Note: I’d written most of this before kestrel9000 posted his diary on Paul LePage’s upcoming visit to Vermont. I decided to go ahead and post it anyway, because I found a lot more examples of LePage’s nasty behavior. I think it reinforces kestrel’s point about the company Randy Brock chooses to keep, and the Republicans’ hypocrisy on matters of politeness and civility.
Believe it or not, all of those imprecations and insults were uttered by Paul LePage, the ultra-conservative Governor of Maine. (Yes, that’s him. Sorry, you’ll never be able to unsee that image now.) He’ll be in Vermont this Wednesday and Thursday July 11-12 to fundraise for Randy Brock. When the gig was first announced, VT Democratic Party chair Jake Perkinson issued a news release tying Brock to the extreme policies of his invited guest.
Brock and VTGOP chair Jack Lindley fired back, accusing Perkinson of “nasty personal attacks” (Brock) and “hurling insults” (Lindley). Which was nonsense, because Perkinson’s attack was based on policy, not personality. And there were abundant grounds for a policy-based attack: LePage has called for a flat state income tax (which would result in massive tax cuts for the rich) and a 50% cut in the corporate tax rate; he has advocated school vouchers and state funding for religious schools; he wanted to roll back child-labor laws to allow kids to work up to 32 hours — for a special, lower version of the minimum wage; he has defunded Planned Parenthood; he has proposed union-busting right-to-work legislation; and he rammed through a massive, market-based overhaul of health care in Maine which has, according to one expert, resulted in higher premiums and worse coverage for many, and a rise in the number of Mainers without any insurance at all. The guy who helped create that legislation, Tarren Bragdon, is now helping Randy Brock put together his own market-based health care plan.
So you see, LePage’s record is perfectly fair game for Perkinson and the Democrats. And if Randy Brock chooses to invite LePage to Vermont, then Brock should answer for LePage’s politics. Especially since he’s hired LePage’s health care advisor to create his own plan.
Now, if Perkinson had wanted to issue a personal attack, he would have had plenty of ammo to choose from; LePage may be the nastiest, most intemperate figure in American politics today. He makes Chris Christie look like the Dalai Lama by comparison.
After the jump: Hell, butt, idiot, bullshit, and other markers of civility.
Before we get to LePage’s lengthy rap sheet of rudeness, let’s note that Lindley demanded that the Dems “treat this man with the same civility that our side demonstrated during President Obama’s recent visit to Vermont.”
Which was also complete nonsense. As I reported earlier, when the President visited Vermont, Lindley put out a blisteringly negative press release. Not at all civil.
So my opening welcome to Paul LePage — fashioned entirely from his own words — is entirely in keeping with the spirit of Republican-style civility to which he is accustomed.
Well, he’s accustomed to dishing it out, anyway. For the sake of simple fairness, he should be just as willing to take it.
While Jack Lindley was clearly uncivil to President Obama, he was the very picture of civility when compared to Paul LePage. During a 2010 gubernatorial debate, the candidates were asked “If President Obama was with you tonight, what would you ask him to do to help the state of Maine?” LePage’s response: “I’d ask him to get out of my state.”
At another campaign appearance, he amplified the sentiment: “We’ve had enough of the federal government. We’ve had enough. …And as your governor, you’re gonna be seeing a lot of me on the front page saying ‘Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell.'”
Okay, so that’s his idea of “civility” toward the President. He takes the same approach to anyone who dares to question or oppose him. He once told a reporter to “stop the bullshit.” A favorite word, as it turns out; last December, in an attempt to humanize LePage, his aides arranged a meeting with three unemployed Mainers. Afterward, he posed for pictures with them; but after they’d left, here’s how he described the meeting:
“It’s all a big play and I think it’s bullshit,” said LePage pausing for a minute then adding slowly and deliberately, “Bull …. shit.”
Immediately after his comments his press secretary whisked the Governor away into his waiting SUV.
His humanity toward the jobless was also on display in his speech to the Maine Republican convention in May:
LePage called on the state legislature to pass structural changes to welfare, saying, “Maine’s welfare program is cannibalizing the rest of state government. To all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job.”
He’s not a whole lot friendlier to those who do have jobs — at least, when those jobs are in the public sector. On April 26, he said this: “The problem is the middle management of the state is about as corrupt as you can be. Believe me, we’re trying every day to get them to go to work, but it’s hard.”
And just this weekend, as kestrel9000 previously reported, he ejected another burst of projectile rhetoric, calling the IRS “the new Gestapo.” Yes, because IRS agents are torturing and murdering anyone who dares oppose their Thousand Year Reich.
But wait, there’s more! I haven’t even gotten to LePage’s most famous outbursts.
Shortly after taking office, he refused to attend Martin Luther King Jr. Day events because he considered the NAACP a “special interest,” and added that the NAACP could “kiss my butt.”
And a couple of months later, he ordered the removal of a Maine artist’s mural from the Department of Labor building, because it only showed the labor side of history. And when a group of protesters threatened to form a human chain to block the mural’s removal, he was asked what he would say to them. “I’d laugh at them, the idiots,” was his reply.
(A lot of this bluster might be simple insecurity. LePage “won” the governorship with only 38% of the vote in a hotly-contested three-way race. Independent centrist Elliot Cutler took almost 37%; Democrat Libby Mitchell got 19%, and two other independents took about 6%. Deep in his heart of hearts, LePage has to know that he was and is deeply unpopular.)
You know, personally, I’d be afraid to treat Paul LePage with civility. I don’t think he’d know how to react, considering that he appears to be completely lacking in it himself. If Paul LePage and civility came into contact, it might be like a collision of matter and anti-matter — instant annihilation for all concerned.
I, for one, will do all I can to prevent such a catastrophe. Therefore, I say again, with all the Republican civility that he deserves:
Go to hell, Paul LePage! Kiss my butt, you idiot! Get out of my state!