Folly of youth

Politics + Other Mistakes
By AL DIAMON  |  April 3, 2014

We now know what’s to blame for the decrepit condition of Maine’s economy.

It’s not taxes, energy prices, unions, welfare or our forefathers’ lack of forethought in locating the state in a remote corner of the nation far from financial, industrial, and cultural centers.

You’d think they’d have realized how difficult that was going to make it for their descendants to get high-speed Internet.

No matter. Such errors in judgment are of little consequence when compared to our real problem. Fortunately, Republican Governor Paul LePage has identified the culprit.

On March 20, LePage was the keynote speaker at the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine’s convention in Hallowell. According to news reports, the governor said a couple of sensible things — and I write those words without the slightest hint of irony.

He reiterated his belief that wind power is driving up electricity costs in the state, both because producing energy from huge turbines on formerly pristine mountaintops is inherently inefficient, and also because of the big subsidies the developers of these projects always require.

LePage also explained why legislative term limits — forcing members of the state House and Senate to call it quits after eight consecutive years in office — have created a gridlocked Legislature filled with clunkheads with no institutional memory.

In both cases, the governor was dead right. But, as has so often happened, LePage’s brief interaction with accuracy was followed by another of his attempts to drive the train where nobody has bothered to lay any tracks.

According to the governor, the Legislature is riddled with “young people with firm agendas,” who are “hurting us in the long haul.”

I’m not one of those given to knee-jerk criticism of every ridiculous statement LePage makes. Sometimes, among the mangled syntax, muddled facts, and thoughtless smears, he makes valid points that can, with the proper equipment employed by trained professionals, be extracted from the wreckage.

For all I knew, his claim about “young people” could be true. I decided to check it out.

I didn’t have to look far to find a youthful legislator who meets LePage’s criteria. A mere 25 years old this week, he has established an agenda every bit as firm as LePage’s faith in his inept commissioner of the dysfunctional Department of Health and Human Services. So committed is this fellow to his platform that his colleagues made him the youngest member of legislative leadership in the country.

His name is Alexander Willette of Mapleton, and he’s the assistant Republican leader in the Maine House.

Oddly enough, Willette — who, by virtue of being barely out of his formative years, must be “hurting us in the long haul” — agrees with LePage on virtually every major issue.

OK, maybe that’s not who the governor had in mind.

Let’s check out state Senator Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls. This misbegotten young person has yet to see his 30th birthday, and his ratings from special interest groups have been remarkably consistent (100 percent from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, 0 percent from the Maine State Employees Association), so he probably totes around one of those “firm agendas.”

Which is the same one LePage has. No surprise, since Mason is a member of the GOP’s Tea Party wing.

1  |  2  |   next >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TAKE THE GAMBLE  |  September 19, 2014
    Governments need stuff to regulate. Otherwise, we wouldn’t need governments.  
  •   THE E.C. PLAN  |  September 12, 2014
    Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler has proposed a much-needed change in the way Maine chooses its governor. Under the Cutler plan, the only people allowed to run would be those with the initials E.C.  
  •   PIMPING AND PANDERING  |  September 03, 2014
    And so, the excitement of the fall political campaigns begins.  
  •   BEAR WITH ME  |  August 31, 2014
    It’s the fall of 2015. A bear walks into a doughnut shop in Portland and says, “Give me two dozen assorted to go.”  
  •   LOOK OUT, CLEVELAND  |  August 21, 2014
    Eric Brakey is an energetic guy. But as an admirer of sloth, I have intense disdain for the excessively active.  

 See all articles by: AL DIAMON