GOP Governor To Ex-Cons On SNAP: You Made A Mistake, Your Kids Should Starve

Republican Gov. Paul LePage wants to kick poor people off food stamps and welfare if they have drug-related felony convictions and also to expand a recently enacted drug testing program. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) | ASSOCIATED PRESS via HUFFINGTON POST


Maine Governor Paul LePage, notorious for holding the shiny object of poor-shaming in front of a base of ignorant rural constituents, has taken his attacks on the less fortunate to a new level.

A new bill introduced to committee in the Maine Legislature seeks to deny TANF and SNAP, better known as welfare and food stamps, to anyone with a felony drug conviction.

A father who was arrested at a college kegger in 1987 and charged with a felony cocaine possession would be automatically denied, even if that were the only trouble he had ever been in. His children would therefore be ineligible as well.

A recovering addict with 15 years of sobriety who falls on hard times is out of luck, and a single mom who was arrested along with her boyfriend because he was carrying drugs a decade ago can forget about any kind of assistance, which is often the pathway to furthering education or job training.

Don’t bother looking to have your mistake expunged, either. In Maine your only recourse is executive clemency, and this governor has made it clear that people with drug or DUI convictions can forget it.

The bill also comes with a drug-screening questionnaire. Applicants deemed “high risk” by their answers would then be subject to a drug test, even though such practices have always proved fruitless and costly.

LePage urged lawmakers to push the bill through so we can stop spending tax dollars on people displaying “reprehensible personal behavior.”

Poor-shaming has become a sporting event for Republicans; many won their seats in 2014 for doing nothing but. This particular bill goes beyond that. People who have been convicted of crimes and paid their debt to society, under the 5th Amendment, can’t be tried again. By holding them responsible months, years or decades later for the same crime raises a constitutional dilemma that has killed similar bills in the past.

The 8th Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment. Forcing a person, and quite likely their children, to go hungry regardless of the charge or how long ago it happened, is clearly another side-step of one of our most important human rights.

Let’s not forget that Governor LePage is also the man who wants to restrict SNAP recipients’ purchases, forbidding them from buying cookies for their kids or taxable “prepared foods,” which by state law includes deli meats in bulk and large jars of spaghetti sauce or pickles.

Make no mistake: This entire poor-hating campaign is nothing but the Mainer version of “keep em’ looking away while I give the money we’ll save to my rich buddies.”


Maine’s Madman Governor Paul LePage Strikes Again

The Daily Beast

Just 100 days into Gov. Paul LePage’s Tea Party-fueled administration, his fellow Republicans are fighting back, defeating his push to bring back toxic baby bottles. Now Maine faces a choice between the Republicanism of moderate Olympia Snowe or the more bellicose LePage, reports Colin Woodard.

After November’s election, Maine Republicans had reason to feel heady. Their candidate, Tea Party-backed conservative Paul LePage, was headed to the governor’s mansion in Augusta, where the GOP had won a majority in both legislative chambers for the first time in nearly half a century.

But a hundred days into his administration, Gov. LePage has managed to alienate legislators, invigorate his opponents, and generate more negative national press attention than any Maine politician since James G. Blaine, who retired from the U.S. Senate in 1881. On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he told the NAACP to “kiss my butt.”   He defended a campaign to lift a ban on the endocrine disruptor bisphenol-A in baby bottles by joking that the worst thing that could happen is “some women may have little beards.” Then he had a mural illustrating the history of Maine’s labor movement taken out of a Department of Labor waiting room after an anonymous letter compared it to murals in North Korea aimed at “brainwashing the masses.” The removal triggered large protests by artists and union members, and a possible federal Department of Labor fine in excess of $60,000, for breaching the terms of a grant that helped cover the mural’s purchase, and widespread editorial condemnation, with the Bangor Daily News describing the act as “straight out of Orwell’s world.”

