It’s time for Gov. LePage to leave his troubled childhood behind

By Renee Ordway, Special to the BDN
Posted Aug. 30, 2013, at 2:40 p.m.

Governor Paul LePage had a tough childhood.

Were you not aware of that?

If not, then you certainly haven’t been paying attention for the last four years, the first while he was campaigning for governor and the last three while he has been in office.

While campaigning it was at the top of his public relations platform, which went something like, “Look at me. Look at what I did. Look what I overcame to become the successful businessman I am today. I deserve to be in the Blaine House. I am clearly capable of facing great obstacles while getting the job done.”

The message was effective.

Mainers like a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of fellow.

We generally pride ourselves on our independence and our ability to fend for ourselves and overcome adversity.

In his quest to make changes to Maine’s welfare programs, many of which I agree with, LePage indicated he believed in giving people a temporary hand up while insisting they use that hand to make positive changes, go on to support themselves and become self-reliant.

In other words, the governor suggested, don’t use your hardships as a crutch.

I think it is time for the governor to listen to his “plain-spoken” self.

I mean the rest of us are forced to, after all.

If he believes in his message then perhaps he should try living by it.

As he continues to insult, degrade and bully his way through his first gubernatorial term, LePage repeatedly blames his tough childhood for his boorish behavior.

Whether he’s telling Obama to go to hell, the NAACP to kiss his butt, comparing the IRS to the Gestapo, calling lawmakers idiots, using vulgarity to describe a Democratic lawmaker or, more recently, allegedly insinuating to a group of Republicans that President Obama doesn’t like white people, LePage reverts immediately back to his favorite excuse — his troubled childhood.

Just a few days ago, Brent Littlefield, the governor’s senior political advisor, was quoted on ABC.com saying that “Mainers view LePage’s blunt remarks in light of his tough upbringing — he was homeless as a child.”

Again, in case you hadn’t heard.

LePage now says that his remarks about Obama not liking white people were “taken out of context” by the press — his second favorite excuse.

In a letter to Republican lawmakers apologizing for the way his remarks were reported by the press, LePage once again referred to his impoverished background and wrote, “I grew up on the streets, where my first language was French and I am not a polished speaker. I am a plain speaker…”

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, LePage discussed his remarks about Democratic lawmaker Troy Jackson in which he told TV reporters that Jackson “claims to be for the people, but he’s the first to give it the people of Maine without providing Vaseline.”

LePage explained to the Washington Post reporter that, “When you come from the streets OK? you develop sort of a mechanism inside of you, which is to protect what’s yours.”

I’m neither a political expert nor a public relations specialist, but my advice to the governor and his team is to get a new message.

The voters of the State of Maine, at least 38 percent of them, gave you a hand up three years ago when they elected you into the office you hold.

Now take responsibility for yourself and your words and stop using your own hardships as a crutch.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/30/living/its-time-for-gov-lepage-to-leave-his-troubled-childhood-behind/ printed on August 1, 2014