"…from now on, what I am going to do is, I'm not going to make any comments to reporters unless it's in writing." - Paul LePage, direct quote, speaking in context, about answering media questions in a conversation with George Hale on WVOM, July 27, 2010.
Paul LePage once again demonstrates he is unworthy of election with the immature comment delivered above. While the LePage gaffe express will roll on, it has taken another hard right playbook turn into victim-whining about the media when it accurately reports comments he makes publically. Essentially, Paul LePage’s game is to change the subject, avoid responsibility, and play for sympathy as an injured party when he spouts off a thoughtless “red-meat” phrase or two. It’s not my fault, he contends; they’re being mean to me.
And of course, after all his holier-than-thou pronouncements, he still got his original dig in. Paul LePage even gallingly makes “if” contingency-type apologies that place the onus for any offense taken on the offended party’s mind rather than that given by his own mouth!
The real bottom line is that the Republicans have nominated a candidate that is dismissive of personal responsibility. Additionally, there is blatant arrogance displayed by Paul LePage that tells us that he believes that he is above being accountable to the public. Whether he likes it or not, the press is an essential ingredient of democracy. The LePage reference to making comments to reporters only in writing also speaks volumes about his mistrust of himself in his tendency to talk before thinking, the public’s ability to interpret news reporting, and a hankering to be presented only on his own terms.
The far right has always diverted attention from issues by using press persecution as a smoke-screen when caught out making “red meat” remarks. Maine’s press corps may not cover every aspect of this vital race to the extent we might like but whining paraphrasing of “gotcha journalism” victimization reminiscent of Sarah Palin is extremely far off the mark. But this is the template LePage is using in the campaign.
Imagine how Paul LePage will react to reporting of his actions should we be burdened with him as our Governor. Will press reporting on his actions always draw his dismissive issue-distracting distain? Will the Blaine House reporters need to submit press conference questions in advance in writing? Will the many harmful LePage vetoes be accompanied with silent treatment unaccountability? Will we have a Governor who chooses to communicate only through pre-selected right-wing friendly talk shows and fawning Fox-like submissive flattery?
We need to know. Dear Paul, please write soon.