It was hardly surprising that the professional left would unsheathe its long knives in the wake of the electoral landslide that buried thousands of liberal politicians from coast to coast on Election Day. But many of us who applauded that electoral outcome were unprepared for the ugly braying from the naysayers even before Maine’s new governor took the oath of office. Nor did we expect to hear such silly, baseless criticisms of the new conservative majority in the U.S. House.
Quite frankly, I’m pleased Gov. Paul LePage hired his 22-year-old daughter as an executive assistant. She has her dad’s back, and that’s a good thing. Lauren LePage worked on policy issues during the campaign and transition, and based on what I’ve heard from Maine people who dealt with her during the past year, she did an outstanding job. All the wailing and gnashing of teeth over her $41,000 annual salary shows just how much we’ve lowered our standards and expectations of what constitutes a well-paying job, after decades of one-party rule that has hobbled and handcuffed Maine’s private sector.
In Washington, it’s about time our lawmakers adopted a rule requiring them to cite the provisions of the U.S. Constitution that authorize proposed legislation. After all, they take an oath to uphold the Constitution, so what’s all the fuss about making them include a brief statement citing some specific constitutional authority for their proposals? Liberal objections that it will increase polarization in Congress are really an argument in favor of the new rule.
We need more polarization in Augusta and Washington, not less. That’s what elections are about, and elections have consequences.
In Maine, 81 percent of the voters said “No way” to four more years of liberal Democrat expansion of the Nanny State. We elected a conservative governor and conservative leadership in both houses of the Legislature, and now we expect them to get to work repairing the damage that’s been done by past administrations and Legislatures.
Rescinding the disgraceful executive order that made Maine a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants was a good first step. Polarizing? You bet. Paul LePage said during the campaign that he would do it, and he kept that promise on his first day in office. How refreshing is that?
To the naysayers who complain that the new governor needs to build “consensus” for his policy decisions, let me ask: How do you find consensus, or split the difference, between being a sanctuary state and not being a sanctuary state?
At the national level, voters made it very clear they are angry about government spending that has exploded from 20 percent to 25 percent of gross domestic product in just two years, and more than $5 trillion in new debt since Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House four years ago. Members of Congress who rammed through the 2,400-page ObamaCare bill last year could run, but they couldn’t hide from the wrath of voters who picked them off one by one and replaced them in many cases with tea party-backed candidates committed to repealing this corrupt, job-killing government takeover of one-sixth of the U.S. economy.
The liberal media establishment’s disdain for the tea party movement reflects the ruling-class condescension that helped give birth to this spontaneous, grass-roots uprising against the unholy alliance of big government, big business and big labor. Many of these tea party folks may be rough around the edges, but they are decent, patriotic Americans who understand that our current course is unsustainable. They are demanding accountability and transparency from their elected officials after decades of apathy and neglect.
The new Congress, the new Legislature, and our new governor are all on probation. If they don’t walk the walk after they talked the talk, there will be consequences at the next election.
Perhaps it will take more than one election cycle to clean the stables in Augusta and Washington. Polarization? Yes indeed. Bring it on.
Larry Lockman of Amherst is a legislative research analyst. His e-mail address is email@example.com.