Portland, Maine – Colin Woodard’s fascinating investigative profile of Maine’s governor, written for The Portland Phoenix, explains how an improbable candidate and the Tea Party movement combined to win Paul LePage state-wide office. “[Paul] LePage’s actions in his first year in office suggest that his poverty-to-power experience has led him to see the world from the top down, and that helping the poor is best done by helping those who employ them and by withdrawing support that might tempt them to depend on others, rather than by working hard and earning the attention of benefactors. His journey through the decline and collapse of Maine’s old industrial economy appear to have taught him that environmental and labor protections kill jobs.
“His years in Waterville politics led him to believe he could get his way as governor by intimidating opponents with blistering, unconsidered public pronouncements, a notion he has only partially disabused himself of. ‘I have made a small adjustment in my ten two-letter words,’ the governor said last summer. ‘Now instead of saying: if it is to be, it is up to me, now I say: if it is to be, it is up to us.’ Time will tell if, having reached the top, the governor can follow through on this adjustment.”