Her other deviations from the party line might have been excusable, but this one was not, particularly since she now aspired to the top job in the House. The MSEA launched a quiet — but extremely effective — campaign against her. When Democrats caucused late last year to choose their leaders, Hayes discovered her alleged support for speaker had evaporated faster than Anderson Cooper's talk-show ratings.
She dealt with her defeat about as well as LePage deals with snide remarks from reporters. Hayes told conservative columnist John Frary that union influence in the Democratic Party was a "stinky infestation." She claimed labor leaders demanded "absolute obedience," punishing any pol who varied from their agenda even slightly. She got all self-righteous about having suffered what should have been the obvious consequences of her actions.
Her party responded by not only removing Hayes from leadership, but also by assigning her to the Joint Standing Committee on Restroom Maintenance. And she didn't even get to be chairwoman.
Hayes has told friends she doesn't regret either her votes or her comments. But she seems to have concluded she's washed up in politics. When her final term ends in 2014, she's ready to leave Augusta with her head high and those urinals shining.
But Hayes might be a bit hasty in abandoning public life. There's still a place in state government for someone fearless enough to speak up.
Or there will be if LePage ever needs a new communications director.
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: Talking Politics
, Paul Lepage, Maine State Employees Association, Maine House