The Coastal Packet: Word: What happened to nice Maine politics?

Thursday, May 19

Word: What happened to nice Maine politics?

April Thibodeau, Maine Beacon - Maine used to be known as a kind, neighborly, decent state. We used to be known for the integrity of our elected officials, regardless of political party. We still are those things, and we still elect those people, but there is a long and dark shadow hanging over us these past seven years that makes it hard to see.

Something bad happened to us. Paul LePage happened to us. Winning on a split-ticket minority vote, suddenly we became represented by the type of vulgar extremist that would have Margaret Chase Smith spinning in her grave. And he quickly set to poisoning our politics and our political discourse to the point that nowadays Maine is barely recognizable.

Luckily, Maine has held on to enough of it’s identity to send Governor LePage a legislature that keeps him from carrying out his worst ideas, and manages to pass the most urgent legislation over his relentless vetoes. Democrats, independents and a few brave Republicans have stood up to him and done what they can to prevent Maine from sliding backwards, and even move us forward a little bit against the odds.

LePage’s hatred for this legislature is no secret. Rather than accepting compromise as part of his job of governing, he has refused to accept anything less than everything he wants, issuing a record number of vetoes, resulting in gridlock. He has aggressively attacked Democratic leaders, going so far as to use the power of his office to interfere in the outside employment of the Democratic Speaker of the House. He also attacks Republicans who occasionally disagree with him, or act in a bipartisan spirit to pass needed legislation over his vetoes. He has openly stated that he is now focused on the November election, trying to defeat those legislators that have crossed him and elect more party-line Republicans who will vote in lockstep with him.

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