“Gov. LePage has spent the early days of his administration seeking out third-rail issues,” says Ron Schmidt Jr., chairman of the University of Southern Maine’s political science department. “In traditional political math, he should be trying to grow his base”—LePage won by 1 point, with 38 percent of the vote—“but things like the mural could even erode his base.”

The central question in Maine politics has been whether Republican lawmakers would stand by LePage’s more contentious proposals, such as rolling back all environmental laws to match laxer federal standards. Recently it has become clear that many of them are frustrated with the governor, and that the feeling is mutual. On Monday, eight of 20 Republican state senators criticized the governor’s often bellicose behavior in an op-ed published by the state’s largest newspaper chain. The next day, LePage’s bisphenol-A initiative was rejected 35-0 in the state senate, after a 145-3 defeat in the House.

Continue here…

The Morning After: GOP wins control of House – Dems retain control of Senate

The good news in a sea of bad news is that Sharron Angle (Nevada) and Christine McDonnell (Delaware) were defeated.   Barney Frank (Mass) held on by a thread.  Unfortunately, two true fighters for the Dems did not survive the GOP wave, Russ Feingold (Wisconsin) and Alan Grayson (Florida).

Huffington Post

Key races in the 50 states:

ALABAMA – Republican Sen. Richard Shelby cruised to a fifth term in heavily Republican state. Republican Robert Bentley elected in gubernatorial race

ALASKA – Sen. Lisa Murkowski in unpredictable write-in campaign after losing GOP primary in tea party revolt. Republican Sean Parnell wins for governor.

ARIZONA – Sen. John McCain coasted to fifth term after tough GOP primary. Gov. Jan Brewer won re-election. At least two House Democrats turned out of office.

ARKANSAS – Two-term Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln lost to Rep. John Boozman. GOP picked up two seats.

CALIFORNIA – Former Gov. Jerry Brown defeated Republican Meg Whitman. Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer defeated Carly Fiorina.

COLORADO – Sen. Michael Bennet and tea party-backed Republican Ken Buck in close race. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, elected governor. GOP picked up at least one House seat.

CONNECTICUT – Competitive governor’s race between Democrat Dan Malloy and Republican Tom Foley. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal defeated GOP candidate Linda McMahon for Senate.

DELAWARE – GOP candidate Christine O’Donnell never got traction in Senate race, and lost to Democrat Chris Coons. Democrats capitalized on rare pickup opportunity in House with John Carney’s victory.

FLORIDA – Marco Rubio coasted to Senate win for GOP. Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott in fierce governor’s race. GOP picked up four House seats.

GEORGIA – Republicans won governor’s race (former Rep. Nathan Deal) and Senate race (Johnny Isakson), and knocked off at least one House Democrat.

HAWAII – Neil Abercrombie regained the governorship for Democrats. Eight-term Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye won another won another term.

IDAHO – Republican C.L. “Butch” Otter re-elected governor. Republican Sen. Mike Crapo cruised to re-election in Senate.

ILLINOIS – Republicans won Senate seat and picked up three House seats in Obama’s home state, while making play for governor. Real race is 2011 Chicago mayoral election.

INDIANA – Former GOP Sen. Dan Coats won election. Republicans pick up two seats from Democrats.

IOWA – Former Gov. Terry Branstad defeated Democratic Gov. Chet Culver. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley coasted to new term.

KANSAS – Republican Sen. Sam Brownback won governor’s race. GOP Rep. Jerry Moran won Senate seat. Republicans also won an all four House seats, including open seat held by a retiring Democrat.

KENTUCKY – Tea party favorite Rand Paul won Senate race.

LOUISIANA – GOP David Vitter won re-election, after saying wife, family, God and voters forgive him in sex scandal. GOP Rep. Joseph Cao lost re-election bid, but Republicans won open Democratic House seat.

MAINE – Tea party favorite Paul LePage was in a competitive governor’s race.

MARYLAND – Gov. Martin O’Malley won re-election after stiff challenge from ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich. Sen. Barbara Mikulski won fifth term. Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil lost re-election bid.

