoting divisiveness, the more ammo their campaigns will have.

We sincerely hope our governor will take a time out to think about how his lack of professionalism is reflecting on not only his administration, but our state as a whole. Yes, we want a straight talker, but we’d like one who respects his constituents enough to keep it civil and keep it clean.

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Today’s editorial was written by Managing Editor Kristen Schulze Muszynski on behalf of the Journal Tribune Editorial Board. Questions? Comments? Contact Kristen by calling 282-1535, Ext. 322, or via email at [email protected].