Articles by Matthew Gagnon

 
PINE TREE POLITICS

The Holy Church of Hello Kitty?

on Dec. 23, 2015, at 2:27 p.m.
Are you increasingly nervous that somebody will take offense to something you say or do? You aren’t alone. Today, for some reason, we are offended for the sake of offense. In today’s world, it doesn’t matter if something gives joy and happiness to a group of teachers and kids. No, …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Dear candidate: You can’t just be the opposite of what I don’t want

on Dec. 16, 2015, at 2:12 p.m.
Dear candidate, I understand you are interested in my vote for both the 2016 presidential primary and — assuming you get past that first hurdle — the general election. Thank you for your interest. We have received a number of other applications and will review them all with great interest. …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Lewiston’s past vs. its future

on Dec. 09, 2015, at 2:44 p.m.
In his race for mayor of Lewiston, Maine People’s Alliance activist Ben Chin was fond of characterizing the contest as a battle of generations. In an article on the election in The New York Times, one of Chin’s supporters spelled it out in plain terms. “Macdonald is the past,” he …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Portland housing, a crisis of our own making

on Dec. 02, 2015, at 3:58 p.m.
New Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling isn’t even sworn into office yet, and is already setting up a task force to try to solve the Portland housing crisis. Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a committee or a blue ribbon commission tasked with “solving” a big problem. Invariably the “solution” …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Voting against your self-interest?

on Nov. 25, 2015, at 1:47 p.m.
It is always funny listening to self-described progressives try to rationally comprehend how anyone could possibly not agree with them politically. They are truly flabbergasted at the prospect that their worldview is not shared. Indeed, I’ve always believed that to be liberal is to believe that after long, thoughtful deliberation, …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Making sense of Syrian refugees

on Nov. 18, 2015, at 1:52 p.m.
How do you balance compassion and rational self interest? Not an easy game to play, and virtually no one talking about the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, and what to do about the Syrian war, ISIS, and millions of refugees displaced by that war, is talking sense. Though entirely …
PINE TREE POLITICS

The problem with our special little, millennial snowflakes

on Nov. 11, 2015, at 12:50 p.m.
Some day, every impetuous, idealistic, rebellious young person will grow old. When he does, inevitably there will come a moment when he will sit in his rocking chair, look around, and start complaining about “kids these days,” just as his parents’ and grandparents’ generations had once complained about his. It’s …
PINE TREE POLITICS

A brutal night for Maine liberals

on Nov. 04, 2015, at 1:48 p.m.
Election night 2015 was a horrendously bad night for the liberal alliance in Maine. Oh, they’ll claim otherwise, of course. Political partisans always manage to find a silver lining in every disaster. But, consider the following: Portland has, for years, been an experimental proving ground for progressive politics. Given the …
PINE TREE POLITICS

John Boehner’s final betrayal

on Oct. 28, 2015, at 5 p.m.
For years, House Speaker John Boehner has desired a “grand bargain” with President Obama to dramatically reform government and strike a deal on taxes, spending and a host of other issues. He even came close to succeeding three years ago. The idea was interesting, at least as an intellectual exercise. …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Question 1 won’t serve everyday people

on Oct. 21, 2015, at 2:49 p.m.
In an editorial published Wednesday, the Bangor Daily News called for the passage of Question 1, saying that passing the referendum will “keep politics the domain of everyday people.” Giving politicians tens of thousands of dollars in hard-earned, taxpayer money and requiring virtually no effort to get it gives power …
PINE TREE POLITICS

The Democratic sideshow finally begins

on Oct. 14, 2015, at 3:18 p.m.
For quite some time now, liberal Democrats have been ridiculing the Republican field for president, its candidates, its beliefs, and its antics. It has been easy for Democrats to lob those rhetorical grenades over the fence, because up until Tuesday night, the Democrats had yet to engage with one another, …
PINE TREE POLITICS

No, I will not pay for your bumper sticker

on Oct. 07, 2015, at 2:39 p.m.
Let’s say you’re a teacher, single with no dependents, and make roughly $35,000 annually. This year, you would most likely owe the state of Maine about $1,650 in income taxes. Congratulations! You just worked hard all year to pay for a state House candidate to run for office unopposed. I’m …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Boehner’s departure is a victory for conservatives, but not a big one

on Sept. 30, 2015, at 1:24 p.m.
Was John Boehner a nice guy? Yes. Was John Boehner a solid conservative? For the most part, on issues, sure. Was John Boehner an effective, good Speaker of the House? No, he wasn’t, and it was time for a change. It was time for a change because Boehner had no …
PINE TREE POLITICS

What is ‘The Establishment,’ anyway?

on Sept. 23, 2015, at 3:34 p.m.
A group of social, economic, and political leaders who form a ruling class. That is the definition of “establishment” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I had to look it up, because the pejorative use of the term “establishment” has become so muddy that I’m not sure it has a real definition …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Scott Walker wants to end federal unions. It’s about time we talk about this

on Sept. 16, 2015, at 3:47 p.m.
His campaign for president has thus far been a train wreck, but I’m certainly with Gov. Scott Walker on his most recent proposal. Walker is renewing the fight that made him a presidential contender in the first place: labor reform. The Walker proposal is unique in that it is bold, …
PINE TREE POLITICS

Donald Trump and the end of conservatism

on Sept. 09, 2015, at 2:44 p.m.
Last week, I read the results of a poll that made what remaining hair I had fall out. The poll, commissioned by Huffington Post and YouGov, was something of an experiment. The goal? Find out if support for certain issues was driven by ideology or some form of personality tribalism. …
PINE TREE POLITICS

I didn’t get old. Pop culture did.

on Sept. 02, 2015, at 3:28 p.m.
There is very little in the world that matters less than an award show that long ago stopped mattering. Yet, here I sit pondering the MTV Video Music Awards. The VMAs were founded as an annual award show (supposedly) celebrating the very best in creativity and artistry in the music …
PINE TREE POLITICS

The very European flavor of Donald Trump

on Aug. 26, 2015, at 3:37 p.m.
Yes, you read that right. European. Journey with me, dear reader, across the pond to the European continent and her various nations, because believe it or not, the phenomenon of Donald Trump is not unique to our American shores. That may sound unlikely. After all, Europeans are famous for their …
PINE TREE POLITICS

The Clinton boat takes on water

on Aug. 19, 2015, at 1:59 p.m.
I didn’t think it was possible for Hillary Clinton to run a more inept campaign than her 2008 effort, but she is quickly proving me wrong. It is one thing for the “once in a lifetime, prohibitive, unchallenged frontrunner” to lose the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. Obama is a …
PINE TREE POLITICS

The debate was a spectacular stop on the road to the GOP nomination

on Aug. 12, 2015, at 2:25 p.m.
It has been about a week since the first Republican presidential debate(s), so we have probably had enough time to let the events marinate in our minds and draw some conclusions. From my vantage point, I found the performances of certain candidates noteworthy. Carly Fiorina: The “Blessing in Disguise” award …