LePage lowers rhetorical heat close to Palinesque level

After comparing the IRS and the Affordable Care Act to the Gestapo and the Holocaust several times, Governor Paul LePage has apologized.

To be sure, this apology is welcome.

However, his written release still includes outlandish statements about the impact and scope of the Affordable Care Act.

Take a look at this part of the formal statement that’s nestled in the apology:

I want to make this very clear; it was never my intent to insult or to be hurtful to anyone, but rather express what can happen by overreaching government. I fear we have a federal government that is moving toward a socialistic state and we must not forget history because if we do we are bound to repeat it.

The clear implication is that the past he invoked — the Nazi state — is a part of history we “must not forget because if we do we are bound to repeat it” — and the health care reform law could be an instance that leads us down that horrific path. (There may also be some confusion between Nazism and socialism.)

LePage continues to present the Affordable Care Act — which is based on the plan developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation, has a model developed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now implemented in another New England state, and uses a mix of public and private insurance – as highly dangerous.

Again, this is the model that Republicans championed for a number of years.  Yet now it is part of “moving toward a socialistic state”?

Toward the end, LePage says:

If Obamacare is implemented no longer will we be known as the country where one is afforded the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Are people in Massachusetts without life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Actually, they are quite pleased with their health system, under which over 98% of the population has insurance.

Well, at least now the Governor is not saying that, like with the Nazis, people may be killed or interned. Instead, we have something a lot closer to Palinisque rhetoric — along the lines of her comment after the Affordable Care was upheld: “Freedom dies.”

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.