Category Archives: Column

Political parties are destroying public policy in Maine

  Political parties are meant to help win elections. By providing their extensive behind-the-scenes networks, parties lend their infrastructure to their chosen candidates to bolster their chances of getting elected. In this way, parties can be very effective. In fact, the parties have been so effective in providing electoral infrastructure that they’ve locked our nation […]

From cigars to chicken wings, an election is an experience like no other

People who work on campaigns experience November much differently than the rest of the world. As election day approaches, we tend to be low on sleep and high on passion, and by this point, fairly convinced that the fate of the free world depends on our efforts. From Labor Day through the month of October, […]

Opposing Medicaid expansion is not a conservative position

Gov. Paul LePage’s opposition to Medicaid expansion is one of the most destructive acts of his tenure in office — denying healthcare to 70,000 low-income Mainers purely out of spite. And it’s predicated on a series of logical fallacies that should make his allegedly conservative followers cringe with embarrassment. Here’s the most obvious one: If […]

Democrats could have demanded accountability at DHHS. They caved instead.

Maine Democrats had an opportunity to start correcting a grievous wrong last week. A federal report showed Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services failed to investigate more than 15,000 suspected cases of abuse, neglect, and medication error within the state’s Adult Protective Services (APS) division, including the deaths of 133 developmentally disabled adults. Acting […]

Shawn Moody: Expedient Republican

Shawn Moody considers himself an independent, but he’s joining the Republican Party anyway. “Looking at it from a realistic standpoint, there is not an independent party in Maine,” Moody told the Portland Press Herald. “It turned out to be a handicap in 2010. I didn’t have a political party to support me.” That’s a heck […]

Money stands in the way of fixing the mass shooting problem

A gunman murdered 58 people in Las Vegas last week. Another horrible tragedy, another senseless body count, and another collective shoulder-shrug about how to end this madness. As another BDN columnist, Matthew Gagnon, said in the aftermath, “there is very little, if anything, we can really do to stop it.” If it strikes you as […]

On health care, LePage is out of his league

In 1969, a University of Southern California professor named Laurence Peter authored the concept, commonly referred to as “The Peter Principle,” that describes the experience of many promising, upwardly-mobile workers who end up promoted beyond their abilities — promoted to the level of their own incompetence. As we watch our governor, Paul LePage, inject himself […]

How not to lobby Susan Collins

If you want to influence Susan Collins on a key vote, the last person you’d enlist to help is Gov. Paul LePage. But that’s exactly what the Trump administration did when they flew Maine’s governor to Washington for a press conference on Friday. Looking like a nervous kid waiting in the principal’s office after spray […]

Poverty isn’t eliminated by threatening the poor

In his book Madness and Civilization, the French philosopher Michel Foucault describes the historical arc of social integration of those considered insane. At times, humans have driven the “mad,” as Foucault described them, into hidden institutional recesses. At other times, cultures kept the “mad” in plain sight, not accepting their actions or mental states as […]

Think Trump is bad? Meet Kid Rock

  If you’re one of those cultural Luddites who still yearns for dignity in American politics, the Trump era has been a nightmare. Our 45th president ran and won as a lewd demagogue with an out-of-control inferiority complex, and his tenure as chief executive continues to lower the bar for public discourse, week after painful […]