Editorial: Open mouth. Insert foot. Repeat.
How many Mainers can one governor insult in a single four-year period?
If this sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, we think you probably have the right idea. Since 2010, Gov. Paul LePage has managed to alienate Democrats, journalists, workers in general, state workers in particular, the poor, teachers, labor leaders, economists, parents of all children, parents of special needs children, the disabled, women, environmentalists, conservationists, housing specialists, health care providers, farmers, the unemployed, and motorists.
Is there anybody left?
Oh, wait, yes. Now he's alienated Republicans too, so much so that they've finally had enough and asked for an apology. Will it be forthcoming? Our guess is probably not. When he insulted state workers who are trying to do an impossible job while their funding is being cut to provide tax cuts for millionaires, they were accused of corruption. When they had the temerity to protest LePage's slander, LePage sent them a letter. Here it is.
In other words, if you're trying to do your job in the face of conflicting information from so-called clueless "senior management", and Paul LePage doesn't like how you're doing it, you're corrupt. Or if you, with your own freedom of speech and your vote, oppose one of LePage's initiatives, you're corrupt, too. And heaven help you if you support your union!
Corrupt. That's a strong word. Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. We suppose if LePage had any evidence at all that some state workers are corrupt, we'd have heard about it by now. Certainly our calls to his office aren't gaining any new information about this rather alarming development, this widespread middle manager corruption throughout state government.
No, as usual, this is another LePage bully-boy tactic in his scorched tea plantation policy.
Never mind that this sorry excuse for a governor had no mandate ... he was elected with a scant 38 percent of the vote. Never mind that some in his own administration have been actually corrupt from day one. Never mind that he has created high-paying jobs for family members, while ousting some of the only people who knew what they were doing because they didn't toe the line on his narrow, hyper-ideological viewpoint, or made their working conditions so hostile that they left their jobs. That sounds a little like political corruption to us. Never mind that three ... THREE ... of his constitutional officers are not engaging in their real jobs, for which we are paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, on a daily basis so they can aspire to higher office ... getting the hell out of the LePage administration before it tarnishes their reputations completely. Corruption? Possibly.
Well, we can't say we blame them too much for trying to get out. It would be nice if they did it on their own dime, though.
If the Republican leadership cannot or declines to put a leash and a muzzle on this out-of-control governor, the very least they can do is mitigate his damage by refusing to kowtow to him. We expect our legislature to meet the needs of all Mainers, not just the tiny subset of the population ... rich, childless, sociopathic millionaires? ... who may still support his policies.
LePage will likely find his position even more difficult in the next Legislature, if the tea-leaf readers are correct, when he loses his increasingly balky majority.