LePage is bringing back a failed strategy with his latest inflammatory comment.
“About 47 percent of Mainers don’t work.” That’s what the governor said to a Maine women’s group at a conference last week.
In case you were wondering, LePage is wrong. A minute’s research will show anyone that LePage didn’t get his information from a reliable source.
According to the Maine Department of Labor, over 65 percent of working age Mainers are employed or actively looking for employment.
The governor clearly borrowed his line from Mitt Romney who after staing in 2012 that 47 percent of the United States were dependent on the government, watched as media outlets shredded his bleeding campaign to pieces.
The real question LePage’s statement begs is why on earth any politician would adopt the most catastrophically self destructive strategy in years, that is, insulting constituents and implying that half of them are worthless.
Sure, the statement wasn’t a good idea to start with, but LePage saw the consequences, and also, Romney didn’t try this line years ago; he said it last year. Did LePage watch the presidential candidate’s career-wrecking tactic and decide that if he used it in Maine, it would work out just fine?
Democratic systems have a novel aspect: their citizens are able to remove leaders they don’t like. Common sense would seem to tell the most condescending politician to complement his constituents and profess an unshakable confidence in his state.
Regardless of his reasoning, LePage is trying out the new, bolder strategies of the Republican party and navigating (poorly) between the dangerous pitfalls inherent to those strategies.
The governor pushed himself into a corner with his silly and easily countered statement. As baffling as the governor’s mind is, there’s something to be thankful for: the key to educated voting is information, and next election, Mainers will know exactly how LePage feels about them.