Here's Something: Boos and Bravos

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Welcome to another edition of Boos and Bravos, the quick-hit, catch-all column of Here’s Something.

Bravo to Democrat Party leadership for embracing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions regarding allegations of Russia-Trump collusion during the 2016 campaign.

Party officials, who for two years eagerly perpetrated the collusion hoax with help from the national media, have been gracious in defeat and are now intent on working with Republicans to solve the real issues America faces, like border security, immigration and health-care affordability.

April fools!

(Sorry to say, the unrepentant Democrats have hardly given Trump a break since Mueller’s report was turned in. We’d all be fools to think Democrats would ever acknowledge the damage they’ve caused Trump, his staff and our country’s image abroad. Here’s hoping fewer of them will be in office after 2020.)

Boo to the overuse of referendums. Britain is in a pickle because its leaders asked the people via referendum if they wanted to leave the European Union, rather than allowing democratically elected representatives to figure out what was best for the country.

Likewise, Maine leaders are in a mess trying to figure out how to regulate the budding marijuana industry because a slight majority of voters approved a referendum legalizing the drug in 2016.

When are we going to stop assuming voters, who are busy with their own lives, can effectively direct complex public policy through an oversimplified referendum process?

America is an indirect democracy with elected representatives, not a direct democracy with people voting directly on every government matter, a la ancient Greece. Our founding fathers created a republic in which the people were entrusted to elect competent leaders to hash out the day-to-day work of governing.

When we elect weak-willed representatives who punt away hard decisions to the people via referendum, that’s when republics start to wobble. Clearly, we and Britain need stronger, wiser leaders unafraid to curtail the use of referendums.

Boo to Maine’s horrendous highways, and especially the rural secondary roads.

My mother, who visited Ukraine about 15 years ago, complained about the lousy roads there. She sometimes had to utilize a sidewalk to make forward progress in her car. I’m beginning to think Maine is following Ukraine’s lead.

Defense and infrastructure are government’s two major reasons for being. Spend on those and you’ll make most people happy. You never hear people complain about how the government is spending too much on road improvements, do you?

Maine is vast, I understand. But couldn’t Gov. Janet Mills get more serious about roadway improvements?

Speaking of roads, boo to the “Welcome Home” sign at the southern end of the Maine Turnpike. Mills’ erection of the sign generated much discussion several months ago, but I noticed it for the first time this weekend driving back into Maine.

The new slogan sounds nice until you remember what it replaced: the “Open for Business” sign former Gov. Paul LePage erected in the depths of the Great Recession.

By removing that sign, Democrats show they have forgotten the lessons of the recession. They’ve forgotten how important business is to the state’s overall health. Without jobs we have nothing. Without fiscal prudence, we waste away our rainy day savings, which is exactly what Democrats are planning in the next budget.

Mills and her fellow Democrats are proposing an $800 million (10 percent) budget increase. They may want to re-install that “Open for Business” sign because they’ll need more companies to help pay for it all.

John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.

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