I was going to vote for the guy anyway


Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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46 Responses

  1. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    I hope for and expect the best. I am pleased that he did it.

    On the Macaque for Governors race, allow me to say that my near and dear neighbor Virginia, which after all pioneered the use of genus macaca in gubernatorial races, currently seems poised to elect a drooling Macaque over its own LaPage. And to it, I say a cautious, “Hear, hear” and step aside from the flung dung.Report

  2. Avatar NewDealer says:

    For an off-year, there are three elections to watch out for with interesting results.

    NYC Mayor, Maine gov, and Virginia gov. Maybe some others.Report

    • Sadly, ours isn’t this year.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      You’re including Maine’s governor, but not including Pittsburgh’s mayor?
      For shame.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Is the NYC Mayor race really all that interesting? Last I saw, de Blasio had a 41-point lead.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I’m assuming that he means “We didn’t elect someone who confused NYC and Pittsburgh… while running for mayor”
        [in short: democratic primaries are where it’s at.]Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        I mean what is interesting is that De Blasio is running as an strong liberal/progressive. He is not couching things in Clintonesque and technocratic terms. His policies are explicitly populist and against the Giuliani to Bloomberg race for billionaire condos.

        Now I think Will is partially right that NYC has a weird kind of dynamic that makes someone earning 150,000 K a year feel potentially middle class. But I like is up and out from no where liberal campaign and the outright denunciation of stop and frisk and not being scared of being labeled “soft on crime”.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        That makes sense.

        It should also be noted that Boston is having its first contested Mayoral race in damn near forever. My college roommate the campaign manager for one of the candidates.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        No more Mumbles!Report

  3. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    On the subject of Paul LePage…

    If you have a chance, you should go to LaPage’s Wikipedia page and read through his accomplishments as Governor of Maine. (Note: This is not a list of controversies while gov, it is a list of his accomplishments.) It’s pretty instructive.

    It pretty much encapsulates everything that is wrong with movement conservatism these days: LaPage doesn’t seem to have a single policy initiative to point to after three years of office. Rather, his intended accomplishments seem to be purposefully irritating liberals, getting on conservative talk radio, and making symbolic and utterly meaningless gestures in the name of “conservatism.”

    Here is the entire list:

    * Promoted State of the State address with twitter

    * Publicly refused to speak with the NAACP.

    * Stood against a state Bisphenal A ban on the basis that the ban was unscientific (and claimed the ban would make women more masculine/feminist) long enough to get on talk radio, and then after the press was bored withdrew his opposition without comment.

    * Removed a mural that depicted labor in a positive light from the Maine Dept of Labor office.

    * Publicly insulted state employees as a group.

    * Put forth a badly written education reform bill that clearly would not pass muster with the Supreme Court to say that he had done it.

    * Accused Dems of being Nazi’s and committing censorship for being critical of him.

    * The Vaseline comment Russell linked to.

    * Publicly stated that the mainstream press is out to lie to “the people.”

    * Publicly stated that President Obama hates white people.

    * Declared a “civil emergency” during the government shutdown so as to bypass State rules on spending – and then used that discretionary and non-transparent power not to support safety nets or people at risk, but instead to jump on the talk radio band wagon and keep a Federal Park that had a boat ramp open.

    Aaaaaand, that’s it. That’s what governing is, it would appear, to Paul LePage: A bully pulpit to regurgitate whatever you heard on talk radio shows that days.

    I very much hope he loses, and loses big.

    Good riddance.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      The question I keep coming to and never get answers for is why does movement conservatism seem so pleased with the constant desire to “annoy liberals” over any substantive requirements.

      I believe in the importance of multiple-ideologies in government. It keeps the parties more honest and corruption-free but now movement conservatism seems to ask one question and that question is “Does it annoy a liberal?” This is true for LePage, Ford, the Tea Party in New Hampshire (who were voted out quickly), Sarah Palin, Rush/Talk Radio, etc.

      What is with all the rage?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        *shrug* what did you expect from blackshirts?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        My own theory is that it is because the movement is built upon the foundation of talk radio and infotainment news sources.

