Friday, February 25, 2011

Laughingstock

While awaiting Gov. Paul LePage's next gaffe* I thought I'd take a look at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, the think-tank that seems to be at the center of state government policy, at least philosophically.** I was somewhat relieved to find no ranting right-wingers. It's all right-wing stuff, to be sure, proposing to slay the usual bogeymen of state government, welfare, and healthcare, and if the research is skewed, misleading, and somewhat distorted, well, I expect the left-wing centers do much the same. At least there was nothing embarassing on the site, no Glen Beck/Rush Limbaugh hate and invective. Public civility is still the Maine way, as Senator Susan Collins has been saying this week.

Unfortunately, those pesky news people won't let the Center alone. Last year the media were questioning its funding sources, which it will not reveal, whereupon speculation grew that the Texas Koch brothers were behind it; and wondering at the very active role the Center seemed to be playing in the election, which is against the rules for non-profits. This week some people were complaining that the Center's CEO has used state employee email lists for fund-raising, again against the rules.

All I ask is that the Center add some polish, as well as philosophy, to the Governor's image. As much as I enjoy the gaffes, I don't like the fact that the State of Maine is becoming the laughingstock of the nation.

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*two gaffes this week:
1. He doesn't believe in the research that says bisphenol A should continue to be banned - if microwaved it might give off "a chemical like estrogen, so the worst case is some women may have little beards." This story is now national.
2. He's proposing to split DHHS into two departments, health and human services, apparently not realizing that each would then need a boss, sub-bosses, paperwork, etc. etc. and making government bigger.

**The Center's CEO was the LePage transition team's cochairman.

2 comments:

Jeff Boatright said...

I was just reading news reports on the latest from Lame LePage and I just KNEW you'd have some commentary on it.

So tell me, what ARE the recall laws in Maine? I mean, why wait until LePage hands the entire state over to his cronies?

Jeff Boatright said...

I think you're being naive about the Center. These think tanks exist for one maine reason (and several smaller ones), that being to constantly churn out far rightwing treatises. Why would they do that? Because any time there is a crisis, people go looking for ideas that have been floating around before the crisis that in some way may help us out of the crisis. If you have a mountain of "ideas" laying around at the time of a crisis, not matter how bad they are, they'll get used because they're seen as legitimate, pre-crisis plans.

May I suggest a perusal of The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein?

http://www.naomiklein.org/main