Gov. LePage wants to use the National Guard to fight the drug epidemic in Maine. Smart or not smart?

Phil: Let’s start by saying, if the Legislature had simply allocated the funds for the additional drug enforcement agents, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

Ethan: I love it when Republicans starting siding with more spending.

Phil: First, I said “allocate” money, not “appropriate more” money.

Second, I think that before the governor uses these resources, he really needs to convince all of Maine that this is a statewide problem, not something isolated to a single city or region.

Ethan: Whether statewide or regional, addiction is a problem in Maine worthy of government response. That said, his response is simply more of the same. We have drained the treasury by dumping money into the enforcement side of substance abuse.


It is time that we understand this as a health issue and treat it as such. That means education, rehabilitation and enforcement all have to go hand in hand. So, for me, this answer is not smart.

Phil: “Drained the treasury”? Come on. It’s smart to protect the people from the life-defeating effects of drugs. Stopping them from being available makes more sense than creating more programs, and if using the National Guard can do that? Smart.

Ethan: Look, you’re a supply-and-demand guy. We have spent a trillion dollars since President Nixon first declared a war on the supply side of drugs. The problem is worse today than when we started. How about we now focus on decreasing the demand?

Phil: I’ll spend a little more time on demand if your team will simply acknowledge that electronic benefits transfer cards are being used as currency to buy drugs.

Ethan: If Republicans think putting more government regulation on EBT cards is gonna put a dent in the drug epidemic, we are in big trouble.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, wants to loosen regulations on small banks. Smart or not smart?


Ethan: The one definite good thing about this plan is that Poliquin also said he wants more regulation on the big banks: “Catch the big guys. Regulate them more.” On that part, I couldn’t agree more.

Phil: I’ve lost confidence in banking regulators. In recent times, Congress and regulators motivated banks to lend, lend, lend for homeownership. Next thing we hear is that regulators have determined banks were too big to fail and needed hundreds of billions in bailouts. In my opinion, they should have failed.

Meanwhile, the costs of D.C.’s “re-regulation” are buried in new lending costs, which borrowers are paying for again. Even writing about this stuff makes my hair feel on fire. If Poliquin, a former finance guru, says easing regulation on small banks is smart, I’ll agree. Smart.

Ethan: Obviously we’ll need to see the specifics, but the collapse of our economy is still very fresh. I am not particularly willing to relive those nightmares. I am gonna say “not smart” until I see a very good reason to start rolling back Dodd-Frank.

Joe Baldacci has jumped into the race against Emily Cain for the Democratic nomination to run against Bruce Poliquin. Smart or not smart?

Phil: Two Democrats beating up on each other about which of them is more liberal and wants higher taxes, just to have the chance to lose against the incumbent six months later? This one is smart.


Ethan: It is a myth in American politics that primaries make it harder to win in the fall. Yes, they take resources, but they also sharpen candidates and build momentum.

Plus, democracy demands that people step up if they feel they have something to offer. So, assuming Baldacci feels he has a chance to win, who am I to say they shouldn’t take out papers?

Phil: Just listen to them. Both want more active engagement of government to “do more.” Do you really believe that 2nd Congressional District voters believe current regulations, taxes and trillions of federal debt are taking us to a brighter future?

Ethan: Are you saying CD2 residents don’t want someone who will invest in schools, the economy, health care and infrastructure? Because I beg to differ.

Phil: More spending – I mean, “investing” – has brought us to where we are today. But I wish Baldacci and Cain the best debating how much more of our money to spend, and I look forward to congratulating Poliquin on the start of his second term in January 2017.

Hillary Clinton turns her private Internet server over to the FBI. Smart or not smart?


Phil: Smart. And a long time coming. Trying to hide the truth from coming out is always going to bite you in the you-know-what.

Ethan: Republicans are more obsessed with Clinton’s emails than Roger Goodell is with Tom Brady’s texts. Wake me up when this one is over and you guys want to start talking about issues. Zzzzzz.

A state representative in Michigan sent an email to supporters claiming he had been busted having sex with a male prostitute in order to distract from the fact that he was actually having an affair with a female fellow state rep. Smart or not smart?

Phil: Can you repeat that?

Ethan: Yup. A married legislator sent an email claiming he got busted having sex with a male prostitute in order to distract from his actually having an affair with a married female fellow legislator. The best part? They are both tea partiers!

Phil: Being tea party-minded is the only smart thing I could discern from this.

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