Wicked Stupid

Canadian Reader Bob sent an item on his neighbor, Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, who has some principled centrism to share with us:

It’s no big secret that Gov. Paul LePage wants to shrink state government, but he took that idea a step further on Thursday by maligning an entire block of state workers as “corrupt.”

According to press accounts of the event, LePage was asked a question about fees at the latest town hall forum in Newport. Here’s how he responded:

“Believe me, there is a lot of good and hardworking people that work for the state. They are not the problem,” he said, according to press accounts of the event in Newport. “The problem is the middle management of the state is about as corrupt as you can be. Believe me, we’re trying every day to get them to go to work, but it’s hard.”

He offered no proof of corruption, no data to back his case that these managers don’t work and he didn’t identify a specific department. He did go on to talk about how most of these employees are not appointed by him and are protected through union contracts.

After saying this, he dug his hole deeper by writing a letter to state employees explaining that it isn’t all of them, just some of them, who are corrupt.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

73 replies
  1. 1
    johnny orogeny says:

    The fish rots from the head on down.

  2. 2
    redshirt says:

    He never has proof of anything he says. But then, why bother? Truth and facts are 20th century, liberal concepts.

  3. 3
    Hawes says:

    Well. If it’s just a few bad apples…

    How is it possible for the GOP to win elections?

  4. 4
    Marc says:

    Evil is an alternative to stupid.

  5. 5
    JMG says:

    The Republicans win elections because x percent of the population admires bullies and another x percent hates and fears almost everyone except their own wonderful selves.

  6. 6
    jwb says:

    I didn’t know that middle management was protected by union contracts.

  7. 7
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Hawes:

    How is it possible for the GOP to win elections?

    a) A dedicated, nationwide, televised propaganda arm (Faux “News”),

    b) Voter suppressions/local election cockup efforts,

    c) The 27% Crazification Factor, and

    d) Another 15-20% or so dumbfuck ‘Murkin voters.

    All the above with a healthy dose of gerrymandering sums up how the modern Republican Party wins elections.

  8. 8
    Brachiator says:

    Canadian Reader Bob sent an item on his neighbor, Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, who has some principled centrism to share with us

    I’m not sure that this has much to do with “centrism.” On the other hand, it’s got a lot to do with stupidity.

    This bonehead did all but mimic that old McCarthy tactic, “I hold in my hand here a list of all the corrupt employees.”

  9. 9
    cathyx says:

    I used to work for a local city in their parks department. In the spring, we would plant the street planting strips with annuals, and the display would be very impressive all summer.
    One year, the woman I was working with was placing the plants in their prospective spots and trying to figure out the spacing and I was bringing her the flats of plants. I set the last one down and we were discussing something for a second and a car drove by, rolled down the window and shouted to us that we were typical city workers standing around and talking, not working. He assessed this by his few seconds it took to drive by and see us standing there talking.

    This guy had as much proof of us not working as the Governor has of the corrupt city workers.

  10. 10

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage: LePage won in a 5 candidate field, with the left vote split between a Democrat and an ex-Democrat, in a state where people, including a majority of registered Democrats, don’t believe politicians have any role to play in politics.

    Up here, politics is beanbag. There’s a human cost, to be sure, but hey, self-expression can’t be expected to have zero cost.

  11. 11
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    This American Life did a show on Wisconsin a while back, including a segment of gov’t workers reading some of the hate mail they’d gotten from Tea Baggers. It was never said explicitly but it became clear that a lot of them think all government jobs are ghost jobs (just to draw things back to the old machine politics discussed below) where you draw a paycheck for nothing.

  12. 12
    Hill Dweller says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage: You left out arguably the most important factor: the ignorant electorate.

    For example, a new Wisconsin poll says 4 in 10 union households support Walker. He openly wants to destroy unions, but they still support him. How do you combat that level of stupidity?