        In order to get conservative media attention/donations/votes, you aren’t required to either craft policy or govern effectively — you’re required to throw red meat around. In fact, I think you can make an argument that you’re better off never crafting policy or governing at all, ever — look at how the movement turns on anyone in its ranks that attempts to do either in a way that is anything but vapidly symbolic. (e.g.: The way they treated Romney for his largely successful MA healthcare plan, vs. the way they treated the pols who said we should solve the healthcare crisis by sticking it to the trial lawyers).

        Sure, there are a lot of cynical pols that play the game because they want to keep their jobs and their spotlight. But after all this time I actually think there is a generation of movement-con pols who have been isolated in the bubble so long that they really do believe saying things to piss off liberals is what governing is. They are conservative enough to be able to peel off several Reagan one liners, but young enough that they don’t know about the negotiating, compromising, persuading, reaching across the aisle-ing, and… well, governing that Reagan was so masterful at. All they know is that he was successful, and that he said a few lines that were ant-liberal and critical of the government, and so to them it makes sense that that’s all you need to do to be as successful as he was.Report

      • Not to sound like a broken record, but the answer to this is pretty simple in my view- there is actually very little uniting the Republican Party and its base at this point. Their interests are too divergent and diametrically at odds. The only way to preserve unity is by being against the other guys, since there’s very little of significance that all or most Republicans are unified in actually being for.

        To further Tod’s point, I’ve got a post in the hopper pointing out that Ted Cruz’s legislative agenda is even less substantive than Governor LePage’s – signficantly less, in fact.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        It’s indicative of the problem that Sarah Palin’s career as a national politician was based entirely on her ability to annoy liberals and deliver speeches full of red meat. Her chief accomplishment as governor, which was to extract more money from the oil companies, was never mentioned, since it was the antithesis of the sort of politician she claimed to be.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        It’s because there are no real ideas in this segment of the conservative movement, @newdealer . So if you don’t have any ideas, but do know that every idea and every person on the other side of the aisle is exactly dead wrong on everything, then doing the opposite of what they want must, by definition, be good government.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Sarah Palin became who the hard-right and left needed her to be. The right wanted a hero, the left wanted a villain, and Palin wanted to be a star. There was nobody left to say otherwise.

        Palin is an exemplar of something more significant, in that regard.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Not a villain as much as a complete idiot, to exemplify the idea that conservatives are stupid. (Sully made her into a villain, but most of us on the left thought he had lost his mind about her. It’s his fixation on her son’s *real* mother than made me stop reading him.) She has a lot of natural talent for that.Report

      • @mike-schilling I very rapidly added “Palin” to my list of things I completely skip when Sully writes about them (along with “beards”). He was just completely bananas, and I further found his rather obvious crush on Levi Johnston a wee bit embarrassing.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        “Villain” may indeed be not quite right, but the narrative pretty strongly depended on her being a right-wing nut. Which coincided with what the conservatives wanted precisely. Neither wanted the narrative complicated by the fact that Palin wasn’t initially what they decided she should be.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Mark’s point is excellent, and one I had not taken into consideration as much as I will from here out.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @will-truman : “Sarah Palin became who the hard-right and left needed her to be. The right wanted a hero, the left wanted a villain, and Palin wanted to be a star. There was nobody left to say otherwise.”

        This is probably the most succinct and true encapsulation of Palin that I have ever read, Will.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @tod-kelly – I was thinking the same thing, and also that Palin is probably not the only politician to whom you can apply Will’s general formulation (reverse “right” and “left” as needed).Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        There’s not nearly as much money in being a left-wing star. Mother Jones and Fox News pay-scales differ by orders of magnitude, and there’s no moonbat equivalent of wingnut welfare.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Progressivism was a lot better when they believed in god/afterlives.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Jay, that reminds me of a “conversation” I had once on a blog that probably flies under your radar. The picture of the day was of a certain Catholic priest from the first half of the last century, who was famous for his work in social justice. They argued that he was a communist, because social justice. I pointed out that he wasn’t a communist at all, and was in fact anti-communist, to which the blog’s author countered, in essence (actually almost literally), that I was confused, because social justice.

