As Tea Partiers and the Maine GOP continue to drive the mural censorship story to new heights, the national debate over Paul LePage's temperament continues. Today, it's The Economist, the high-brow news magazine, weighing in in their print edition on the state of Maine's politics.
MAINE’S politicians are mostly a polite bunch: think of George Mitchell and Edmund Muskie or the state’s two current senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of them Republicans respected for their moderate stances. Paul LePage, Maine’s governor for the past three months, is decidedly not cut from the same cloth as these worthies.
In the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel this week, I take a look at some recent maneuvering concerning the 2012 Senate race.
Snowe's announced Republican primary challengers, Andrew Ian Dodge and Scott D'Amboise, may not have what it takes to deny the senior senator her re-election, but there's plenty of time for a more credible opponent to emerge and there seems to be lots of local and national support available for a challenger's campaign.
At Down East earlier this week, I discussed Snowe's responses to a tea party questionnaire, which seems to be another example of her tacking rightward in an attempt to overcome a primary.
If the unlikely came to pass and Snowe was defeated for the 2012 GOP nomination, she would not be able to gain ballot status for the general election as an independent or third party candidate, as Joe Lieberman did in Connecticut in 2006. I believe she would, however, still be able to contest the election as a write-in candidate as Lisa Murkowski did, successfully, in Alaska last year.
As long expected, Maine Tea Party Patriots coordinator Andrew Ian Dodge has announced his intention to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe in the Republican primary next year.
I wrote about Mr. Dodge earlier this winter at Newsweek.com, as he is perhaps the most visible figure in a Libertarian effort to fend off the Christian Right's growing influence in the Tea Party movement. Social issues, he argues, don't matter; getting government out of people's lives does. While no fan of Maine's Tea Party-backed governor, Paul LePage, Dodge is also hostile to Sen. Snowe, who he denounces as Republican In Name Only.
From an excellent Mother Jones article on Paul LePage:
"He expects the tea party to be his bitches and I'm not...they seem to think the more thuggish he is, the better he does," says Dodge of the Tea Party Patriots. "They don't understand there's a difference between running and governing."
Colin Woodard's Down East piece on the moderates losing control of the Maine GOP.
Thanks to Wonkette for this awesome sign:
At Down East this morning, I described the beginnings of the fascinating implosion of the Maine Tea Party. This afternoon the drama continues as we hear from the other side of last night's strange parking lot encounter.
In a long post on Maine Refounders, Tea Party member Jeff Cucci lists the reasons why he and a group on unnamed accomplices carried out their coup against Maine Patriots founder Amy Hale and seized control of her website.
For anyone with an interest in the practices and perils of leaderless-by-design organizations, his rambling rant is a must read.
Bonus: Here's a Press Herald photo of Cucci dressed in colonial garb.
Post title via GriffinClubMerv and alexsteed
Al Diamon has a unique ability, in his columns, to flip a switch and go from lighthearted joking to biting social commentary and back again.
He performed that maneuver deftly this week.
Instead of nebulous enemies like “one world government” and “Diversity,” [the Tea Partiers] really ought to find somebody specific to blame.
Somebody like … immigrants. The Republican platform demands the restoration of “the process of assimilation of immigrants to preserve the benefits of an advanced[,] educated and prosperous society.” Already, we can see how foreign-speaking devils have damaged our ability to properly punctuate.
In reality, assimilation, which – as any Austrian economist can tell you – isn’t a government function, takes time. Otherwise, all those retired Maine mill workers wouldn’t still be speaking French when they’re at home. Also, subversive restaurants would stop serving ployes and poutine.
I understand the impatience of Tea Partiers still waiting for the Irish (St. Patrick’s Day, stout), the Germans (Christmas trees, lager beer), the Muslims (mathematics, distilled liquor), the Mexicans (Cinco de Mayo, tequila), the Africans (jazz, rock) and the Chinese (mahjong, tea) to quit clinging to their past and embrace America (light beer, Miley Cyrus).
But if immigrants refuse to take the fall for whatever’s wrong, who will? Intellectuals? The communists have already blamed them. Jews? An unpopular choice since the Nazis tried it. Democrats? A tough sell in the general election.
Now, those folks make even mild-mannered me angry.
An overwhelming majority of delegates to the Maine Republican convention tonight voted to scrap the the proposed party platform and replace it with a document created by a group of Tea Party activists.
The official platform for the Republican Party of Maine is now a mix of right-wing fringe policies, libertarian buzzwords and outright conspiracy theories.
The document calls for the elimination of the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, demands an investigation of "collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth," suggests the adoption of "Austrian Economics," declares that "'Freedom of Religion' does not mean 'freedom from religion'" (which I guess makes atheism illegal), insists that "healthcare is not a right," calls for the abrogation of the "UN Treaty on Rights of the Child" and the "Law Of The Sea Treaty" and declares that we must resist "efforts to create a one world government."
It also contains favorable mentions of both the Tea Party and Ron Paul. You can read the whole thing here.
Dan Billings, who has served as an attorney for the Maine GOP, called the new platform "wack job pablum" and "nutcase stuff."
Despite the document's crazy content, Maine Republican Party Chair Charlie Webster insisted to the AP that all of the elements in the platform are things that Republicans support. He claimed to the Press Herald that these issues reflect the values of working-class Mainers.
As you can see in this video of the vote, the document certainly represents the opinion of the vast majority of GOP delegates:
Party platforms often include planks that are outside the mainstream, which are often ignored by candidates and the public, but the extremism this document represents is unique and unsettling.
Some more of my thoughts on the Tea Party, on (socialist) Maine Public Radio.
Tipping says the tea partiers are distracting the public's attention away from real acts of conscience -- such as opposition to proposed insurance rate increases.
"Right now, the Anthem rate hike hearing is happening also today," he says. "That's one that's going to affect thousands of people across the state, they could have their insurance premiums raised by 15 percent. And they're standing up against Anthem, this corporate insurance giant. That's an actual populist event and movement, and because people aren't dressed up like Sam Adams, they're not getting the same kind of attention."
Pete Harring of Maine Refounders acknowledges that there was a person dressed up in colonial attire at the Augusta rally. But he says the man in the three-corner hat was actually supposed to be Jacob Broom, one of the original signers of the Constitution --- not Sam Adams.