  13. 13
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jwb: There seems to be confusion about what is union related and what is civil service protection related. There were probably good reasons why at one time we took away the ability for governors to just fire and replace low level government employees with Friends.

  14. 14
    James E Powell says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    a) A dedicated, nationwide, televised propaganda arm (Faux “News”),

    And a corporate press/media that follows FoxNews around like ducklings following their mother.

  15. 15

    @Hill Dweller:

    How do you combat that level of stupidity?

    You can’t. Revealed religion can’t be refuted by facts. Self-interest can be defined in ways that aren’t financial.

    The people who jumped with their children off of Marpi Point weren’t all that different from our neighbors. Hell, they weren’t all that different from ourselves.

  16. 16
    James E Powell says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    One has to wonder what kind of communication and education programs their unions have. Are they misinformed about Walker’s intentions? Are there other issues that trump union membership?

  17. 17
    Redshift says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Of course they believe that. They’ve ensconced themselves in a media bubble where they’re told every day that all of your tax money is stolen from you and wasted.

  18. 18
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I’m sure that state workers will be far more likely to cooperate with him now.

    Reminds me of the first time I met my grandfathers second wife, who thought the best way to get service in a restaurant was to snarl at the black waiter…”get me some water, boy!”

    I didn’t touch anything we were served. I knew what would have happened to the food if someone had said that to any waiter at any restaurant I’ve ever worked in.

  19. 19

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Our national emblem could just as readily be a bucket full of crabs as a bald eagle.

    LePage has calculated, or stumbled upon the truth, that for every vote he loses from an MSEA member, or their family, he gains one somewhere else. And he won without clearing 40% of the vote. He doesn’t need to be loved. He doesn’t even need a majority.

    Pig-ignorant doesn’t automatically mean stupid. And low cunning is still cunning.

  20. 20
    rikyrah says:

    they voted for this mofo.

    you get what you vote for.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    where you draw a paycheck for nothing.

    That would actually be interest and dividends, as collected by OvenMitt Rmoney, vile parasite.

  22. 22
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Total agreement about the national emblem, but if we could fit it in, I’d also like a pot of boiling water in the background of the bucket image.

  23. 23
    jwb says:

    @Hill Dweller: And then these same people will undoubtedly find a way to blame the Democrats when they lose their union protection. Sometimes it feels hopeless, but it really has to be up to the unions to convince its membership. No Democrat is going to be able to do that. On the other hand, the DNC better get its butt in gear and start throwing some money into this race.

  24. 24
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Hill Dweller:
    Maybe they are police and fire unions?

  25. 25
    redshirt says:

    @Hill Dweller: I think I read it here yesterday: “Chickens for Colonel Sanders”.

    Fits our situation nicely.

  26. 26
    Hill Dweller says:

    @James E Powell: What other issues? Education? Walker has gutted funding. The economy? Wisconsin was last in the nation in job creation during 2011. Honesty? Ethical behavior? Walker has displayed none of that.

    It’s probably tribalism. Poll after poll shows republican voters support democratic policies, but they still consistently vote republican.

  27. 27
    Maude says:

    OT AP headline says that Mitt doesn’t want the Rev. Wright ad to run. He wants to focus on the economy.

  28. 28
    jwb says:

    @Maude: Maybe the play all along was to set this up so RMoney could disavow it, appear to be responsible and frame himself to the center.

  29. 29
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Maude: Willard personally used Rev. Wright when attacking Obama in Feb. His ‘rejection’ of the ad is bullshit.

    Joe Ricketts also claimed he rejected the Rev. Wright ad, despite the documents showing he approved of it.

    Rep. Mike Coffman said he ‘misspoke’ after getting caught saying Obama wasn’t an American.

    These cowards got caught, and are afraid to stand by their genuine opinions. Nothing more.

  30. 30
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @jwb: Yes, I thought middle management is that, management.