        I point this out because, at this point, I don’t think it matters what folks on the “left”, or even what people in history who weren’t remotely leftist but who used words that sounded lefty believe, because the representations of the “left” among certain talk-show listenin’ elements of the “right” are so entrenched.

        That said, I would certainly prefer a more focused “left,” of the scare quotes sort. And I worry that that “left” tends to vilify the talk-show listenin’ elements of the “right” in ways that are blatantly classist, border on anti-labor (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a lot of the “neoliberal” “left” comes from the upper middle or upper class, is Ivy League educated, etc.), and ultimately divert focus from actually progressing. It’s been my experience that those who are actually involved in causes on the “left” are less interested in the “right,” except to the extent that they put up barriers towards progress on those causes, than the “left” more generally, but activists and others actively working towards causes make up a significant minority of both sides.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        One more thing, a bit off topic I’m afraid.

        In my various walkings, I walk past a Planned Parenthood clinic a couple times a month, usually on Saturday mornings. Each time, I stop to chat with the people, usually 2 or 3, but occasionally more, standing next to the sidewalk just outside of the large fence surrounding the clinic (necessary because of very real violence in the past). They have signs, usually strapped to their legs, asking for those driving by to pray for an end to abortion. They’re very nice people who genuinely believe both that abortion is a great evil, and that their prayers and those of the people passing by that clinic and clinics across the state and the country, will help to end abortion. They don’t just mean legal abortion, either. They mean all abortion. They’re members of a larger group, connected with Evangelical and fundamentalist churches all over the city, who believe the same. To them, they are in a sort of holy war against secularism, feminism, and liberalism (all of which are vague, abstract, evil concepts to them that blur together, at least in our brief conversations), and as such they cannot give any ground. That means, for example, that to a person they reject the idea of using empirically-tested means of sexual education, birth control drugs, condoms, and other demonstrably effective methods of reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, and thus the number of abortions. Those are the products of secularism, feminism, liberalism, etc. To me, it looks like they are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. To them, the perfect will, if enough people ask it, and if they ask it hard enough, manifest itself, rendering the good irrelevant.

        The moral of the story is that sometimes, believing in god/afterlives is as polarizing and ineffective as being aimlessly awash on a sea of partisan nihilism. They may take different paths, but they arrive in the same place: nowhere near their goal, with a trail of very real victims in their wake.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        I think it is wanting to be a star and throwing red meat at the GOP convention that turned her into the buffonish character she is for the left. I don’t recall any scorn until the infamous convention speech.


        Ah! Father Coughlin! The notorious anti-Semite.

        Do you have any evidence that it is primarily working-class people that listen to talk radio? I’ve see a lot of studies that say working class people (union or not) are largely aligned with the Democratic Party. At least people making under 30 or 40,000 a year. Now maybe there are other factors like race and union-membership involved but I think this also includes white voters.

        Though I do agree that certain elements of the Democratic coalition like tech can be very anti-labor and potentially anti-working class. I’m old school in my trade unionism.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        I think that many people including myself are often willing to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        @newdealer, union white working class vote Democrat, non-union white working class vote Republican.Report

      • @newdealer

        Do you have any evidence that it is primarily working-class people that listen to talk radio? I’ve see a lot of studies that say working class people (union or not) are largely aligned with the Democratic Party. At least people making under 30 or 40,000 a year. Now maybe there are other factors like race and union-membership involved but I think this also includes white voters.

        I don’t have any evidence, but it’s not inconsistent to say that most members of rightwing talk shows are working class even if most members of the working class align with the Democrats. There’s the venn diagram thingy we can invoke, not to mention the phenomenon of people loving their (sometimes blue dog, sometimes non-blue dog) Dem rep or Senator and being otherwise very conservative.

