It was up until a few years ago that whenever I thought of Maine, I thought of my childhood summer vacations in the southeastern part of the state. The friendly people, beautiful beaches, and seemingly infinite number of antique shops helped make it one of the quainter regions of New England.
Nowadays when I think of the Pine Tree State, I imagine its classless, incompetent, and now blatantly racist governor — Paul LePage -- who was inexplicably reelected in 2014 even as he was overseeing one of the most stagnant economies in the nation. Of course, as Sam Brownback of Kansas demonstrated that same year, that's not necessarily a deal-breaker for gubernatorial reelection campaigns. But as stupendously regressive and inept as Brownback has been, he can’t hold a candle to LePage in sheer boorishness.
Before we get into the classic hits of LePage, who happens to support fellow men's big-and-tall store patron Chris Christie for president, let's take a look at LePage's latest single, which came during a town hall in Bridgton on Wednesday. While speaking about his state's growing heroin problem, LePage gave his take on drug traffickers, and wholly dispensed with the racially-coded language some Republicans are so fond of. Id est, he went full racist:
"Now the traffickers ... These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty, these types of guys. They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, and they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue that we've got to deal with down the road. We're going to make them very severe penalties."
I could explain all of the things wrong with these comments, but you already know all of the things wrong with these comments. And if you don't all of the things wrong with these comments, please leave and retreat to your cave.)
One of the more unfortunate tendencies in American politics is the automatic assumption that because a person holds different political beliefs, that person is despicable. When it comes to Paul LePage, though, there should be no compunction whatsoever in identifying him as a contemptible imbecile -- one whose ongoing tenure as governor should embarrass every decent Mainer. Since becoming governor in 2011, LePage's tenure has been a veritable clinic in petty score-settling, knavery, and general malgovernance. For all intents and purposes, Maine is a one-man kakistocracy.
LePage's first real WTF moment as governor came just a month and a half in office in February 2011 when he spoke out against the state EPA's ban on Bisphenol A, which has been found to be potential harmful to young kids and infants. Channeling the bizarro version of Bill Nye, LePage asserted, "The only thing that I've heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards."
The following month, LePage decided that the lobby of the state's Department of Labor -- not Commerce, but Labor -- was no place for a mural that venerated the triumphs achieved by laborers of yore. After determining the mural -- which included a depiction of Rosie the Riveter for god's sake -- was biased against businesses, LePage had it removed.
In July 2012, LePage sounded more like an Oregon militiaman than an American governor when he called the IRS "the new Gestapo."
On May 21, 2013 LePage stopped working from the state capitol in Augusta and made the governor's mansion his new office. The move directly contravened state law. Amid heavy criticism, LePage's pioneering govern-from-home experiment ended eight days later.
Less than a month later, LePage criticized a Democratic lawmaker by saying he “claims to be for the people but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”
In August 2013, LePage announced what he wanted to do in an F-35 flight simulator while at an aircraft engine plant: "I want to find the Portland Press Herald building and blow it up."
At long last, this week Democratic lawmakers said they are mulling impeachment proceedings against the governor. Bear mind they announced this before his comments about minority drug dealers coming to impregnate Maine's white women. The longshot articles of impeachment were prompted by LePage's threat to withhold funding from an organization for at-risk kids if it hired Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves earlier this year.
There's even more LePage craziness, but you get the idea. Maine's governor is a know-nothing lunatic with a missing frontal lobe.