Little boys’ misbehavior gets old fast

Posted Jan. 21, 2011, at 10:57 p.m.

Sometimes it’s funny when the impish little boy purposely burps at the dinner table — once.

You know. He’s sort of cute and a little mischievous, enough so that it compensates for the actual inappropriateness of it.

The resulting amused reaction might cause the child to give it a second go, which may be met with a gentle smile and an admonishment that enough is enough.

By the third time, punishment is threatened, and the diners are no longer amused and may actually be quite disgusted and perhaps question the little tyke’s upbringing.

But he’s a kid, and one hopes he hears his admonishment, learns a lesson and moves on.

Of course, in Gov. Paul LePage’s nonpolitically correct world, the cute little guy wouldn’t have burped at the dinner table at all. He would have belched, and when gently admonished by his mother would have spoken up like the plain-talkin’ boy he is and told her to kiss his butt.

Not very respectful of the boy, but what place does respect have in the non-PC world that LePage and his defenders want to live in?

Last June, after LePage’s stunning victory in the seven-way Republican primary, I predicted that news reporters across the state would have a grand time covering his administration should he be elected in November.

He was, and they are.

It would appear that I underestimated the governor’s reach, however, seeing as how the national press also seems to be enjoying his astonishing lack of ability to be civil and respectful when the cameras are rolling.

Defenders of LePage’s “Tell ’em to kiss my butt” remark to the NAACP laud him for standing up against special interest groups and for speaking plainly. You know, like the ordinary man. Enough of this politically correct crap we’re all subjected to by the other politicians.

After all, LePage isn’t a “professional politician” like the rest of ’em, his defenders argue on readers comment sites.

No sirree. He’s just a former mayor and now a governor.

I hate to break it to the LePage defenders, but the guy is a politician.

I’ll give them this, though: He is not terribly professional.

The video that is posted on multiple websites shows LePage grinning proudly after he made his “kiss my butt” remark. He looks around, sort of like a misbehaving child, seeming to search for accolades and laughs from the supporters and staff standing behind him.

From LePage’s next remark, it would appear that perhaps his communications director, Dan Demeritt, did not find it quite so amusing.

“Aww, I got Dan all upset,” a chuckling LePage told a reporter.

I would imagine so, since LePage would go on with his day, leaving Demeritt to the mess of trying to explain to the media masses that his boss wasn’t a complete horse’s ass.

Demeritt got his position in LePage’s camp shortly after LePage used foul language during a press conference, became alarmingly angry at reporters and told a group of fishermen that he was prepared to tell President Obama to “go to hell.”

Demeritt seemed to calm the waters quickly and, I have no doubt, help steer LePage to his victory in November.

It would seem that Demeritt had the ability to “handle” LePage.

He’s sort of like the good mother who gently but firmly teaches her mischievous little boy just where the line is between being amusing and obnoxious.

LePage supporters may dislike political correctness, and I’m with them on many occasions. But there is a difference between political correctness and simple civility and respect.

LePage supporters may like a man who speaks his mind and who is not a “professional politician.” But LePage is still a grown man, a businessman, a husband, a father and now the primary representative of our state.

Remarks like that are not amusing or charming, and the unfortunate part is that until that crass last line, his statement to the reporter about his decision not to attend Martin Luther King Jr. Day events hosted by the NAACP was just fine.

Spot on, I would say.

LePage is not a cute little imp burping at the dinner table.

Unfortunately, until he learns that, whatever message he is trying to convey is continually going to get overshadowed by his boorish and childish behavior.

Demeritt, like a good mother, better get busy.

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