Tuesday, February 15, 2011


We now have a bill (LD 583 & Sponsors) that will create a NRA specialty plate. This is clearly what can be called “triumphalism” when a proposal of this sort is put forth.

Such a bill is not about governing, it is about ruling. Have you heard the outcry your fellow citizens seeking that this measure be promulgated and passed into law? Of course not because there is neither rational nor demand for this action. There is only the message; “we will do this because we can.”

The NRA specialty plate is pure triumphalism theater. Indeed it can be seen as similar to committing an “excessive celebration” penalty in the NFL. Yes, your team scored but rubbing the opposition’s nose in it to a disproportionate degree is unproductive at best and mean spirited at worse.

Our politics have no immediate penalty for “excessive celebration” and in the larger scheme of two coming years of fiscal action, policy realignment, and political redirection; this measure will eventually seem minor in nature. But at present, because no valid reason exists for this action, it speaks volumes in terms of the relationship we can expect from those elected and sworn in to serve all their constituents and their true attitude toward citizens in the minority.

Additionally it may just set up a divisive situation where none was sought or desired. This action strikes one as an attempt at taunting; it adds to the right-left gulf instead of working toward a political environment of benefiting all in Maine. There will be denials of such as intentions but this is truly a case of where actions speak louder than words.

It bodes ill for Maine when our elected representatives misguidedly engage in political theater that is clearly “in your face” unproductive posturing. That it will send money to a controversial advocacy group politically aligned with the right will be the recurring slap on the other cheek.

However, there has been one prevailing historical lesson for those who stridently engage in triumphalism; the willingness to alienate, the dedication to gesture not substance, and the deafness of self-righteousness generally leads to downfall.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reform Rx - Snowe & Collins Redux

The United States Senate last night (2/2/10) voted on an amendment to the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act for the stated purpose of: To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

It failed completely along party lines (51-47) with our Senators Snowe and Collins joining the GOP minority to take away health care reforms for Maine people. We continue to be ill represented by both of our Senators. First each of them played drawn out games to weaken the original legislation substantively and now they continue to attack health care for all us by engaging in this showboat, kneel-to-the-tea-party vote to completely reverse and trash the entire effort.

You'll hear from them that their goal is to replace it with a better plan. The better plan time has past, they know it, and this is just one more attempt to reverse health care progress and set our gains back to zero. And despite constitutional bluster about mandates by Republicans, absolutely many essential reforms like covering pre-existing conditions will not work without a larger insurance pool and our Senators are ignoring such facts.

We must remember this in 2012 when Senator Snowe, endorsed by Governor LePage (who is himself moving us into an unwanted lawsuit to overturn health care reform) runs for re-election. Yes, this is the same Senator Snowe who voted in the Senate Finance Committee (her pre-existing position) to support a similar bill in 2009. Ever since then her commitment to reform has headed downhill to today voting to overturn the vital minimal reforms we desperately needed. We need to also remember Senator Collins continual gamesmanship on health care in 2014.

For more about the price Maine citizens will have to pay by any repeal of the Affordable Care Act for Maine citizens, follow this healthcare.gov link.