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Tilting at Windmills

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January 15, 2011

LEPAGE TO NAACP: 'KISS MY BUTT'.... Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has proven himself to be something of a buffoon over the last year, and it appears his awkward style isn't improving.

Gov. Paul LePage of Maine said Friday that the state's N.A.A.C.P. leaders could "kiss my butt" after they questioned his decision not to attend Martin Luther King Day events in Bangor and Portland.

The remark by Mr. LePage, a newly elected Republican, came after The Portland Press Herald reported Friday that the N.A.A.C.P. felt increasingly slighted by him. Leaders of the group's Maine chapters told the newspaper that Mr. LePage had declined several invitations from them in recent months and questioned whether he would look out for their interests. [...]

When the reporter asked Mr. LePage to respond to the suggestion that he had a pattern of slighting the N.A.A.C.P., he said, "Tell them to kiss my butt," adding, "If they want to play the race card, come to dinner. My son will talk to them."

When talking to the NBC affiliate in Portland, the governor kept referring back to his adopted son, who is from Jamaica. He said, for example, the NAACP should "look at my family picture," pointing out his son. LePage added that his son "happens to be black," and that he would vouch for the governor's approach to race-related issues.

Whether LePage is deliberately blowing off the NAACP is interesting, and the fact that the classless, loudmouth governor thinks the NAACP should "kiss his butt" doesn't reflect well on him. Arguably more important, though, is that LePage seems to think having an adopted black son is some kind of trump card -- or more accurately, a shield to be used when confronted with race-related questions.

He can't have a race problem, the argument goes, because his son is black, as if this answers the questions about LePage snubbing the state's largest organization focused on the needs of Maine's African-American communities.

LePage is confused, and being respectful of racial diversity means more than pointing to a family photo. His son isn't a prop, and the color of his son's skin doesn't answer questions about his father's policies in office.

Steve Benen 10:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

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Comments

Well it sounds like his son IS a prop to him at least.

Posted by: Jay on January 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

what, is the God Machine broken today ?

Posted by: Phil in Denver on January 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

The remark by Mr. LePage, a newly elected Republican,

Don't forget that LePage is also a Teatard. And 99% of them are racist. After all, most Teatards are the modern day Birchers.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on January 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Maine had a three-way race for governor this fall, a Dem, an independent who was essentially a Dem, and LePage. When the dust settled LePage had won with 38% of the vote. Now we have to endure his bad policies and worse behavior for four years.

He claims to be pro-business. I wonder if he believes outbursts like this project an image of Maine that will attract businesses and customers (we call 'em tourists). Maine is better than this. Way better.

Posted by: BMB on January 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Is LePage a Tea Partying Republican?

If so, he seems to continue the pattern of being elected, then failing to realize as the elected official, he has a fidelity to all citizens of his/her district/state. An elected governor, I would hope, would see the political value in showing up to a constituency he now represents, despite what ever political and policy differences he may have with them!

MLK Jr. is worthy of our heartfelt remembrance, as he was instrumental in bringing decency, dignity and improved democracy to us - making our nation bigger and more worthy than it had ever been before his time!

WTF LePage! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 15, 2011 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Some of my best friends sons are black.

And please delete gulag's comment, above. The full username is beyond the pale.

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on January 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Darn! In my comment, I tried to strike out "friends."

Posted by: Daryl P Cobranchi on January 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

The "son" has not been legally adopted and is a Jamaican citizen, not a U.S. citizen. So while LePage may call his "his son," he is more a friend of the family who lives with them and who they help with financial support. Source: http://www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3478/ItemId/14846/Default.aspx

By the way, LePage lied about something as part of this incident. He said that during the NAACP, he was invited to meet black prisoners but he refused because he wanted to meet all prisoners. The NAACP and an official from the Dept of Corrections say this is not true. The guy just makes things up.

Posted by: Mainer on January 15, 2011 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

What's his "son"'s name, Token?

Sheesh.

I can't wait until March and his snub of the St. Patrick's Day parade with a comment that he drinks whiskey.

Posted by: biggerbox on January 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

LePage is confused, and being respectful of racial diversity means more than pointing to a family photo.


But on the other hand I don't think it's right to try to intimidate him into catering to a particular group with the veiled threat that he will be labeled a racist if he doesn't. His other qualities aside, I kind of get his response in this particular case.

Posted by: DelCapslock on January 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

DelCapslock said:

"But on the other hand I don't think it's right to try to intimidate him into catering to a particular group with the veiled threat that he will be labeled a racist if he doesn't."

Generically, it is hard to argue with the statement: "I don't want to be intimidated by special interests." Specifically, it is likely that he will meet with and respond to some special interest groups more often and more enthusiastically than others. This would not make him different from most elected leaders, and is their prerogative.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Which groups does he meet with, and which does he ignore? Which groups does he address publicly with childish and churlish remarks and which groups does he treat with deference or respect.

One can tell a great deal about a person by the company kept.

Posted by: pheski on January 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously... the man gave the keynote speech three years in a row (2004, 2005 and 2006) at the MLK event the NAACP held.

His response? Crude, perhaps... Undiplomatic, certainly - but I see his point, that for people to suggest that he's racially insensitive is just silly. Unless you know of more things he's said or done to support it, you can't just say his pointing to his adopted son is a sham...

Posted by: Kevin on January 15, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's fair to question the beliefs of any politician who goes out of their way to snub any part of their constituency, much less slights an important leader in American history...

