Paul LePage (R-Maine) is butthurt, and he’s not afraid to talk about it.
State Sen. Troy Jackson called one of LePage’s veto threats a “stunt.” LePage didn’t take kindly to that, saying Jackson “claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline,” according to the Associated Press.
The AP said LePage made the remark to journalists from two television statements and a newspaper.
Told some people might find the comment offensive, LePage responded “good” and added “It ought to, because I’ve been taking it for two years,” according to the AP.
LePage was elected governor in a four-way race in 2010 with just 38% of the vote. He swept in with him Republican majorities in Maine’s legislature for the first time since the 1960s.
But in 2012, with LePage’s approval rating underwater, Republicans lost both houses of the legislature. That’s forced LePage to work with Democrats to craft a budget this year.
As the vaseline comments reflect, it’s not going well.
While this is (apparently) the first time LePage has characterised a political opponent as performing unlubricated anal sex on him, it’s not the first time he’s gotten in hot water for impolitic comments.
The Washington Post has a good roundup of LePage’s greatest hits. He’s previously told President Obama to “go to hell” and the NAACP to “kiss my arse.” He said he isn’t terribly concerned about the chemichal Bisphenol-A, commonly used in consumer products, because at worst its effects on hormones might cause some women to grow beards.
He’s often had a rocky relationship with other politicians, the press, and interest groups. On Wednesday, his office announced that it would stop responding to any requests for comment from three Maine newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald, the state’s largest, on the grounds that those papers’ coverage had been biased.
In 2011, LePage sparked an outcry by having a mural removed from the state’s Department of labour offices on the grounds that it was too pro-labour. At the time, a spokesperson told the New York Times the governor was acting in response to a fax from a constituent saying the mural was reminiscent of “communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses.”
LePage was the oldest of 18 children born to a French-Canadian family. At 11, he ran away from home to escape his abusive father, was homeless for two years, and ultimately worked his way through college and business school. He was a successful businessman and served as mayor of Waterville before becoming governor.
His unvarnished and hardscrabble style has sometimes been an asset to him for connecting with voters. But, as yesterday’s incident shows, it can also be a liability.
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