This week, instead of dreaming up derisive comments about our elected officials (and those who wish they were), I’m devoting this space to the most fascinating insights produced this year by the state’s alleged leaders (and those who wish they were).
In other words, here are the 10 stupidest things said by Maine politicians in 2013.
And no, they didn’t all come from Republican Governor Paul LePage. While LePage is more heavily represented than anyone else, that’s mostly because he talked more than anyone else. For instance, carpet-bagging GOP 2nd District candidate for Congress Bruce Poliquin enhanced his chances of finally winning an election by having his lips sealed with Gorilla Glue. And Democratic state Senator Troy Jackson, also a congressional hopeful, avoided inclusion by failing to utter a single coherent sentence.
And now, the winners:
10) “You guys, you’re idiots and you’re just as bad if not worse than those other guys.” That’s LePage, during an obscenity-laced rant at independent state legislators in January, after those representatives suggested repealing tax cuts to balance the budget. The “other guys” were apparently Democrats, who can, indeed, be idiots. For instance:
9) “This is a Republican party and a conservative legislator who is desperate to try to realign a gender gap that their party faces at the polls, and a representative who needs to kind of soften her hard edges.” Ben Grant, Democratic Party chairman, said that in a radio interview. Grant was trying to justify the unanimous opposition of his party’s legislative leadership to a bill sponsored by Republican state Rep. Amy Volk that aimed to help victims of human trafficking.
8) “Every single bill — until the hospital payment is passed — is going to be vetoed.” LePage, again, this time from a March radio interview, urging passage of his plan to reimburse hospitals for overdue Medicaid payments. He enhanced his credibility by promptly forgetting he ever said this.
7) “We need jobs that pay a living wage, and marketing jobs, telephone jobs, don’t pay very well. They say they have access to health care benefits, but they don’t provide them. So, we need to drive jobs in here from outside that pay a good living wage and provide benefits.” That’s Democrat Larry Gilbert, candidate for Lewiston mayor, during an October 17 debate, dismissing the $2.4 million renovation of a vacant downtown building by a marketing company owned by a former Republican congressional candidate. Gilbert lost the race in a landslide.
6) “What discretionary funding? If there’s discretionary funding, I’ve been there more than two years and I haven’t found any.” In May, LePage told victims of arson fires in Lewiston they were out of luck if they expected aid from his office. After a week of negative reaction, he finally discovered that discretionary cash and sent a check for $50,000.
5) “I don’t even know where Nathan Clifford school is.” Portland City Council candidate Greg Blouin responding to a question from Bangor Daily News columnist Chris Busby about whether he supported the controversial sale of the historic building to a developer for $1. Blouin got buried at the polls.