MASSACHUSETTS – Gov. Deval Patrick won re-election in Democratic-leaning state. Rep. Barney Frank won re-election in tougher-than-expected campaign, and Democrats kept an open Democratic House seat.

MICHIGAN – Rick Snyder won governor’s race, returning office to GOP hands. Republicans win three open seats.

MINNESOTA – Former Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton making bid for governor.

MISSISSIPPI – Republicans defeated Democratic Reps. Travis Childers and Gene Taylor in GOP-leaning state.

MISSOURI – GOP Rep. Roy Blunt coasted to Senate victory. Veteran Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton lost bid for new term.

MONTANA – GOP Rep. Dennis Rehberg coasted to new term in possible tune-up for 2012 Senate race.

NEBRASKA – GOP Gov. Dave Heineman won new term in heavily Republican state.

NEVADA – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won hotly contested re-election race in state with 14.4 percent joblessness.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Democratic Gov. John Lynch won fourth term. Republican Kelly Ayotte won Senate race in first run for office. Democrats lost two House seats.

NEW JERSEY – GOP knocked off Rep. John Adler in state where Democrats lost governor’s office a year ago in early sign of voter anger.

NEW MEXICO_ GOP prosecutor Susana Martinez won governor’s race against Diane Denish. GOP picked up one Democratic House seat.

NEW YORK – Democrat Andrew Cuomo won governor’s race. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand won re-election to Senate from Democratic state. GOP claimed vacant House seat, and picked up four other seats from incumbent Democrats.

NORTH CAROLINA – GOP Sen. Richard Burr cruised to re-election. Republicans picked up Democratic seat.

NORTH DAKOTA – GOP Gov. John Hoeven won Senate seat now held by retiring Democrat. Veteran Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy lost re-election.

OHIO – Former GOP Rep. John Kasich defeated Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland; Rob Portman won Senate seat for GOP. Five Democratic U.S. House members were ousted by Republican challengers.

OKLAHOMA – GOP Rep. Mary Fallin won governor’s race while Tom Coburn coasted to re-election to Senate.

OREGON – Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden won re-election. Ex-Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber and ex-pro basketballer Chris Dudley in close gubernatorial race.

PENNSYLVANIA – GOP wins races for Senate and governor in classic swing state. Republicans take control of congressional delegation for first time since 2006.

RHODE ISLAND – Republican-turned-independent Lincoln Chafee won governorship his father once held.

SOUTH CAROLINA – Tea party favorite Nikki Haley won gubernatorial race. GOP Sen. Jim DeMint coasted to victory. Veteran Democratic Rep. John Spratt lost re-election.

SOUTH DAKOTA – GOP Sen. John Thune won re-election. Prelude to presidential race? Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin lost re-election bid.

TENNESSEE – Republican Bill Haslam picks up governor’s seat for Republicans. GOP takes three Democratic seats.

TEXAS – GOP Gov. Rick Perry defeated Bill White for new term. Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards lost re-election bid.

UTAH – Republican Mike Lee won Senate race after tea party jettisoned GOP Sen. Bob Bennett last spring. GOP Gov. Gary Herbert won new term.

VERMONT – Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy won six more years in seat he first won in 1974. Tight governor’s race.

VIRGINIA – Republicans knocked off three Democratic House members, including Tom Perriello, whom Obama campaigned for late in the race.

WASHINGTON – Three-term Democratic Sen. Patty Murray leading in Democratic-leaning state against Republican Dino Rossi. GOP won open House Democratic seat.

WEST VIRGINIA – Gov. Joe Manchin defeated Republican John Raese to fill out the term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd.

WISCONSIN – Three-term Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold lost race to Republican challenger Ron Johnson. GOP won governor’s race. Republicans defeated Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen, and GOP won an open Democratic seat, giving Republicans a majority of delegation for first time in 14 years.

WYOMING – Governor’s office returned to Republican control with two-term Democrat retiring.