Governor’s quips hurting Maine’s image

In a front-page story Sunday, we explored that valuable but elusive thing called the “Maine brand.”

It’s that image outsiders have of our state that influences everything from whether they decide to move here, vacation here or attend a Maine college.

We should be proud of our brand and carefully guard its integrity.

While Gov. Paul LePage may have some good ideas for making Maine a better place to do business, some of his off-hand comments are hurting the state’s image and brand — and that can’t be good for business.

In office only three months, the governor has made a series of insensitive and unnecessary statements that have unfavorably propelled the state into the national spotlight.

Questioned about his administration’s support for repealing a bill eliminating the chemical BPA from products for children, the governor was quick with a quip:

"So the worst case is some women may have little beards."

The comment earned the governor national news coverage, but also made the state’s chief executive look like an insensitive wiseguy.

When the state’s NAACP chapter criticized the governor for not attending one of its events, the governor was again quick to respond. When a reporter asked him what he would tell the organization, he said “I’d tell 'em to kiss my butt.”

The comment reverberated across the Web and the national TV media, again making the governor look like an ill-tempered hothead.

Earlier this month, the governor launched a broadside attack against the state’s media while talking to a group of fishermen: “Buying a Maine daily newspaper is like paying someone to lie to you.”

The governor provided no examples and, when asked to supply some by the Bangor Daily News, his office did not respond.

Most recently, in response to his decision to remove murals from the state’s Department of Labor, the governor was asked how he would respond to people protesting his decision.

“I’d laugh at them, the idiots. That’s what I would do,” he said, according to a column in the Portland Press Herald.

Some speculate the governor is just a plain talker who “tells it like it is.”

But there are ways to talk plainly without calling people who disagree with you “idiots” or telling them to kiss your butt, comments that each caused late-night talk-show hosts to spotlight Maine's governor — and Maine — as a laughingstock.

A governor should be able to support his position with facts and without resorting to jokes about women growing “little beards.”

A capable governor should be able to face questions from the media without simply labeling newspaper reporters liars.

A governor must be able to control his temper and his tongue even in the face of frustrating opposition.

An effective governor should be able to win over or reassure his opponents without demeaning them.

But, most significantly, this governor must learn how to get Maine national attention for the good things that are happening here, rather than the foolish things he sometimes says.

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Jerome Young's picture

I am sorry Rex, that you feel

I am sorry Rex, that you feel the need to Pander. The BPA issue just showed the Gov is not an endocrinologist. How many people had to GOOGLE estrogen to get info to bash the Gov. Answer: probably all of them The real issue is that typical broad liberal BPA laws not only ban BPA in sippy cups but bans BPA from ALL other non-ingested products as well. You never know, I caught three corporate people trying to spread BPA on my butter in the frig today. The NAACP "inferred" he was a racist. (they never SAY it, they say "there may be an issue") Not ONE media outlet has sent ANYBODY to go interview the Gov's son. If CUTLER or BALDACCI had an adopted, live in, just a friend we help, Jamaican son, the media would have been up for the interview BEFORE Cutler or Baldacci were elected. And we would have been rapsodized about Saint Eliot and Saint John of the order of Mama Baldacci's. Concerning the "go to hell comment" the media very pointedly left out that he was talking to fisherman being blamed (and put out of business) for their lack of conservation skills when our federal gov't is letting our largest DEBT holders SCRAPE the ocean floor, and vaccuum every living thing in their paths. The murals in the Labor Dept. blatantly show ONLY a stark and BRIEF history of Maine Workers. And even that protrayal....was...wrong and dark. And, no evidence in the murals of the POSITIVE contribution of Maine s working people, which in some cases....changed WORLD history. Literally. Right here in good old Lewiston. The person who painted those, needs medication.
So, from what I can see, the Gov is justified in describing our media as being less than truthfull. We "hired" him because he has extensive experience in private industry and public service, NOT because he's a silver tongued devil. He's not. We've had enuff silver tongued devils whose only goals are to be elected and....make you FEEL good. That s not LePage. But...when speaking to financial issues, he shines. IF anything, the Gov has been VERY compassionate. The changes he's making are gradual so everybody can adjust. This is NOT a joke, we are over 12 billion in debt, there is no more money. And, I hate to tell ya this Rex, we are not even a blip in or on the national consciousness. Most, in our country, don't even know where Maine is.

Joan Braun's picture

Thank you Rex!

and thank you for signing it. A kind of schizophrenia is going on at the Sun Journal, where totally opposite views are all signed the same way, saying they "reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board." Without much difficulty one can see that the unsigned ones most likely reflect the ownership and one or two of the editorial board members. The signed ones reflect the old Sun Journal, the ones we could count on for seeing through hypocrisy and being true journalists.

The unsigned ones are especially hypocritical in light of your new policy of "no anonymous posting" and the cumbersome process of "verification" one must go through to even be allowed to post. Like the floated idea of photo ID for voting, it is another way to cut down on free speech.

And your long list of the standards of politeness for the comments, with which I agree, is not honored by the owners and editors who applaud the actions of a Governor who unapolegetically uses foul language. The word : Honorable" should not precede his name.


Everything you say is true

And, nothing you or anyone else says will change LePage because he'd have to stop being arrogant - a radical personality change. To him , and a very loud minority, he is Paul LePage and that makes him right.

