Category Archives: Columns

Newspaper columns, Bangor Daily News

Fiddling with figures doesn’t add jobs to Maine’s economy

In an odd convergence, 2012 presidential election polls and Gov. Paul LePage’s view of Social Security, “welfare” and the Maine economy now have something in common. Some of Mitt Romney’s supporters in 2012 embarked on an effort to establish that President Obama wasn’t really ahead. In the most outlandish example, one supporter set up, […]

LePage’s meetings with extremists make Buckley and Smith spin in their graves

Decades ago William F. Buckley and Margaret Chase Smith drew a bright line between legitimate conservatism and the extremist right. Speaking out against Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, in 1950 Smith proclaimed, “As a Republican, I say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that the Republican Party faces a challenge today that is […]

Gary Alexander brings trouble with a capital “T”

When “Professor” Harold Hill stepped off the train in a small Midwest town, he diagnosed debilitating problems. In the musical “The Music Man,” Hill said he saw danger lurking, exhorting townspeople, “Ladies and gentlemen, either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of […]

Why the attempt to delegitimize the Maine People’s Alliance?

In the last few weeks, in newspaper columns and press releases, pundits and Republican Party staffers have been harshly critical of the Maine People’s Alliance (MPA), calling it “extremist” and a “radical liberal organization.” Yet 10 months ago, a Republican strategist offered the group a sort of admiration. Writing about the lack of organization on […]

How the Everest avalanche can remind us of government’s potential to do good

Doing their jobs at high, high altitude, they had no warning of the avalanche before tons of snow hurtled down and literally tore limbs from bodies. On Mount Everest, at least 13 were killed when snow above them let loose. Now the Sherpas, on whose skills and sweat wealthy adventurers rely, are considering a strike. […]

In LePage’s Maine, little trust in state government

Somewhere out there are 30 Mainers who told someone from the Gallup poll that they trust Maine state government “a great deal.” That works out to about 5 percent of the 601 people the organization polled. You have to wonder what those very trusting 30 people would say to the rest of us. Admittedly, though, […]

If you think potholes are bad this winter, you can thank LePage’s bond policies

On the main streets and the side streets, potholes are everywhere, competing with frost heaves for our attention. If we don’t pay heed, don’t look at the holes’ width, texture and — most of all for our cars’ tires and suspension — depth, damage will be done. And then we’ll pay the price, benefiting only […]

What it takes to be pro-family in an age of rising inequality

Anyone remember the 1980s and 1990s, when social conservatives called themselves “pro-family” and complained that women spent too much time in the workplace? If you are as old as I am — or older (ahem) — you likely recall those decades’ manifestations of the culture wars. Truth be told, many American moms never fit the […]