Articles by Matthew Gagnon


15 bold predictions for 2015

on Dec. 23, 2014, at 1:03 p.m.
I am, like so many of my male brethren, a notorious late shopper. But for you, dear reader, I have an early Christmas gift. Bold predictions for the coming year, guaranteed to be right, 73.27 percent of the time. And this is a gift I have given you every year since 2011. …

Political royalty, but no path to victory

on Dec. 17, 2014, at 2:18 p.m.
So, Jeb Bush is running for president. I know, I know. He said he was “actively exploring” a run for president, and as such would be setting up an “exploratory committee” to do that exploring, so there is a possibility that he may do his due diligence and find it …

Three cheers for integrity

on Dec. 10, 2014, at 3:19 p.m.
Several weeks ago, I was sitting in a room filled with about 30 conservative activists when a phone rang. The phone belonged to Eric Lusk, the chairman of the Cumberland County Republican Committee, who had been addressing the room. A rather dull hush fell over the former chatter as Eric …

A letter to my son: Excitement to meet you, family and the return to Maine

on Dec. 03, 2014, at 11:18 a.m.
As I write this letter to you, I am sitting in Maine Medical Center with your mom, waiting for you to be born. Don’t give me too much of a hard time about writing this now — you’ll learn when it is your turn to do this that having a …

The changes Maine needs to celebrate a happy 200th

on Nov. 26, 2014, at 10:25 a.m.
In the early 19th century, America was struggling with what to do about slavery. The expansion of the United States into the west particularly troubled political leaders — specifically, whether new states would be admitted into the Union as slave or free. Abolitionists were terrified of the possibility that slavery …

Getting better about talking? Not enough for a Democratic resurgence

on Nov. 19, 2014, at 1:34 p.m.
You’ll hear it from losing parties or candidates after a hard-fought campaign. You’ll hear it after a president or a governor loses a policy fight. You’ll even hear it when a new law is enacted, but ends up wildly unpopular. And on Sunday, Ben Grant, outgoing Chairman of the Democratic …

Liberalism’s false hold on red state Maine

on Nov. 12, 2014, at 11:37 a.m.
Maine’s reputation as a bastion of liberalism is built, largely, on two things. The first is the uninterrupted streak of six consecutive presidential elections in which the Democratic candidate captured Maine and all of its electoral votes. The second is the unquestioned dominance of the Democratic Party in the state …

LePage’s Maine

on Nov. 05, 2014, at 1:55 p.m.
You’ll forgive me for saying I told you so. For more than a year now, I have been saying that Mike Michaud was a phenomenally weak candidate and that he would ultimately fall victim to a stronger-than-expected Paul LePage. I have also been saying that Eliot Cutler was not a spoiler. …

The only poll in Maine that really matters

on Oct. 29, 2014, at 3:27 p.m.
There is a direct correlation between a person’s involvement and interest in politics and how much time and effort he spends obsessing over polls. Being hungry for information and obsessed with the horse race, polls are catnip that we simply cannot resist. Ask any observer of Maine politics what the …

The economics of wealth

on Oct. 22, 2014, at 10:57 a.m.
What do you consider rich? It is an important question. Our definition of “poor,” “just getting by,” “middle-class,” and “rich” have major implications on public policy. Politicians build entire careers on seeding jealousy and anger among each of these groups — in both directions — which they then use to …

Voters belong to no one

on Oct. 15, 2014, at 12:40 p.m.
Already the beat drum of political rhetoric has become deafening. “If Paul LePage wins a second term, it is because Eliot Cutler split the vote, and handed him his re-election.” It feels, almost, that liberals are pre-butting an eventual Michaud defeat, so that when the time comes and they are …

Let them argue

on Oct. 08, 2014, at 1:27 p.m.
There is an episode of the Aaron Sorkin series, “The West Wing,” where candidates for president of the United States stand on a debate stage and, in the interest of the republic, decide to throw out all the phony, stifling, pointless rules they had agreed upon and have an old-fashioned …

Mainers are missing a great debate

on Oct. 01, 2014, at 10:14 a.m.
Who said what about whom? What candidate is lying about the other candidate? What parties are nervous about which candidates? What debates will be attended by whom and why? Who is nice? Who is mean? Who is competent, and who is dumb? These are the questions those of us in …

The most important speech is irrelevant — and so long until November

on Jan. 30, 2014, at 4:52 p.m.
President Obama started off his fifth State of the Union speech on the right foot, when he said: “Eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.” Typically the president and members of his party go to great lengths to claim that it is the genius of government, …

Erick Bennett’s police report reprinted by Mother Jones

on Jan. 24, 2014, at 10:48 a.m.
Ten days ago, Erick Bennett (a primer for the uninitiated) was pretty excited to be talking to Mother Jones Magazine: Today, he is likely not quite as happy. I’ll just drop the mic and let Erika Eichelberger of Mother Jones take this one: In early 2004, Erick, his then-wife Angela, …

Is Hillary Clinton really inevitable?

on Jan. 23, 2014, at 4:36 p.m.
I have an admission to make, which may sound a bit strange given my partisan leanings. I don’t really mind Hillary Clinton all that much. Obviously I don’t support her political agenda, and I find most of what she stands for to be drastically out of step with what I …

The dependency agenda behind Medicaid expansion

on Jan. 16, 2014, at 5:26 p.m.
Quick, try some heroin for three months, then make a decision about whether you want to keep using it. OK, don’t go do that, but the logic that would inherently justify such a stupid experiment is exactly what is behind the proposal by House Speaker Mark Eves to “try out” …

How much fraud is too much?

on Jan. 09, 2014, at 5:39 p.m.
Even those on the left can’t deny that there is rampant fraud in welfare. The only real point of debate between left and right on the issue is the question of “how much fraud is acceptable?” Conservatives get irritable with any fraud, that much is certain. Viewing taxpayer dollars as …

Be it resolved

on Jan. 02, 2014, at 4:13 p.m.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Never have. Hate them. New Year’s resolutions are responsible for the hordes of delusional new gym rats who invade every facility with a treadmill for two weeks (before quitting) and make it impossible for regulars to even work out. Resolutions are responsible for eating …

14 bold predictions for Maine politics in 2014

on Dec. 26, 2013, at 7:32 a.m.
Every year, in my column immediately following Christmas, I have made a habit of making bold predictions for the forthcoming year. Some predictions are bolder than others, of course.  A few are just for laughs, a few are sarcastic, but I always try to make them fun. Last year, I …
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