Paging Dr. Saunders… Paging Dr. Saunders…
Can anyone from Maine explain to me what the deal is with their governor?
As you’ve likely heard by now, Gov. Paul LaPage made national headlines yesterday when, after being asked about the state’s drug trafficking issues during a town hall meeting, he said this:
Now the traffickers … These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty, these types of guys. They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, and they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue that we’ve got to deal with down the road. We’re going to make them very severe penalties.
And the thing of it is, this might be the least bizarre thing I have read about LaPage over the past five years.
As Bangor journalist Mike Tipping notes in As Maine Went, LaPage has met regularly with leaders of the Maine branch of the Sovereign Citizens Movement (SCM). The SCM believe that the U.S. government was taken over by a secret cabal of foreign government leaders in the 19th century, shortly after the Civil War. They engage in a number of criminal activities designed to prepare the way for a coming revolution; these activities include illegal gun trafficking, bank fraud, identify theft, and money laundering. They are viewed by the FBI as a potential terrorist organization.
According to the SCM members who have met with LaPage, the governor has told them that he believes the state legislator was conspiring to assassinate him. They also say LaPage agreed with them that Maine’s Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves were, by assisting with executing the laws of an illegal federal government, guilty of “high treason” and perhaps in need of a good hanging.
And if the rest of LaPage’s legacy is not nearly as scary as his SCM dealings, it is certainly no less colorful. There is for example his policy of vetoing all bills from the legislature out of spite. To be clear: Not just ones he disagrees with, or ones he thinks are bad policy, or ones written or supported by Democrats. All of them.
There is also the matter of his hiring family members at high-paying entry level positions. Or the time he threatened to withhold state money to a charter school that employed a Democratic opponent of LaPage’s, unless the school fired that opponent. (The school, needing the money, did in fact do this.) Or any one of the seemingly countless things LaPage has uttered to the press — be it related to vaseline, a New Gestapo, Obama not liking white people, shooting newspaper cartoonists, or tiny beards — that make one wonder whether his issue is simply no filter, or if he suffers from an actual mental health issue.
I’m not sure that there is another sitting American elected official in any major office that compares with Paul LaPage. The only politician I can think of that even comes close to LaPage is Toronto’s Rob Ford. And it’s not just that Maine elected the guy. They re-elected him in 2014.
Is there someone in Maine who can explain any of this to me?
Seriously, I am not asking this question with snark. I truly want to understand what the deal is.
[Image: Screenshot of Paul LaPage town hall meeting, via Youtube.]