Remember, just one month ago, when Sen. Olympia Snowe announced she was retiring from the U.S. Senate because the political rancor in Washington had become unbearable, unworkable and unacceptable?
There was immediate nodding of heads all around Maine, among Democrats, Republicans and independents. We marveled at the gross level of contention in Washington and praised ourselves for our own ability to keep state politics more cordial and less fractured.
In the past several weeks, the political discourse in Maine has careened toward the unbearable, unworkable and unacceptable.
Last month, when Democrats learned that Gov. Paul LePage would be traveling with his family to Jamaica, the Maine Democratic Party issued a press release critical of the family trip and pointing out that being governor is a full-time job.
“LePage’s frequent vacations strengthen the claims that he and his GOP allies are out of touch with the needs of regular Maine people working two to three jobs just to get by.”
It’s strangely courageous for the Democrats to take this stand, given that the presidency is also considered a full-time job and the Obamas travel extensively on exquisite and expensive trips, including annual family vacations to Hawaii.
Vacations are OK for a Democratic president but not for a Republican governor?
Talk about rhetoric. Or is that zealotry?
And, on Wednesday, Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, issued a press release solely to criticize Republican Attorney General Bill Schneider’s trip to Washington, D.C., to attend oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Hinck and Schneider are each seeking election to Snowe’s vacated Senate seat and are on opposing sides of so-called Obamacare, and Hinck wanted constituents to be aware of his position that “Schneider’s trip involves no legal work and should not be paid with public dollars.”
It’s worth noting that state Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Androscoggin, Hinck’s campaign manager and state Rep. Sharon Treat, D-Hallowell, also traveled to D.C. to witness the Supreme Court arguments.
They did not use public dollars, but the trip certainly involved “no legal work” nor offered any “benefit to the people of Maine” while they were out of state and not at
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