  31. 31
    JoyceH says:

    LePage is an idiot. I used to live in Maine. It’s a small population state, and pretty much everyone is related to everyone else. You don’t get reelected by calling people’s aunt ‘corrupt’. He’s managed to insult everybody with this one.

  32. 32
    Maude says:

    @Hill Dweller:
    Mitt is such a stand up guy.
    If the Republicans get away with crazy lies, they keep making them. Heads on pikes.

    @jwb:
    I wouldn’t put it past Mitt to do that.
    He’s truly dumb.

  33. 33
    Hill Dweller says:

    (per Think Progress) Drudge, who has close ties to the Romney camp, went full on birther today.

  34. 34
    redshirt says:

    I’ll say this: Mainers better reclaim the state houses and put the kibosh to LePage come the Fall. They better, or else!

  35. 35
    jwb says:

    @Hill Dweller: Marx was wrong: the first time as farce, the second time as even more farce.

  36. 36
    Maude says:

    @Hill Dweller:
    #33, is he being reborn?

  37. 37
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Ah, Newspeak:

    They all love to quote that one paragraph about the invisible hand, yet wouldn’t even recognize the entire chapters dedicated to the necessity of banking regulation or how, if left unchecked, the division of labor could end up destroying civilization.

    Corruption means I can’t stuff state government with campaign workers and cronies.

  38. 38
    Teddy's Person says:

    @Hill Dweller: I don’t think they have “genuine opinions” just talking points.

  39. 39
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    I don’t know about Maine, but in Minnesota middle management is represented by a union called the Middle Management Association, so it’s possibly similar in Maine.

  40. 40
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jwb:

    I didn’t know that middle management was protected by union contracts.

    It really depends. Supervisors and professionals do have their own unions. They tend to want to unionize when their own bosses are treating them like shite or they see the writing on the wall about layoffs and wage cuts’n stuff.

    OPEIU, AFSCME, and supervisor locals of certain trade unions may be representing them.

  41. 41
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    There seems to be confusion about what is union related and what is civil service protection related.

    @Suffern ACE: I don’t think Governor 38% is confused at all, actually.

  42. 42
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Also, too, if your area of expertise is in a pretty much government exclusive field, barring some sort of cushy privatization scam (hope you have the right friends to jump ship) you can’t really bounce from employer to employer like someone in a private industry with lots of local competitors because you’ll have to pull up stakes and actually move to another municipality. Or another state. That’s kinda expensive and state workers kinda aren’t making a killing (usually).

    So fear of jobloss might motivate even professional workers to unionize in order to get layoff protection.

  43. 43
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Suffern ACE: Yeah, that too. Certainly they made that illegal for federal jobs, except for the top appointees. However, the Bushies tried to subvert that as much as possible to get their ideological followers in there… and they’re still in there, causing mischief.

    I couldn’t tell you to what extent that’s true of the states. State workers are often covered by special laws rather than NLRA, so sometimes, yeah, stuff is enshrined in state law. Although it might have been reform driven by legislators or it might have been reform driven by … lobbying by civil service employee’s unions. Where they are legal, they lobby like hell to protect themselves. As well they should.

  44. 44
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Brachiator:

    This bonehead did all but mimic that old McCarthy tactic, “I hold in my hand here a list of all the corrupt employees.”

    Just wait. The authoritarians, GOP faithful, and RWNJs are going to demand soon that textbooks cut out McCarthy or tone it down, just like they have worked to cut out honest teaching about the FDR and the New Deal.

    Very subversive, those school teachers, letting the youth in on authoritarian grifters’ favorite tricks!

  45. 45
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @cathyx:

    One year, the woman I was working with was placing the plants in their prospective spots and trying to figure out the spacing and I was bringing her the flats of plants. I set the last one down and we were discussing something for a second and a car drove by, rolled down the window and shouted to us that we were typical city workers standing around and talking, not working. He assessed this by his few seconds it took to drive by and see us standing there talking.

    One year I went to engineering school and joined the student chapter of ITE. We got hired to do turning movement counts in local intersections, so one day I was out with about three others, all of us holding Jamar counters at a complicated intersection, when some Masshole with a shitty car flung his door open in the middle of traffic to scream “Get a job!”

    I guess he needed glasses? I mean, a Jamar does not very much resemble a cardboard “Hungry. Need Help.” sign.

  46. 46
    jwb says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I knew professionals and other kinds of white collar work were occasionally organized; I did not know that management was ever organized. I learned something.

  47. 47
    Another Halocene Human says:

    It was never said explicitly but it became clear that a lot of them think all government jobs are ghost jobs (just to draw things back to the old machine politics discussed below) where you draw a paycheck for nothing.

    To be fair, it’s a traditional sport in Massachusetts for pols to hook up one’s relatives with no-show jobs and hook up one’s self with an unearned pension payout. (So the little people are taking another pension cut? Too bad, so sad.)

    The trick would be getting away with it, as it seems like a lot of them do get caught.

  48. 48
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jwb: Depends what is meant by “management.” Appointed/charter positions/heads, well, I don’t know if they are part of any sort of organization other than professional societies. But he did state middle management, and then we are talking salaried, supervisor positions who have bosses, sometimes multiple bosses, of their own.

    Oh, I forgot: CWA also organizes these kinds of workers.

  49. 49
    redshirt says:

    Yeah, MA is home to the “My son – the dipshit – is qualified for the City Parking Commissioner job.”

    But Massholes suck in all flavors.

  50. 50
    Another Halocene Human says:

    And I know of a union whose employees (everyone but the elected officials) decided to go into AFL-CIO direct.

  51. 51
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @redshirt: Toll takers, parks and rec, and let’s not forget the entire 1970’s engineering department of the MBTA, none of whom had an engineering degree. (They made some contractor/consulting firms very happy, though.)

  52. 52
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Gosh, sometimes I wonder if where I’m at isn’t better than where I’m from. My current state just hires people who are flat out incompetent, but not so much on the patronage no-show hires and pension raiding. Huh.

    That they can’t get anything done right (due to their major incompetence), just details?

    Though I think the theft is going on 24/7, we just don’t have an independent, active press to expose it, as up north.

  53. 53
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @James E Powell:

    One has to wonder what kind of communication and education programs their unions have. Are they misinformed about Walker’s intentions? Are there other issues that trump union membership?

    Didn’t Barrett make anti-union statements? If both sides do it, they might respond to “let’s reduce the waste” rhetoric, under the st00pid assumption that 70% of the state budget is welfare payments to naggers, or that the wasteful job that will be cut is those other, useless departments, not theirs which is mission critical.

    I betcha the number of teacher’s households voting for Walker is under 10%.

  54. 54
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Suffern ACE: Civil service reform was a major progressive victory… to make government jobs professional with performance standards and hiring criteria related to the jobs, to keep them from being patronage sinecures. A perfect example of what they fought to eliminate at a lower and middle level was Bush’s hiring of that Brown guy to head FEMA.

  55. 55
    geg6 says:

    You know, I usually think of Mainers as sober-minded, salt of the earth centrists who are perfectly embodied, politically, by their current senators.

    WTF is wrong with Maine to elect this buffoon?

  56. 56

    @geg6: 5-person race, split Democratic vote, three vanity candidates.

  57. 57
    geg6 says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Ah, that makes a little more sense. Is it sure that the King guy will win, then? Is this idiot toast?

  58. 58
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @geg6: Maine is the Alabama of New England, with a hollowed out manufacturing sector struggling to keep going, tourism and vacationer-dependent economy, massive rural poverty, and shitty public schools, although I guess NH, by totally defunding their state government, may be angling for that crown. (CT is the best, followed by MA, but VT does an absolutely amazing job given what they’re dealing with.)