But my guess is that he's responded to typical teatard paranoia about being "pushed around" by "politically correct" groups. He's like a petulant child that refuses to do something just to demonstrate that you can't make him do it. It's symptomatic of the tea party politics-as-personal-pathology instead of the more common politics-as-governance. Expect more tantrums.

Posted by: inkadu on January 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

But it is disrespectful to not only the NAACP but also his son. I'm with Benen here. His son is not a prop.

Also, we don't know the entirety of the story. Was LePage being truthful when he claimed that the NAACP wanted to control who he met?

Posted by: a.mcewen on January 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I think it was a NYT/CBS poll that showed overwhelming numbers of Tea Party folks thought too much was made of minorities' problems. Like the people in Tenn and Texas(who are trying whitewash history books), I suspect this jackass shares that sentiment.

For many republicans/Tea Partiers, the only real racism is 'reverse racism'(white people being accused of racism/racial insensitivities).

Posted by: Holmes on January 15, 2011 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

hey, mod

pretty rude to call someone a jackass. It does violate the site's guidelines for posting.

Why don't you grow up and not be such a petulant child.

It does not reflect well on the site when you attack users with inflammatory statements.

Posted by: molly on January 15, 2011 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Elected with 38% of the vote. Another triumph for third-party, immaculately-conceived, lets-get-politicians-out-of-politics politics.

Thank you, self-financing, my-party-left-me!, millionaire vanity candidates who can't be bothered with the rough-and-tumble of a primary season everywhere!

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 15, 2011 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Accepting or even loving someone you know from a different ethnic background does not mean you aren't racist.
When you are unlucky enough to know a racist or have one in your family the following exchange is not uncommon:

S/he says "All those - enter ethnic group- are -enter stereotype-"

You say "What about so and so, and what's his name and you know who?"

S/he says "Oh, well they're not like THEM. They're different."

And they never seem to get that no one is like THEM because there is no THEM, only individuals.

Posted by: gelfling545 on January 15, 2011 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK
It's pretty rude to call someone a jackass. It does violate the site's guidelines for posting.
The truth of the assertion is the only airtight affirmative defense against libel, so far as I know. Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Part of the course, brassy, defiant and bend-over-backwards-not-to-be-PC modus of Limbaugh and his legacy, isn't it?

Also, see these poll results about TP folks and their distribution of racial attitudes:
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/04/new-data-on-tea-party-sympathizers.html

Posted by: neil b. on January 15, 2011 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile back in Az. Jan Brewer's budget calls for ending medicaid coverage for 280,000 poor people. This is Epic. Please help our state.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on January 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Well Molly, those of us who were here before the site was moderated appreciate them every day. We remember the infestation of jackasses who ruined every thread. By the way, so far as I'm concerned, changing the "d" to a "t" in c u n d gulag's handle qualifies as airtight evidence of jackassery.

Posted by: Old School Political Animal on January 15, 2011 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

That KMB stuff endears that kind to their very base base.

Posted by: neil b on January 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Strom Thurmond had black kids too...and we all know HE wasn't a racist!

Posted by: Severian on January 15, 2011 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mods,
I hope you guys know that I didn't comment on this LePage matter at all. So, both of these comments were bogus.
Who the Hell is doing this, and why, I wonder? Could it be that POS troll Lubyanka from Digby? Maybe you could look into that. "Echo," which she and Steve M. use for comments leaves a trace so you can identify if someone's changed their name. But, I suppose you have something sophisticated as well, since you found this person out.
Sorry if there's been any inconvenience.

[Done and done. And "Molly" has been shown the door, too. --Mods]

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 15, 2011 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

So, I suppose there has never been a misogynist with a daughter?

Posted by: idlemind on January 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think there's much political cost for LePage's asshattery.

Like all teatards, he'll prove incompetent at governing, and will be out on his ass at the end of his term regardless.

(Or, there's a teeny weeny chance that he'll be good at it, and get primaried from the right.)

And probably all 100 A-A voters in ME are members of the NAACP. It ain't Michigan, or even Mississippi.

Posted by: efgoldman on January 15, 2011 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

And I'm missing the God Machine also too, today.

Especially in a week when the good old g*d-fearing GOBP noise machinery used "blood libel" and "pogrom" to victimize themselves.

Posted by: efgoldman on January 15, 2011 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Mods,
Thank you very much. Enjoy your weekend. :-)

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 15, 2011 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Gov. is surely a racist and, as a Tea party guy, a bad and dangerous dude.

However, the NAACP is also racist and LePage has guts to tell 'em to go to hell as so many politicos wish they could but lack the guts to do.

Posted by: Daniel Katz on January 15, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

His lie about adopting a young man who is a friend of his family, and then using his relationship as a point in an argument shows dishonesty and disrespect.

Posted by: Nancy Green on January 15, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

[...] LePage seems to think having an adopted black son is some kind of trump card -- or more accurately, a shield to be used when confronted with race-related questions. -- Steve Benen

"Some of my best friends are Jewish". That's what I was reminded of, immediately, because I can't tell you how many times I heard that, back in Poland. Indeed, for a short while, I had a "friend" who, I think used me as just such a shield (though it wasn't, really, a good enough cover up, since I'm only "half-tainted"). Gets my hackles up, every single time.

Posted by: exlibra on January 15, 2011 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad you named him. When I first saw a picture of LePage and read what he said, I was totally confused. I thought Carl Paladino ran for governor of New York.

Posted by: tamiasmin on January 15, 2011 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody remember GHWB's declaration that he loves all his grandchildren, EVEN "the little brown ones"?

Posted by: Suzii on January 16, 2011 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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