This is the true face of today’s Republican Party. It is the face of Paul LePage, the widely loathed governor of Maine. You will read that he is an outlier, a Tea Party extremist, who belongs on the fringes of American politics. But I think there’s more to it than that. I think he is really the kind of human being that the majority of today’s Republicans demand the right to be.
The rest of us have long accepted certain boundaries to our behavior. To live in a civilized society, we acknowledge that other people have rights and that we should respect those rights. We acknowledge that we should share good fortune and “walk a mile in the other guy’s shoes.” We feel guilty if we cheat or lie or steal or take advantage of our job (or whatever) to treat others unfairly.
But people like this LePage character accept no such restrictions. They demand the right to be mean spirited bullies who splash mud on the less fortunate lying in the gutter as they drive by in their limousines. While the rest of us cringe at the prospect of being offensive, they proclaim they will be as offensive as they want to be. And if they happen to belong to a privileged ethnic group, why that’s their good luck and it sucks to be you.
After all, isn’t this the Land of the Free? So why shouldn’t they be free to be repugnant?
Most Republican politicians aren’t as brash as Paul LePage. They know American voters would shun them if they showed their true colors. So they use “spin” to mask the ugliness of their policies and goals.
Of course there are also laws to consider. Laws that were designed to curb abuse by those in authority. And LePage is in trouble with those laws. He is on the verge of being impeached for withholding government funds from a school for disadvantaged children in retaliation for the school hiring one of his political opponents.
What other prominent Republican does that remind you of. Chris Christie of course. Remember Bridgegate?
Yes, Christie and his minions were not above using their political clout to punish a mayor who refused to support his candidacy for governor of New Jersey. And Christie is also a blustering bully who hurls insults with abandon. Naturally, LePage was the first to endorse Christie’s presidential candidacy.
You might think Christie and LePage are exceptions, that good ole Jeb, for example, is more representative of the party’s true character. But I have news for you. I know Jeb. He is no Dudley Doright. He can be mean spirited, too. He just knows how to put a better face on it.
And how do you explain Donald Trump? Scott Walker? Ted Cruz? You wouldn’t call any of them Mr. Nice Guy, would you?
No, if there is one characteristic that distinguishes the modern Republican Party it’s sheer, unashamed ugliness.
A vote for any of them is a vote for all that is ugliest in human nature.