Shockwaves are still rippling through Maine politics a day after news broke that State House Speaker Mark Eves lost his job at Good Will-Hinckley, with the Maine Democrats coming out full guns blazing with cannons full of rhetoric. Democratic Chair Phil Bartlett even stated his position very clear on Twitter when he stated that it was pure and simply abuse of power by Governor Paul LePage.
Great. What’s your move?
Speaker Eves is no doubt preparing for legal war after claiming that the Governor is guilty of blackmail. But lawsuits take a lot of time. If Governor LePage is seriously guilty of abuse of power and blackmail, then he shouldn’t simply be left alone to continue on in office. That would leave Democratic leaders negligent of their own duties as legislators.
Of course, there’s always the possibility this is just all heated rhetoric after one of their own got taken down by the Governor’s wrath. There’s always partisan politics in play.
Maine Democrats and legislative leaders need to seriously approach the situation. If these significant charges are true, then more is at stake than just Speaker Eves’ job. The implication here is a major problem with the state government, which by definition would be run by a tyrant.
Various checks and balances exist in the law to protect the integrity of government. This integrity does not preserve itself and balances do not check themselves. These legal tools are just that, and still require use by legislators who hold a respect for the job they were elected to serve.
Of these checks and balances is Impeachment, which allows the Legislature to preserve the integrity of government by coming together to remove parts of government that violate it’s integrity. By refusing to remove someone guilty of abuse of power and blackmail, Democrats become just ad guilty as Governor LePage in destroying the integrity of government.
Impeachment, even with a divided Legislature, is not entirely impossible. The Senate, while Republican, has been the victim of relentless bullying by Governor LePage that even saw him sending his daughter to do his dirty work. They’re not in a position to protect the Governor because he’s the Republican Governor at this point.
Even if they were, one would hope Republican leaders would share similar concerns. If they didn’t, it’s time to call the Democrats on their rhetoric. A lack of action by Democrats implies they’re not serious about the things they say. That’s reckless and disingenuous.
We’re living a tense moment in Maine government and politics. The question is, what are Maine Democrats and legislative leaders going to do about it? Will they keep just running their mouths or will they actually do something about a serious situation?
Time will tell.