LePage group and Democrats agree on Sen. Farnham and others. Bipartisanship lives!

Paul LePage’s political organization — People Before Politics — has issued merit and demerit badges, one of which designates a “Champion for the Maine People.”

This is a variation on a familiar practice.

Before elections, various political groups put out information about legislators. They inform people how these elected officials voted in the last session, with special attention to issues most important to the group. Usually one sees a list of bills, some explanation, and a tally, perhaps with an overall percentage.

Gov. LePage’s political organization has done that, but with one special twist:

It’s issued titles and accompanying badges for those who agree with LePage a lot (80% support) and for those who disagree with LePage a lot (20% support).

Those who voted with LePage on issues he thought were especially important — such as voting for the bill that allows insurance companies more latitude in what they charge and how they operate and for supporting LePage’s veto of a research and development bond — get the round “Champion for the Maine People” badge, which sports a red checkmark on the Maine map.

But those who went against LePage on the key votes identified by his group, receive the somewhat ragged, semi-rectangular “Property of the Augusta Special Interest” badge.

I was wondering how Nichi Farnham, my state Senator, came out. She was one of the legislators the Maine Democratic party had called a “rubber stamp” for Governor LePage.

According to People Before Politics, she supported the core LePage agenda 85% of the time and so won that nice round badge.

My conclusion: Bipartisanship is not dead.

Both People Before Politics and the Maine Democratic Party agree —  Senator Farnham has supported the positions most important to Governor LePage.

And there’s bipartisan agreement on the others similarly designated by the Maine Democratic Party as LePage “rubber stamps” — Senators Thomas Martin, Garrett Mason, Chris Rector, and Lois Snowe-Mello — as they are also winners of the “champion” badge from People Before Politics.

Now, of course, there’s not bipartisan agreement on the labels, the wording on these badges.

Democrats don’t think supporting Gov. LePage makes one a “champion for the Maine people,” nor that opposing him means one is the “property of the Augusta special interests.” But they do agree with LePage’s political group that these state Senators strongly support LePage’s legislative agenda.

Isn’t it nice to find that bipartisanship lives?

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.