There is a saying in American politics that holds “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” If the state is, indeed, a bellwether, then America is about to go batshit crazy with numerous sightings of stupidity. One only has to look at Gov. Paul LePage’s public comments, the very comments that have won him our latest Red Forman Dumbass Award.
For those of you who haven’t watched the late and lamented “That ’70s Show,” Red Forman was a curmudgeonly father, a hard-working Korean War vet who just didn’t understand why his son and his friends behaved foolishly. He had a term for them: dumbasses.
Previous winners of the Red Forman Dumbass Award are Paul Ryan, George Zimmerman, Donald Rumsfeld, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman, Cliven Bundy, Karl Rove and Mayor Jim Ardiss of Peoria, Ill. The Kaufmans were the people who wanted to sail around with world with a toddler and a baby and had to be rescued by the U.S. Navy, and Bundy is the cattle rancher in Nevada who had a showdown with the Feds over unpaid grazing fees.
Paul LePage is, not surprisingly, a darling of the Tea Party faction of reactionaries who live in a land devoid of facts or rationality. For example, when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as being consistent with the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, LePage stated that the decision “has made America less free. We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS.”
The ridiculous comparison got him to retract his statement, kind of. “It was not my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish Community, or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered,” LePage said in the statement. “Clearly, what has happened is that the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message.” Really? You think so?
In 2013, he said, “About 47 percent of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work,” said LePage. This was recorded, and on the recording you can hear someone ask “What?” LePage answers, “About 47 percent. It’s really bad.” Now, Maine may not be a hotbed of economic activity these days, but Greece doesn’t even have an unemployment rate of 47 percent.
Also in 2013, Democratic State Sen. Troy Jackson criticized the governor’s veto of the budget and and called for 60-day reprieve to negotiate a new budget. Now, LePage could have called it a political stunt (which he did) and left it at that (which he didn’t). Instead he added that Jackson “claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.” He also said, “Dammit, that comment is not politically correct, but we got to understand who this man is. This man is a bad person. He doesn’t only have no brains. He has a black heart and so does the leadership upstairs.”
Apparently, he sees an upside to climate change. “Everybody looks at the negative effects of global warming, but with the ice melting, the Northern Passage has opened up. So maybe, instead of being at the end of the pipeline, we’re now at the beginning of a new pipeline.” Hard to believe that people who live in Maine want to be at the beginning of a new pipeline. It’s hard on the caribou.
But the straw that broke the aforementioned caribou’s back was news that LePage has met with a rightist terrorist group (deemed so by the FBI, meetings that total 16 hours) and discussed hanging Democratic leaders.
The group, Sovereign Citizens and its allied body the Constitutional Coalition, “believes that the government, led by Jewish leaders, is plotting a Christian holocaust that will be carried out once they have finally taken Americans’ guns away.”
Naturally, LePage denies he discussed hanging anyone. But here is the rule in politics: If you have to explain that you didn’t discuss that kind of thing, you have already been a dumbass.
Or to put it in the language of those who call Maine home: Gov. LePage, you’re wicked gaumy and not the finest kind of American.
Jeff Myhre is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.