“Enough is enough!” — Robert Macdonald.

Why would a Democrat from Auburn quote a Republican mayor from Lewiston? Because it is long past time both parties grew up and stop with the “gotcha” politics.

Recently, attacks have been laid against Republican Sen. Michael Willette by Democratic Party officials. Personal attacks and hit pieces, all because of a joke on Facebook, have no place in politics. Why do we care what meme someone reposts on Facebook? Calls for resignation are nothing short of absurd. I know because I have been on the opposite end of the firing line by the Republican machinery.

Maine has a part-time Legislature with very little financial incentive for membership. Do citizen legislators really need to be run down in that manner?

Ultimately, the effect that those vicious attacks have is not to change policy or to even contribute to serious policy debate in Augusta; rather, such attacks serve to make people uneasy about serving in politics. Then, the entire Legislature will be in the hands of scared people who never take risks and never have an original thought of their own. Then, the leadership can control the agenda rather than have healthy debate.

I served two terms with Michael Willette. In his first term he was a Democrat and he was considered great. Suddenly, even though Willette’s positions and humor did not change, he was the enemy.

Really?

For some history, the hit piece that started the media avalanche against Sen. Willette was written by Mike Tipping, who, is an employee of the Maine People’s Alliance. Tipping is also the man behind the mailer last year calling Rep. Dale Crafts “spineless” and afraid to “stand up” to the governor. Rep. Crafts, of Lisbon, another fine Republican who — though I hardly ever voted with — is one of the best and bravest men I know. He is also in a wheelchair.

Now while I mostly agree with the progressive agenda of the MPA, I disagree with their strategy. Their scorched-earth philosophy of “hate Republicans at all costs” is only damaging to the Democratic party. Democrats should not be winning through hate; we need to win through policy and debate. That is the purpose of government.

But the buck doesn’t stop there. If only the public understood there are full-time state employees who are called partisan communication staffers. Their job is to take advantage of and publicly attempt to humiliate legislators from the opposite party. Add to this list the people getting paid by the political parties and special interest groups to do the same and it’s a wonder why most people don’t tune in to politics.

Legislators are people. They get frustrated. They blow off steam. They make mistakes. That is no reason to destroy a legislator’s reputation and livelihood and embarrass their families. Republican pitbulls called for my resignation last year over an angry private email I sent about truckers. The press extensively reported on it and, at the time, it seemed like the end of the world to me. Yet this past November, I received more votes in Androscoggin County than any Democratic candidate in the county. When I saw the chairman of the Democratic Party calling for Sen. Willette’s resignation, I called Willette to tell him that it’s none of the chairman’s business. The flap was between him and the voters. I’ll bet he does well next November.

If we are truly going to change the political climate and get back to issues, someone needs to be the first to throw down. I am happy to be that person. It is time for the real leaders in both parties (not the ones with titles), to demand a higher standard of discourse from our party leadership.

Any coward can call out the opposition to score political points. If we want to truly make our country work again, real leaders need to step forward and call out our own side. Until then, nothing will change.

I am a proud Democrat and I believe in the Democratic Party principles, but until we stop with these childish hate-based politics, I will continue to be a vocal critic.

Enough is enough.

Brian Bolduc is a former state legislator representing Auburn and currently the Androscoggin County Register of Probate. He lives in Auburn.

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