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Rachel Talbot Ross

A Hopeful Sign for Maine Politics

Mainers have been justly proud of their political culture which, compared to other parts of the country, has been remarkably civil, featuring lawmakers who often seem more interested in finding solutions that help the state's people, than getting caught up in partisan death matches, hyperbolic assertions, outright lies, and appeals to humanity's worst instincts. Augusta has many problems, to be sure, but nothing like those in Albany, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C.

But in recent years the worst pathologies of national politics -- elections awash in a sea of soft, difficult-to-trace soft money, the drafting of bills and gubernatorial policy being outsourced directly to corporate lobbyists and special interest think tanks, legislative initiatives that represent the interests of campaign donors rather than voters -- have infected the state. Gov. Paul LePage's administration has been a vector for some of the worst viruses, but plenty of others were quietly metastasizing in the body politic during the Democrats' long watch. Read more »

Most Negative National Press Since James G. Blaine

Maine Governor Paul LePage earned more bad national press in one weekend than his predecessor did in eight years in office. And the story kept on going here in Maine, fueled by the governor's sadly characteristic explanatory falsehoods.

My latest piece at Newsweek.com asks if LePage's penchant for inflammatory speech and, frankly, making stuff up, is likely to do him political damage. The consensus: yes, if he doesn't change course. Interviews with Colby and USM political scientists, Republicans Kevin Raye and Phil Harriman, Democrats Emily Cain and Ethan Strimling, and the governor's spokesperson, Dan Demeritt.

A few items from my reporting that weren't of interest to a national audience, but might be to Mainers:

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