Al Diamon, a Maine columnist who has had his weekly column “Politics & Other Mistakes” published in numerous news outlets for the past 25 years, such as the Daily Bulldog and the Portland Phoenix, has written a column calling for the resignation of Maine’s House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross.
The July 14 column, “Politics & Other Mistakes: Not suitable for work,” responds to an opinion piece written by former Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling for the Maine Beacon, entitled “In praise of Speaker Talbot Ross.”
Diamon tears into Strimling over his adulation for the House Speaker:
If Maine had a monument like Mt. Rushmore, former Portland mayor Ethan Strimling would be clinging to the side of whatever unfortunate peak had been sentenced to suffer that fate carving a likeness of Democratic Speaker of the House Rachel Talbot Ross into the rock.
According to Diamon, while Democrats in the Legislature scored major victories this session, such as paid family and medical leave and narrowly passing Gov. Janet Mills’ late term abortion bill, Talbot Ross’ “role in much of that process can be charitably described as marginal.”
He describes how Talbot Ross was “clogging up the legislative pipeline,” and “engaging in ill-considered attacks” on her fellow Democrat Gov. Mills — such as her opposition to the governor’s supplemental budget bill due to Mills vetoing the tribal sovereignty bill LD 2004, which had no effect on the budgetary process.
“The lesson most of the state’s politicians took away from this odd confrontation was that Talbot Ross was little more than a cardboard cutout of a speaker who could safely be ignored,” Diamon wrote.
What should not be ignored in Diamon’s view, however, is Talbot Ross’ call to “storm the Capitol” at a Juneteenth event in Portland.
“We should all storm the institution, out of anger that this is the attitude that they’ve taken about our history,” Talbot Ross said at the event, due to her anger over what she saw as a failure by Maine’s Department of Education to integrate African American history into the classroom.
“We should be storming the Capitol. Really, I’m serious,” she said.
Diamon notes that “if it wasn’t for the conservative Maine Wire, this Trumpian outburst would have gone all but unnoticed.”
“Most of the mainstream media failed to report on Talbot Ross’s bombast, with the exception of Spectrum News, which buried it deep in its story, and the Bangor Daily News, which waited several days to cover the diatribe and only after a conservative columnist pointed out the BDN’s failure,” Diamon wrote.
The Portland Press Herald has still not covered the House Speaker’s Juneteenth remarks.
Mary-Erin Casale, a Talbot Ross spokesperson, said in a statement that the House Speaker “genuinely regrets her choice in language,” and that it was “never her intent to encourage anyone to repeat the events that occurred on the Jan. 6 insurrection.”
“Her advocacy on this issue stems directly from her lived experience and her fight to create equity in the story we tell of our nation’s history to our students,” Casale said.
For Diamon, this statement “falls well short of apologizing.”
“Rather than being immortalized on a Maine mini-Rushmore, Talbot Ross should resign,” Diamon wrote.
Watch — Maine’s House Speaker Calls For storming the Capitol: