I'm deeply disappointed by what seems to be the growing irrationality of our public and political discourse. I see it when looking at polling, when wildly popular ideas are still considered outside of the realm of political discussion. I see it in the media, when both sides of an issue are often given equal rhetorical weight, regardless of their actual merits. It’s particularly obvious among the conservative right, which now makes a point of pride out of denigrating education, science-based policy and often the very idea of governance itself.
In the last few days we’ve seen the first debate, the first fundraising numbers, the first poll and the first television ad of the Republican primary race for U.S. Senate. What started as a scramble to get on the ballot after Senator Olympia Snowe announced she would not contest the 2012 election now becomes a scramble to quickly get attention and votes in the crowded field before the June primary.
Today in The Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, I gave over most of my column to the words of Paul LePage as he dug himself in deep on the issues of who knew what and when at DHHS. The conspiracy theory LePage spins is interesting, to say the least.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court finished hearing arguments on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in Washington today, but not before several Mainers made the trip to D.C. to have their own say on the issue.
Maine Attorney General (and new GOP U.S. Senate candidate) William Schneider attended the arguments, and was vocal to the press in criticising the the law.
I was surprised to hear about LD 849, a Republican-backed bill that would enforce automatic tax cuts in future budgets similar to the TABOR proposals that have previously been voted on at referendum. The legislation passed the Senate last week and now heads to the House.
One of the first thing you do if you're considering a run for office is to register an appropriate domain name. In the political gold rush that has ensued since Olympia Snowe announced the end of her re-election campaign last night, the shifting landscape of URLs gives us some ideas which candidates are staking their claims.
Since many candidates already own suitable domain names, such as chelliepingree.com or rosaformaine.com, registrations won't tell us everything, but they're a start.
First, the most interesting:
In what can only be described as an absolutely shocking development, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe has announced that she will end her race for re-election.
Snowe has been a cornerstone of Maine politics for decades, serving three terms in the Senate and in the House and State Legislature before that.
Snowe had given no previous indication of her plans and, in fact, the outlook on her political future only a few hours ago was considered incredibly bright.
Senator Ed Muskie came the closest of any Mainer, save James G. Blaine and perhaps Hannibal Hamlin, of becoming President of the United States.
Instead, forty years ago today, a chain of events began that saw him lose his front-runner status in the 1972 Democratic Presidential Primary, lose the nomination to Senator George McGovern and would eventually see Richard Nixon re-elected for a second term.
It is perhaps another sign of rightward drift from two of the few moderates left in the tea-party influenced Republican Party.
With the announcement that the campaign for equal marriage in Maine has gathered enough signatures to put a question on marriage back on the ballot this November, and the announcement yesterday that the clean energy initiative has failed to qualify for 2012, we now have a better idea of how the ballot will look for the general election this year.