On “Up Against the Clock” this past weekend, it seemed kind of stunning – or at least noteworthy – when this question went unanswered:
“In response to the federal government shutdown, a state of emergency was declared by this notoriously blunt Republican Maine governor."
The answer, of course, is Paul LePage. As the question implies, Governor LePage’s infamy has been growing for quite some time, long before he began trying to leverage the federal shutdown.
Early in his administration he removed a mural celebrating workers’ rights from the Department of Labor building. He is also among 26 governors that have refused additional Medicaid funding under the Affordable Care Act.
But he is perhaps most infamous for what he has said. Like the time he told President Obama to “Go to Hell.” Or when he dismissed concerns about the chemical BPA in plastic bottles by saying the worst case scenario is that “some women may have little beards.” More recently, there was that thing he said involving Vaseline about a state Democratic senator (best left in vague terms for our purposes here).
Paul LePage was sworn into office in the same period as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Florida’s Rick Scott, Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett and Michigan’s Rick Snyder – all of them justifiably notorious, and blunt, and infamous in their own right. They are national media and political stars who have come to represent activist governance, if not Republican overreach, in the states.
This past weekend a panel of contestants on a fake game show – contestants who are real-life political journalists – could not pick Paul LePage out of a metaphorical lineup. Which means a man who is known for his notorious bluntness might not be that notorious after all, at least not to a national audience.