Were I a businessman in Boston, Chicago, LA or New York, I'd see the editorials in the NYT, hear the jokes from the late night guys and look for a state being run by mature adults.

Doreen Sheive's picture

lePage's comment

LePage's comments are not only insensitive, they are unintelligent. He not only looks like a bully, but also close minded and ignorant. We have a beautiful state with willing businesses and friendly people, however, none of that will matter. People will not come to our state so long as there is a Governor who doesn't care if they come or not. A Governor who does not welcome all to our state, is a Governor who will not bring businesses to our state no matter how many environmental laws he is willing to destroy. He can bend over backwards to businesses, however, it will do no good because no business wants to be in a state where they can't do business. For too long, many of us have lived here because it is a beautiful state. However, it is not citizen friendly to the regular people and families. And, LePage is trying to make it less so. We will leave and what you will have left is second home owners. Businesses will not be here because there will be no workers. And the fact that LePage doesn't realize this fact is astonishing.

Sadie Roberts's picture

lepage is the IDIOT. i have

lepage is the IDIOT. i have 2 sisters who at first thought he was going to be good for us, HA! they now hate him. i told them he was going to be trouble and he sure is. he's never going to serve a second term. get him out of here!!!!!

Jason Theriault's picture

LePage is a jerk

"Plain talking" is a crock. While I appreciate that he isn't bsing me, however, he completely ticks me off with how little he values the other side.

I may be opinionated, but at least I know that I might be wrong, and to consider the other side's argument. It's like compromise is a dirty word or something.

Jeffrey Benedict's picture

I told you so!

I told you he was going to do this before the election. But no nobody would listen to me.
They all followed Bob Stone and his friends to elect a buffoon.

Jeffrey Benedict's picture

I told you so!

I told you he was going to do this before the election. But no nobody would listen to me.
They all followed Bob Stone and his friends to elect a buffoon.

Terry Donald's picture

Well said.

But you are overstating the obvious here. While LePage's comments may seem humerous and indicative of some kind of machismo, it has grown increasingly tiring for many Mainers, most I would say have had enough.
Even as I peruse the pages of the Journal's op/ed section I notice far far fewer defenders of the LePage attitude. Are even the die hard LePage supporters growing weary of his schtick? I suspect so. His words and actions started by angering just small groups, welfare recipients and liberals were his campaign targets. Now he has widened his scope to include the NAACP, teachers and other state employees, union workers, and the art community. When will it end? Perhaps the Governer may some day allow his highly paid daughter to read the paper to him, and he'll figure this all out. We're tired of it, tired of being criticized, tired of people yelled at, tired of being blamed, tired of having things taken from us.

Mark Elliott's picture




This sounds like excusing a child's bad behavior by saying, "He wasn't the only one." At issue in this editorial is a governor who is tarnishing his state, our state, with bad behavior.

Mark Elliott's picture

Yes, I am playing the very

Yes, I am playing the very same childish game liberals have been playing with us for the last two years............I figure, if you can't beat em, join em!

Mark Elliott's picture

Yes, I am playing the very

Yes, I am playing the very same childish game liberals have been playing with us for the last two years............I figure, if you can't beat em, join em!

Mark Elliott's picture


Mark Elliott's picture


RONALD RIML's picture

The Trifecta of Desperation, Mark??

You pulled them off the shelf with that long trunk of yours...........

Mark Elliott's picture

There are two ways to obtain

There are two ways to obtain data, pull existing factual data off the shelf, or make it up on your own. Since I am a conservative, I chose to use REAL data............

Ron you are overlooking the fact that if your messiah hadn't made his share of stupid comments, those videos wouldn't even exist! He and the growth that follows him around have two years of stupid comments all recorded......shall we start discussing those too??

RONALD RIML's picture

So you'll never again criticize for changing the subject of a


I've really got to see this.

Mark Elliott's picture

I wasn't changing the

I wasn't changing the subject, I was merely showing you the prime examples our 50 governors have to live liberals don't seem to mind the idiotic crap that comes out of their mouths though do you. Just a subtle way of pointing out the hipocrisy we see from democrats each and every day.

RONALD RIML's picture

Any chance they learned that from Bush????

How many videos and quotes do you want of him??

This game can be played 24/7 while LePage ruins Maine. But that's your intent Mark.

Mark Elliott's picture

LePage isn't the one beating

LePage isn't the one beating the dead horse on this issue. If it weren't for the liberal media pounding this story into our heads day in and day out with absolutely no real new information Maine's "image" wouldn't be affected at all............if you actually pay attention with an open mind, remove the blinders and take the cotton out of your ears, you'd know there are lots of people all over the country also rooting for him! But I don't expect you to see or hear that because like most liberals, you just don't want to know about it........

Mark Elliott's picture

but the little buggers have

but the little buggers have an insatiable appetite!!

Yes, I remember liberal rule #1: debate, debate, debate and when you realize you are losing throw in an insult or personal attack and get the hell out as fast as you can! They don't want to know there is another side to the issues.


Joel Cook's picture

"I don't care....

Obama is awesome!"
Hypocrisy is a left wing way of life.... Saul Alinsky would be proud.

AL PELLETIER's picture

@$#&* Liberal)*%#@


RONALD RIML's picture

Any chance they learned that from Bush????

How many videos and quotes do you want of him??

This game can be played 24/7 while LePage ruins Maine. But that's your intent Mark.


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