It is astounding to me that Gov. Paul LePage, whose list of accomplishments is so long, can be so decried. But it shouldn’t be. In our current climate, political agendas trump real-world accomplishments – and reality.
The power the media has to push popular opinion in the direction of their own agendas, their own political opinion, is dangerous in a constitutional republic such as ours. The Fourth Estate is entrusted to remain objective. It is the watchdog of our government, a la Woodward and Bernstein.
So here in Maine we have a governor who you may not even know, or worse, have been told you need to hate (ironic, coming from people who are supposedly against hate). And for what? Why would it serve the media and the Democrats in the state Legislature to try to get you to despise a man you don’t even know?
The reason is simple. On substance, the left cannot compete with LePage on the issues. So they must try to make you hate him on a personal level, so you won’t vote for him (or any Republican for that matter). Their agenda of pushing the country further left trumps the welfare of the very people they are supposed to represent and serve.
For instance, have you ever read the governor’s vision for the future? “My vision for Maine is to create prosperity through a lower overall tax burden for residents and businesses; a smaller, more efficient government that we can afford, and a manageable welfare system that is a safety net for the truly needy – not a free for all.” Hmmmm. That’s seems pretty reasonable. Nothing to hate so far.
How about the creation of 8,000 private-sector jobs since LePage took office? Or 3,000 fewer Mainers being unemployed than at this same time last year? Or the payment of the nearly half-billion-dollar debt to our hospitals that was owed after the last welfare expansion under Rep. Mike Michaud and Gov. John Baldacci?
LePage introduced and passed legislation to impose harsher penalties on bath salts. He launched the Maine Open Checkbook website, so Mainers can see how their tax dollars are being spent. He has tackled welfare reform since taking office in 2011, including placing a five-year cap on welfare benefits, requiring drug testing for welfare recipients convicted of drug-related crimes, and reducing benefits for non-citizens. The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce and eliminate fraudulent activity and abuse of Maine’s welfare programs, recognizing that taxpayer dollars lost to such practices are then unavailable for providing care to those who are in need. The list goes on and on. Twenty-five pages worth, in fact, on the governor’s website.
In addition, after the video surfaced of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his fiancee in an elevator, LePage said on WVOM’s George Hale & Ric Tyler Show that he would be writing a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling out the league for giving Rice a two-day suspension “slap on the wrist.”
LePage did contact Goodell, and made calling on the NFL to get tough on domestic violence the theme of his weekly radio address. He was cited by several national media outlets, including The Washington Post, which ran the headline “Maine governor: Rice’s NFL suspension not enough.” Now, the NFL has announced that it is considering tougher penalties for players who commit this horrible crime.
The average reader is probably not even aware that the reduction of domestic violence is a top LePage priority. But, you see, that doesn’t fit with the Democrats’ narrative that the GOP is engaged in a war on women.
In his column in the Sun Journal on Aug. 10, Rep. Jeffery Gifford, R-Lincoln, pointed out even more efforts coming out of the Blaine House under LePage. He noted, “Gov. LePage is bringing natural gas to Maine homes and mills and working to bring inexpensive hydro power back to the state. He cut taxes, streamlined regulations, and saved the state pension system from its looming shortfall. There are 20,000 new private-sector jobs and Maine’s employment rate ranks among the top three in the nation since the Great Recession. The unemployment rate has dropped from 8.0 to 5.5 percent.”
So as the rhetoric heats up before the Nov. 4 election, I would encourage voters to look at the governor’s record of actions, and his vision for moving Maine forward. You will most likely have to seek the information on your own. You certainly won’t have it presented to you in an objective manner from the coveted Fourth Estate.