A THREE-RING binder has now exposed the three-ring circus of unhinged racism and ravings that are the hallmarks of Maine’s governor, Paul LePage (R).
Mr. LePage, who entered office in 2011 refusing to attend Martin Luther King Jr. Day events or meet with representatives of the NAACP, has a long history of racial animus, and this year he has outdone himself. In January, he attributed Maine’s opioid epidemic to “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty [who] come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home [and] half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.”
Challenged on that assertion last month, Mr. LePage, whom few in Maine regard as the sharpest mind in state politics, dug himself a deeper hole: “Ninety-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ring binder, are black and Hispanic people.” And the next day: “Black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers.”
Facts are inconvenient for Mr. LePage, who now appears to have been undone by them. A few weeks after his “90 percent-plus” assertion, Maine’s Portland Press Herald published FBI statistics showing that the overwhelming majority of those arrested in Maine for drug offenses in 2014 were white; just 14 percent were black.
Then, bowing to lawsuits, Mr. LePage was forced this week to release his by-now notorious three-ring binder of drug trafficking suspects — a 148-page scrapbook full of news clippings, press releases and mug shots. It turns out that Mr. LePage’s usual suspects, out-of-state blacks and Hispanics, comprised no more than about a third of the suspects in it, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. The governor’s office now says Mr. LePage wishes to “move on.”
He really should move on — by resigning and seeking help, in order to spare the people of Maine more of his wild-eyed ramblings. Having menaced a Democratic state legislator in an obscenity-filled voice-mail rant, likened the IRS to the Gestapo and suggested that President Obama “go to hell,” Mr. LePage threatens to remake his state’s image from a vacation paradise of surreal natural beauty to a hotbed of hatred.
In nearly six years as governor, Mr. LePage’s memorable assaults on decent governance and public civility include hiring his own relatives, threatening to shoot the political cartoonist of a state newspaper and attacking a Democratic state senator as “the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.” He has referred to blacks and Hispanics as “the enemy,” adding that “the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”
Although Maine is still the nation’s most racially homogeneous state, its white population dipped from 95.2 percent in 2010 to 94.9 percent in 2015. Perhaps this creeping diversity is what has deranged Mr. LePage, who regards the world through a lens of racial hatred. Officials of both parties have called on him to resign. It’s high time he does.
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