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Maine's Gov. Paul LePage May Be Dumbest in Nation's History

We've long regarded Maine's Republican Gov. Paul LePage as giving Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer a run for her money as the dumbest Governor in the nation, if not the dumbest in history.

But it appears that LePage has been making a real run for that latter title all along.

As early as 2011, we took notice just after LePage took office and immediately ordered the removal of a mural from the state's Dept. of Labor because it was too pro-uniony, or something. That and other "Tea Party"-ish behavior by the then new Governor resulted in a bunch of state Senators from his own party asking him, publicly, to tone it down a bit. "Were these isolated incidents, we would bite our collective tongues," the Republican lawmakers wrote in an op-ed at the time. "But, unfortunately, they are not isolated but frequent. Therefore, we feel we must speak out."

But that was just a taste for what was to come and what's been revealed about him this week...

You may also recall late last year when we highlighted the brain trust that is LePage as he was actually celebrating the melting Arctic, on the premise that it opened up the Northern Passage as a shipping lane for Maine --- despite the fact that global warming, in addition to threatening the entirety of human civilization in the not too distant future, is already posing more immediate dangers to Maine's maple syrup and shrimping industries, among others.

"Everybody looks at the negative effects of global warming, but with the ice melting, the Northern Passage has opened up," LePage explained, according to the Bangor Daily News at the time. "So maybe, instead of being at the end of the pipeline, we're now at the beginning of a new pipeline."

But our biggest clue about the guy, who is now running for re-election, probably should have come after his April 2013 claim that a new wind turbine at a Maine university --- one that had produced some 680,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean electricity in its first year (saving the school about $100,000, not to mention the reduction of dangerous CO2 output) --- actually had "a little electric motor that turns the blades."

"I’m serious," the Governor insisted during his remarks to the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce that month. "They have an electric motor so they can show people that wind power works. Unbelievable."

Well, now we may have an explanation --- of sorts --- for LePage's storied idiocy...or, at least his proud public display of same. According to the first chapter of journalist Mike Tipping's forthcoming book, As Maine Went: Governor Paul LePage and the Tea Party Takeover of Maine, until his own staff finally had to step in to put a stop to it, LePage had been meeting about once a month --- reportedly for several hours each time --- with a group of Rightwing "Sovereign Citizen" extremists and taking great interest, and even action, on their remarkable theories, legal and conspiratorial and otherwise.

While the Governor, according to Tipping, "was later forced to recant his accusation" about the wind turbine, "after his remarks made national news...He did not reveal the source of the false conspiracy theory." Tipping does so. On that relatively innocent, if highly illustrative, windmill conspiracy and much more that is far less innocent.

You've got to read the amazing full chapter, as published at Talking Points Memo this week, to fully appreciate the madness in play here, particularly for a public official of LePage's high office. But this follow-up article, reported by the Portland Press Herald in response to the piece, proves to be a pretty good teaser for it:

[LePage's press secretary, Adrienne] Bennett did not address why LePage met with the group eight times, why a county sheriff was asked to look into their demands or why the governor's legal staff was asked to draft an opinion of the group's claims that Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, should be arrested and executed.

Yes. It's that insane and more so. Tipping's piece is a detailed and extraordinary read, but well worth bookmarking for the long holiday weekend along and a nice tall pitcher of lemonade iced tea.

24 Comments on “Maine's Gov. Paul LePage May Be Dumbest in Nation's History”

  1. Bob said on 7/2/2014 @ 6:13 am PT...

    Maybe the "Founding Fathers" were wrong about a religious test for office....or maybe they thought it couldn't happen here...but, the FF's didn't say anything negative about getting a Certification of Sanity, before being able to file for elected office...

  2. California Girl said on 7/2/2014 @ 6:49 am PT...

    I live in NH and am continually surprised by the wild swings from Conservative to Liberal elected officials in Maine. How does a state that elected Angus King (D) Governor elect Paul Le Page. Oh. Right. Funding.

