By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
The election is over. Candidates in my party, the Republican Party, got their rear ends kicked so bad that they won’t be able to sit down until after the New Year.
But the Democrats did not beat us—the Republicans beat themselves.
Senator Olympia Snowe let our country, our state and those that believed in her down. I disagreed with her more than 50 percent of the time, but admired her for being a calming voice of reason. I believe that her decisions were carefully formulated after she examined all the facts. She appears to have done what was right, not what would get her reelected.
In her last months, she revealed a major flaw: she lost the will to fight. When the times get tough, the tough get going. They don’t throw up their hands and give up. We crave elected officials who, when they run into a brick wall, don’t throw up their hands in frustration. Instead, they take two steps back and figure out a way over it.
Senator Snowe knew and could define the problem, but she chose to walk away in frustration instead of figuring a way around it.
Now she has been replaced by a man in his seventies. He will arrive in Washington as a brand-new senator—a senator with no seniority and as an “independent” with no (wink, wink) party affiliation. Now that the national elections are over, his stock has diminished a bit with his former party, the Democrats, adding additional seats to their majority in the U.S. Senate.
What would really be interesting would be for newly elected Senator King to stand up, bang on the podium and announce, “If we don’t reach an agreement and pass this legislation, no one will be paid.” That surely would assure him a place in a closet where he could caucus with himself.
Then we have the Tea Party. Excuse me, I mean the “extreme” Tea Party. They are villanized as radicals because—just like you, the reader—they believe in a balanced budget, low taxes, patriotism, sensible moral values and building success and fortune through hard work, not entitlements.
However, many of them stayed home or cast a vote for candidates who were unknown to most of the general public and had no chance of winning. These voters clearly understood that this was a critical election. But like the spoiled little kid on the playground, they left with their marbles and refused to participate.
Finally, the Democrats’ best friends in this election were the spineless Republican legislators who rode Governor Paul LePage’s coattails to victory two years ago, then deserted him. Like him or hate him, Governor LePage is not afraid to confront and define issues. Unlike many of the cowering Republicans, Governor LePage is not afraid to stand in the middle of the schoolyard and confront the mean-spirited liberal bullies who taunt and vilify him.
As I write this column on Veterans’ Day weekend, I feel a renewed thankfulness that many of those who let Governor LePage down had no part in defending our freedom during various wars. If they had, we would probably be speaking German.
Lastly, we have the other victims of our massive Election Day defeat. These were the countless volunteers who daily flocked in droves to the Republican Headquarters on Sabattus Street in Lewiston. They put their hearts and souls into helping local candidates get elected.
It is a shame that their local effort fell short, not because of the quality possessed by their Democrat opponents, but because of the failure of follow-through by those Republicans who won a seat in Augusta by latching onto the coattails of Governor Paul LePage.
It’s clear the voters remembered their lack of action this November.
In last week’s column, my proofreading resembled the November 6 Republican election results: it fell short. I failed to detect the incorrect spelling of British General Douglas Haig’s last name. Haig is the General; Hague is a city. I also inadvertently extended WWI by a year. Called “The Great War” and “the war to end all wars,” it ended in 1918, not 1919.