    There is very little middle class in Maine so less “centrism” than you think. However, the poor in Maine have some notion of who has robbed them blind (as such, they haven’t reached WV/W.PA/S.OH levels of delusion yet), so progressive ballot measures and such do well.

    The richest of them all only hang around Maine in the slow summer months so presumably even if they are double registering to vote they really can’t be arsed to ratfuck ME November elections at a time when they are moving southward to stay a step ahead of the gray slush.

  59. 59
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Also, it’s just AMAZING how many Massholes are driving around with ME plates (tag fees are cheaper) even though this is supposed to be illegal.

    Just amazing, I tells ya.

  60. 60
    shortstop says:

    @geg6: King’s running for the Senate, not the guvship.

  61. 61
    geg6 says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Also, it’s just AMAZING how many Massholes are driving around with ME plates (tag fees are cheaper) even though this is supposed to be illegal.

    We get that here in WPA with Ohio plates. I’m not sure what the exact advantage is (I think it’s the inspections that are required in PA and not in OH or that the OH inspections are less rigorous), but I know literally dozens of native Western Pennsylvanians, many of whom have never lived anywhere else or crossed any other state line who have OH plates.

  62. 62
    geg6 says:

    @shortstop:

    Oh, shit. Is there a decent Dem running against this idiot the next time around and can he/she possibly win?

  63. 63

    @geg6: There’ll be

    • the Republican incumbent, who even after one term in the Blaine House still isn’t a politician, no sir.
    • a Democratic candidate, a career public servant and a good one.
    • a Democratic candidate who didn’t want to leave the party, but whose party left him or her, who is indistinguishable from a Democrat, and who isn’t a politician, no sir.
    • a Green, who isn’t a politician, no sir.
    • and one more right-o-left-ish candidate — this one a complete novice who owns a business and can therefore run a state, but who isn’t a politician, no sir.

    And LePage wins another term with another sub-40% plurality. In other words, a replay of 2010.

    Mainers hate politics.

  64. 64
    redshirt says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Really? Do you know more details? I’ve long considered the best disguise in a vehicle to be a Masshole driving with Maine plates. Best of all possible worlds.

  65. 65
    shortstop says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I’m starting to think many of them hate themselves.

  66. 66
    slim's tuna provider says:

    @Another Halocene Human: dunno. having grown up in mass., and having done lots of road running there, i sort of regard it as only a matter of time before someone either yells something lewd at you from a car, or throws their empty soda cup at you. i suspect it’s much much worse for women.

  67. 67
    redshirt says:

    @shortstop: Lots of people hate themselves. Explains most churchgoers, yes?

  68. 68
    shortstop says:

    @slim’s tuna provider:

    having grown up in mass., and having done lots of road running there

    I see and heartily approve of what you did there.

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    Couldn’t he have just held up a piece of paper and claimed to have a list of 57 corrupt middle management state workers?

  70. 70
    Kilkee says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I can’t speak for the rest of the State, but my experience has been that the Portland public schools are pretty good.

  71. 71
    Hungry Joe says:

    When I was a reporter I did a Labor Day story on the the hardest jobs in the area. One of them was road repair, laying down steaming, bubbling asphalt in 100-plus-degree summer heat. Workers could only bear it for about 20 minutes before they had to sit down in the shade for five or ten minutes to drink some cold water and try to recover for the next 20-minute go-round. But they always tried to do it out of sight of the highway, because if drivers saw them sitting they’d yell out the window or (not uncommon) complain to the county or to the newspaper that government workers were loafing.

  72. 72
    redshirt says:

    @Hungry Joe: Sad, but completely recognizable.

    Egads! What a mind job the Overlords have done to us! That we are so eager to tear into and denigrate fellow workers.

  73. 73
    Matt says:

    Shorter LePage: “I *know* there are corrupt people around here – I remember seeing them in line at all the offices *I* was collecting ‘campaign contributions’ from!”

Comments are closed.