  3. maine woman said on 7/2/2014 @ 10:40 am PT...

    in reply to comment #2: Angus King was then and still is an Independent, NOT a Democrat.

  4. Adam said on 7/2/2014 @ 12:14 pm PT...

    Call me stupid, but I unreservedly hate wind energy because of the harm they do to bats and birds.

  5. David Lasagna said on 7/2/2014 @ 12:28 pm PT...

    Adam @4--This looks like a reasonable rebuttal to your harm to birds argument.

    http://science.howstuffw...d-turbine-kill-birds.htm

  6. Adam said on 7/2/2014 @ 1:32 pm PT...

    ... David Lasagna
    Oh, please, are you going to do the old act of presenting me with well-researched contrary facts? That's so intellectual (hork, spit!).

    Sometimes stirring things up and getting them out into the open is a good thing. That said, it would be fun to play out the Tea Party act, turn off reason and do the bouncy-rubber-skulled repeat-same-rebuttal thing as if absorbing nothing when it comes to facts. It is very effective in convincing large segments of the population.

  7. Steve Snyder aka WingnutSteve said on 7/2/2014 @ 8:11 pm PT...

    Of course they have a motor for turning the turbine. Remaining static for long periods of time during shutdown for maintenance, either corrective or preventative, or for periods of no wind, is damaging to the bearings which support the turbine. Although the adhesion properties of lubricating oil, especially with synthetic oils which I'm sure is used for this application, is designed to protect the equipment during cold starts gravity still works. The lubricant will eventually flow away from the area it's there to protect. The metal surfaces which are separated by the oil film will eventually come into contact with each other causing damage upon start. So, much like it's recommended that you should start your car every few weeks if it's not being used which gets the juices flowing so to speak, the same would apply to an electicity generating turbine. Unless you want to shimmy up the support structure to spin itby hand this would require a motor. He just doesn't understand what the motors purpose is....

  8. Steve Snyder aka WingnutSteve said on 7/2/2014 @ 8:27 pm PT...

    Could electricity be generated by turning the motor? Most likely as things such as operational testing, capacity testing, and trouble shooting will typically require electrical generation to occur. It can get expensive having the technical expert from GE sitting around waiting for the wind to blow. Perhaps that's where the guvnah got his ideas...

  9. Steve Snyder aka WingnutSteve said on 7/2/2014 @ 8:57 pm PT...

    So, while it may not be occuring in this situation, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the motor could be used to show how wind energy works to generate electricity. Which is what the guvnah suggested for which Brad states that he may be the dumbest ever. Which, for throwing stones at others when he clearly has no idea what he is talking about, may qualify Brad as the dumbest blogger ever.

  10. Jon in Iowa (in New Zealand) said on 7/3/2014 @ 12:13 am PT...

    Thanks, Steve. I usually have to go to the circus to see that kind of contortion.

  11. Steve Snyder aka WingnutSteve said on 7/3/2014 @ 12:39 pm PT...

    Truth = contortion. Disinformation = truth. I must be at the bradblog....

  12. zapkitty said on 7/3/2014 @ 10:11 pm PT...

    The LePage windmill stupidity is old news...

    ... but of course Steve knows that. What he seems to be desperately trying to distract us from are the new revelations of how just how insane LePage's associates can be and how his policy interactions with them took a distinctly murderous turn:

    "... or why the governor's legal staff was asked to draft an opinion of the group's claims that Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, should be arrested and executed."

  13. Steve Snyder aka WingnutSteve said on 7/4/2014 @ 8:48 am PT...

    Zap, I spoke to the point of which I have knowledge and experience, and the point which seems to make up the bulk of the essay's "proof" to support the claims made in the title.

    I have no knowledge of the other issue you say I am "distracting" from. The accusation comes from a "liberal activist" as described by the Portland Press Herald, and is supported by the left wing Talking Points Memo. I've heard of this nowhere else. Therefore I conclude that it's a ridiculous product of the left wing blogosphere and then faithfully picked up by Brad to promote as another conspiricy theory.