        I think @chris is probably right when he says “union white working class vote Democrat, non-union white working class vote Republican.” But even that can come with partial counterexamples. My father was a union man, but listened to Rush (disturbingly often…..he also occasionally expressed the belief that the Clintons had Vince Foster and Ron Brown assassinated, and orchestrated the Waco incident just to take his guns and the guns of his fellow freedom-lovers….I know I mention this a lot, and I’m sorry for the repetition). Of course, my father was white, so that puts him in Chris’s hypothesis for talk radio audience’s demographic.Report

      • I insist that we don’t need an “edit” function (I hate them), but if we had one, I’d change “most members of rightwing talk shows” to “most members of rightwing talk show audiences.”Report

    • You missed the installation of an “Open for Business” sign on the post that welcomes people as they enter the state, which I have the pleasure of passing every time I drive home from work.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Looks like someone needs to get his staff working on updating his Wikipedia page.Report

      • Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

        Stood against a state Bisphenal A ban on the basis that the ban was unscientific (and claimed the ban would make women more masculine/feminist)

        No. That did not happen. That. Did. Not. Happen.

        Shall we melt plastic on the food of all girl children lest they lose all sense of what is holy?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      @tod-kelly you forgot nepotism! Gov. LePage named his 21-year-old daughter as his chief of staff and when she moved on to work for his re-election campaign, replaced her with his son-in-law. (The real shame of it is, this seems to have violated no law and maybe Mainers want to do something about that, too.)

      LePage’s accomplishments sound like what one of my very conservative friends seems to periodically joke about: do nothing but, and only, things that will annoy liberals. My friend is, I know, joking. LePage seems to have taken the jokes and the rhetoric with sincerity, and other than a few symbolic public statements, put the state’s government on autopilot while he dances about like a performing monkey for the delight of the conservative media.

      The amazing thing to contemplate is — whatever his public denials of such ambitions, like all politicians who attain any sort of significant office he no doubt sees himself one day moving in to a slightly off-white Georgian Revival house on Pennsylvania Avenue in the northwest corner of Washington DC with a somewhat larger support staff than he currently enjoys.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “(The real shame of it is, this seems to have violated no law and maybe Mainers want to do something about that, too.)”

        Politicians at just about every level have broad, and in most cases I’m aware of, plenary discretion to appoint people that are on their inner circle staff.

        Really, hiring his daughter, and then her husband, as his political hacks-in-chief seems like the least objectionable thing he’s done based on the list in the post and comments.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        At least he didn’t name his brother to be Attorney General.Report

      • Or put his wife in charge of the task force to overhaul American medical care!Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I’m with Kolohe on this one. Especially since an executive needs a Chief of Staff s/he can totally rely on. If it’s wrong, I’d say it’s because business can so often tear families apart.Report

    • Avatar Neil Obstat says:

      Didn’t LaPage also try to bar a couple major papers in the state from getting any of the routine press releases by state gov’t.agencies because they criticized him?Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Well, we have him for another year. And Elliot Cutler again seems intent on running as a potential spoiler.

      I would defend LePage on two issues:

      First, he’s repeatedly and publicly said that to stop domestic violence, men must take responsibility for their own actions; that it’s a problem of men. I very much admire that;

      Second, he has put fourth one policy idea (that has not turned to initiative) that I thing excellent — combining high school and the cummunity college system for some students, so that five years of combined schooling results in both the HS diploma and an associates degree. Sadly, I’ve not seen much evidence that this goes beyond talk.

      On the ills of LePage, it started from the get-go, when his agency heads all came in pre-loaded with legislation that still had the ALEC headers on it. And I should note that the state still pays for Republican members of the legislature to attend ALEC conferences, where they are amply supplied with ALEC’s sample legislation, paid for by unknown funders. We started way down the rabbit hole of government sold out to corporate interests.

      But hey, Portland legalized. So the times, they are a changing.

      I’ve met Michaud several times, interviewed him several times (he was a good source when I was writing about veterans issues, a counterbalance to the propaganda I was fed by Secretary Chen’s Veterans office). He’s a good man, he’ll make a great governor, and I’m proud he’s come out with a, “Why should it matter?’

      It should matter that it doesn’t matter.

      Thanks, Doc.Report

  4. Tangential, but somewhat related (which the definition of the word “tangential,” I suppose).

    My Illinois legislature-fu is not all that good, but if the story is to be believed, the Senate will pass it soon.

    Now if only my home state of Colorado will do the same.Report