As we approach the gubernatorial election year in Maine, and in light of the “interesting” comments made by our governor on Dec. 5 regarding the profit potential in climate change, I am reminded of the election that put such a person into office. That election prompted many of us to adorn our vehicles with stickers declaring “We are the 61 percent that did not vote for Paul LePage.”
From all early indications, LePage’s tea party supporters will hold about the same sway next November, and with Eliot Cutler again as a wild card in the race, the potential for Maine to have another four years with a governor who has squeaked into office with a minority of the state’s voters behind him is not small. We have had three years to try to correct this significant weakness in our election system, and yet we will be going to the polls in November 2014 faced with the same problem. This is unpardonable.
Whether Republican, Democrat, independent, Green Party or otherwise, it would seem that the commitment to public service would have at its heart a desire to represent the interests of the majority of the constituency. If it does not, then it is not “public service.” It is self-interest, and, in the case of Maine, it harms the state by creating the kind of toxic, adversarial atmosphere that has crippled us for three years.
It’s time for our “representatives” to put an end to these partisan manipulations and put the interests of the people of Maine first. It’s time to change the system so that on Nov. 4 we can end the day knowing that whoever will serve as our next governor will have the support of the majority of the voters.
Think for yourself
We have a problem in this state. It is the “LePage Derangement Syndrome.” This is when people who consider themselves loving and caring hate our governor. Often they have no idea why. They just believe that he is evil without knowing anything about him. So, to take a page from Jeff Foxworthy, let’s take the test.
If you think the money in your paycheck belongs to you, you might just agree with Gov. Paul LePage.
If you think it was a good thing to pay outstanding debts to the hospitals, you might just agree with LePage.
If you think an income tax break where the poorest hard workers in this state (about 70,000 of them) had a 100 percent tax cut is a good idea … If you think the way to help people break the cycle of poverty is to help them get a job instead of chaining them to welfare for life … If you don’t mind helping those who need it but are sick of people stealing from you … If you like the fact that our unemployment is far below the national average … If you are sick of government waste and red tape … If you are glad that the teachers’ pension was saved instead of being obliterated, you might just agree with LePage.
Take the next year or so and find out for yourself about LePage. Do you really want to go back to where we were? Corruption, theft, pension stealing, higher taxes for those who work to support all of the above? Think for yourself.
The Dec. 2 letter by James VanKirk advocating an expansion of medical welfare under Obamacare in Maine is less professional perspective and more Democratic talking point pablum. Its lies and omissions must be called out.
It talks about “accepting” federal dollars to cover 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion for 2014-15. But expansion would not be free to the state even in those first few years. For instance, the state would have to dish out $7 million annually to hire 93 new bureaucrats to administer the program in those first three years, according to Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew.
Also, Maine will not be “losing thousands of dollars daily by not accepting this program.” Both DHHS and the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office say that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion presents a major cost to Maine taxpayers over the long term. DHHS pegs that cost at $75 million per year.
Finally, the letter states that we “risk losing that [federal Obamacare] money to other states.” However, money appropriated to states for expansion, if unused, will go directly back to the federal bottom line and not to other states. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, states such as Maine that opt out of expanding medical welfare will reduce the federal deficit by $84 billion.
Besides, Maine’s Medicaid program is the third largest in the country per capita, and it causes budget shortfalls every year. It would be foolish to expand this same welfare program on the premise of another Obamacare promise that may never be kept.
Columnist Matthew Gagnon and the Republican machinery have made much political hay over the governor’s childhood, his running away from home and making something of himself. He’s to be congratulated, and I mean that. But there’s another side to that coin, as we’ll see.
I’m the governor’s age; I also grew up in an alcoholic household. My mother, due to her religious beliefs and personal convictions, as well as the societal mores of the day, did not see divorce or separation as options. For my part, I could not, would not, run away, abandoning her and my four younger siblings. It was not a life I’d recommend for anybody. You might survive, but nobody thrives.
In fact, I’d think you’d learn two things on the street: who’s stronger than you and who’s weaker. Then you live your life accordingly. And unless you’ve done a lot of work along the way, through counseling or self-help, that’s probably what you bring to the table as an adult, whether you’re managing Marden’s or trying to run the state of Maine.
Some of the governor’s goals are necessary and reasonable, but his confrontational style doesn’t lend itself to their achievement. He has made much of his status as a “non-politician,” but once you’re elected to the governor’s office, you are a full-time, professional politician. You’re expected to lead, not coerce; to inspire, not threaten; to reason, not rant. The governor’s an adult; he should consider trying to behave like one.