  14. A.J said on 7/4/2014 @ 1:38 pm PT...

    Your are an idioit. Bet your not running for governor. Nope

  15. Brad Friedman said on 7/4/2014 @ 1:48 pm PT...

    A.J nailed his point @ 14 with:

    Your are an idioit.

    Can hardly argue with that. Can hardly even read it. Well done, A.J!

  16. Jon in Iowa (in New Zealand) said on 7/4/2014 @ 8:51 pm PT...

    Says Steve at #11, "Truth = contortion."

    What truth? I'm no expert, but it made sense to me that, if they needed to spin the turbine's rotor to prevent it sagging, they would just use the generator itself as a motor. What little turns up in a quick Google search seems to confirm that. Everyone apart from LePage states that there is no motor in place just to make the turbine spin--and even he retracted the statement. So where's the truth?

    If the generator is used to turn the rotor, then it obviously can't generate power at the same time. If a separate electric motor (which, remember, exists only conceptually and only because LePage suggested it) were used to turn the rotor and thereby impel the generator, any engineer with ten minutes' training could see that it would incur a net loss. It would therefore demonstrate neither "how wind energy works to generate electricity" as Steve claims nor "that wind power works" as LePage claimed. So where's the truth?

    Making it all the more pitiful is that Steve squeezed himself into this little, illogical box solely to take a stab at Brad.

  17. Steve Snyder aka WingnutSteve said on 7/5/2014 @ 1:13 am PT...

    Generators do not drive turbines. Turbines drive generators. Generators do not turn on their own. They need a source to drive them. Like a turbine. Or a motor

  18. Jon in Iowa (in New Zealand) said on 7/5/2014 @ 2:25 am PT...

    Oh god, somebody please tell me he's joking.

  19. David Lasagna said on 7/7/2014 @ 1:36 pm PT...

    Jon in Iowa @18-

    With nonsense on stilts as high, self-righteous, and ad hominem as Steve's it's hard to know where he's coming from.

  20. Steve Snyder aka WingnutSteve said on 7/7/2014 @ 9:02 pm PT...

    I've got 31 years of experience with power generating turbines of all types. If the generator were able to drive itself on its own then there would be no need for the wind, or the water, or the natural gas, or the coal, or the nuclear reactor producing steam, or even for the internal combustion process within the portable generators folks have at their home. The only way for a generator to rotate without the mechanical drive source is if it were left connected to the electrical grid it supplies when the mechanical source is stopped. In other words ifthe steam turbine supplying a generator was stopped and the generator circuit breaker remained closed which completes the circuit to the electrical grid. The electricity from the power grid becomes the driver and turns the generator. However, it will turn the generator backwards which is a serious hazard to the generator and also to its mechanical source, e.g. the turbine, ifit's a direct drive unit. This can cause catastrophic failure of the generator and for that reason protective circuitry commonly known as reverse power relays are installed to protect it.

    So no, I'm not joking.

  21. deb shepherd said on 7/8/2014 @ 8:28 am PT...

    Reading the LaPage article..excellent, reading the comments were a hoot..With some of these posters I see now what a stooge like LaPage was elected..he is a rising star for the Koch Bros and the republicans..perhaps with many of the GOP stars who have tarnished themselves..LaPage may be a replacement...PLEASE..Course he will need to duke it out with Mittens..cause he is on the rise again in GOP distorted world view..Good Luck to Maine and hope the intelligent voters make it to the polls this year.

  22. Ernest A. Canning said on 7/8/2014 @ 10:15 am PT...

    Brad: The Talking Points memo links at the end of the piece don't work.

  23. Brad Friedman said on 7/8/2014 @ 12:32 pm PT...

    Which one(s), Ernie? Just tried most of them and they seemed to work fine.

  24. Ernest A. Canning said on 7/8/2014 @ 1:15 pm PT...

    Odd. When I used the "amazing full chapter, as published at Talking Points Memo" link before, I got a blank page with an apology from TPM.

    Works fine now, so whatever it was, it wasn't at your end, Brad.


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