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It’s Time to Grow up and Get on with Serious Business

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Strip away all the grandstanding, chest-thumping, and election-year politics that erupted in the wake of Gov. Paul LePage’s controversial comments about drug dealers, and his subsequent voicemail message to a Democrat legislator – and what’s left? The same psychological disorder that’s afflicted progressives since the day LePage took office.

This is just another outbreak of LePage Derangement Syndrome, most likely a delayed reaction to the outcome of the last election.

Leftist politicians and talking heads correctly perceive Paul LePage as an existential threat to their progressive agenda and everything they have done for the past half century to waterboard Maine’s private-sector economy and make more Maine people dependent on government to meet their basic needs.

Liberals’ seething hatred for LePage is almost palpable in the halls of the State House, and when he was re-elected two years ago with more votes than any Governor in Maine history, LePage haters’ heads exploded from Portland to Augusta to Bangor and in every news room and faculty lounge from Kittery to Fort Kent.

When Maine voters gave Paul LePage a second term, they knew exactly what they were getting: a blunt-spoken, proverbial bull-in-a-china-shop business guy who occasionally uses locker-room language in response to critics who take cheap shots at him. That aspect of the LePage persona was baked into the cake when Mainers went to the polls in 2014.

For many voters, having a Governor unshackled by the constraints of political correctness was a breath of fresh air after decades of smooth-talking, scripted chief executives who drove Maine’s economy into the ditch.

The empty suits who occupied the Blaine House prior to 2011 left a huge mess for LePage to clean up: hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid bills to Maine hospitals, a multi-billion-dollar unfunded public pension debt, a broken welfare system that looked more like a hammock than a safety net and a culture of cronyism and corruption in state government.

Since the day LePage took office, Democrats in the Legislature have dragged their feet and thrown up roadblocks to thwart the Governor’s reform agenda. And because they cannot win these policy debates in the court of public opinion, they resort to insults and character assassination.

Smearing their opponents as racists is how they shut down debate and silence their critics.

Rep. Drew Gattine may or may not have explicitly called the Governor a racist, but there’s little doubt that’s the message he intended to convey. In any case, he wasn’t the first Democrat to level that vicious, baseless accusation against LePage.

Earlier this year, a member of Democrat legislative leadership didn’t mince any words in her scurrilous attack on a bill the Governor introduced. The bill, LD 1652, would have cut off state funding to any municipality that harbors illegal immigrants.

Assistant majority leader Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, called the bill (and by implication, the Governor) “blatantly racist,” and then she flat-out lied that it would allow police officers to pull people over based on the color of their skin.

Democrat members of the House marched in unanimous lockstep with Gideon, killing the bill without debate or public hearings.

Gov. LePage turned the other cheek, despite the in-your-face provocation of Gideon’s false charge of racism. And what was the Governor’s reward for exercising restraint? Turning the other cheek invited another cheap shot, this time a slap from Rep. Gattine.

The speech nannies who are demanding the Governor’s resignation were notably silent last year when a Democrat city councilor from Westbrook called for the assassination of the Governor.

At a public forum in Scarborough presided over by Democrat legislative leaders Mark Eves and Justin Alfond, councilor Paul Emery said he wouldn’t mind if LePage were killed: “In some countries assassination is a political strategy,” he continued, “but unfortunately not here.” The crowd was visibly stunned, but Eves and Alfond were mum; they couldn’t find their voices to condemn the threat of violence. It was only after the forum ended that Eves told a reporter that the violent rhetoric was… “inappropriate.”

Where were the members of the state Senate bed-wetters caucus in the aftermath of Eves and Alfond allowing a death threat against the Governor to go unchallenged? Busy pressing their togas? They appear to have been traumatized by the Governor’s raw language in a voicemail, but there wasn’t a peep of protest from any of them in response to the assassination threat last year.

The bed-wetters and the hand-wringers have zero credibility.

Now that Gov. LePage has apologized, it’s time for them to grow up and get on with the serious business of helping Gov. LePage move our beautiful state from poverty to prosperity.

About Larry Lockman

State Representative Larry Lockman represents Maine House District 137, which includes parts of Hancock, Washington, and Penobscot counties. He may be contacted at Lawrence.Lockman@legislature.maine.gov

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