By 2014, the Republican Party had had four years of watching Paul LePage. The leaders of the GOP establishment could have distanced themselves from him. They chose not to.
Just As With Trump, 'Polite' Republicans Closed Ranks Behind Paul LePage
August 28, 2016

Maine Democrats are fed up with Govrnor Paul LePage:

Friday, leading state Democrats called on the governor to resign or seek professional help....

For obvious reasons:

Gov. Paul LePage left a state lawmaker from Westbrook an expletive-laden phone message Thursday in which he accused the legislator of calling him a racist, encouraged him to make the message public and said, “I’m after you.”

LePage sent the message Thursday morning after a television reporter appeared to suggest that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine was among several people who had called the governor a racist, which Gattine later denied.

The message?

“Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cocksucker,” LePage said. “I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker. You, I need you to, just freakin’, I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”

You may know that LePage, then the mayor of Waterville, Maine, won a very close three-way gubernatorial race in 2010, defeating his nearest rival by only 1.7% of the vote -- he received only 37.6% of the vote in total.

But in another three-way race in 2014 -- after lePage's character was clear to everyone in the state -- he won reelection much more convincingly. His margin of victory was nearly 5 points and he received 48.18% of the vote.

How did that happen? It happened, in part, because Republicans closed ranks behind him -- including "nice" Republicans, up to and including a grandfatherly former president of the United States.

By the time of the 2014 election, no one in Maine could have any illusions about LePage. This is from a January 2014 Politico story:

What better way to start a governorship than to refuse to attend a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day breakfast and, when the NAACP complains, tell them, on camera, to “kiss my butt”?

LePage’s first major initiatives as governor [were to] to roll back all state environmental laws to weaker federal standards and stop a ban on bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, in baby bottles.... LePage defended the restoration of BPA in bottles by saying, with a smirk, that the worst that could happen was that “some women may have little beards.”

... As for President Barack Obama, LePage said on the campaign trail that the president could “ go to hell” and reportedly told supporters at a private fundraiser that Obama “hates white people,” a remark LePage later apologized for, even as -- in a feat of gymnastic oratory -- he declined to confirm or deny having said it.

In June, LePage denounced a Democratic state senator for always wanting to “give it to the people without Vaseline.” He has likened the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo and, when criticized for the remark, claimed the agency’s enforcement of Obamacare would cause a slaughter comparable to the Holocaust. He told schoolchildren that Maine’s newspapers are full of lies and joked about bombing the largest of them, the Portland Press Herald....

So how did prominent members of the state's famously moderate Republican Party respond as Election Day 2014 approached? Like this:

While at the Blaine House food drive United States Senator Susan Collins donated food and lent her full support to Governor LePage’s re-election.

Senator Collins said this about Governor LePage:

“I like his emphasis on jobs and the economy, That’s clearly the number one issue in the state, and I am very impressed with his leadership on domestic violence. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for speaking out and establishing a no tolerance rule for domestic violence in our state.” ...

On Wednesday Former United State Senator Olympia Snowe Formally Endorsed Governor LePage:

Senator Snowe’s endorsement highlighted Governor LePage’s many accomplishments in office and was delivered to thousands of Mainers in a call on Wednesday....

“This is Olympia Snowe. To continue economic growth in Maine, I am supporting Paul LePage. Under Paul LePage the economy is turning around. Over 22,000 new private sector jobs have been created and wages are up since Governor LePage took office. The unemployment level is the lowest it has been since 2008. Governor LePage is working to end domestic violence, and is supporting our veterans. This is Olympia Snowe, please join me in supporting Governor Paul LePage on Tuesday.” ...


We love Maine, and care deeply about our family and friends and the hard-working people who live there. We are writing you today because Governor Paul LePage is our kind of get-it-done leader, who we firmly believe is committed to solving the toughest problems facing Mainers.

As we have seen with our own eyes, Paul has a big heart. We especially admire the tenacity with which Paul implemented his plan to pay off the state’s debt to its hospitals, which included both the Dorothy Walker Bush Pavilion at Southern Maine Medical Center as well as the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.

Paul LePage has done so much for Maine in just four short years, but he’s not finished. That is why we strongly support his bid for four more well-deserved years, and we ask you to join us in supporting “our” governor, Paul LePage, for re-election as well.

And lovable Barbara Bush did a TV ad for LePage, in which she said, “Paul is blunt, direct, like me”:

By 2014, the Republican Party had had four years of watching Paul LePage. The leaders of the GOP establishment could have distanced themselves from him. They chose not to.

LePage has only gotten worse in his second term. In January of this year, an impeachment resolution was brought up in the Maine House of Representatives. LePage was accused, among other things of threatening a charity with the loss of state funds if it hired one of his political enemies.

The impeachment resolution came up shortly after LePage said this about drug dealing in Maine:

“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, they go back home,” LePage told a large crowd. “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 we have to deal with down the road.”

But LePage's malfeasance and bigotry weren't enough to motivate Maine House Republicans. Not one of them voted to proceed with impeachment -- and a majority wouldn't even vote for a toothless resolution calling for more civility and bipartisan cooperaton in state government.

LePage isn't backing down from his racist comments about Maine's drug dealers. This just happened yesterday:

In a State House press conference, the governor restated previous comments about the numbers of black and Hispanic drug dealers who are bringing heroin into Maine and likened them to the enemy in a war....

LePage ... turned to House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, an officer who serves as a military lawyer in the Maine Air National Guard and sat in on the press conference. “Don’t you -- Ken (Fredette) you’ve been in uniform? You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy and the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”

... The ACLU of Maine said this week that statistics show white people are more likely to sell drugs than black people.

It might be a good time to bring back that impeachment resolution. Maybe a few Republicans could try supporting it this time? Maybe Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and the Bushes could speak out against LePage?

Nahhh. It'll never happen. Enablers gotta enable, for the good of the party.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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