Must fight the urge to write – once again! – about Paul LePage’s idiocy. Must resist the compulsion to pile more derision on Maine’s beleaguered Republican governor and giant decaying puffball. Must turn my attention elsewhere, even if it hurts.
I’ll (gasp, wheeze) try.
But like the opioids imported into this state by Massachusetts and New York drug dealers of questionable ethnicity, making fun of LePage is horribly addictive. I can’t quit cold turkey. Instead, I’ll need the journalistic equivalent of methadone:
With the exception of LePage, no public figure in Maine elicits as toxic a reaction as the woman who co-founded the Burt’s Bees personal care product line, made millions of dollars when she sold the company, and since 2000, has devoted herself to acquiring thousands of forested acres east of Baxter State Park that she originally wanted to turn into a national park. Quimby alienated nearly all the locals by banning timber harvesting, hunting, fishing and snowmobiling on her properties. In an area that depended on forestry and outdoor recreation for its livelihood, she displayed a LePage-like propensity for saying the wrong thing. In Phyllis Austin’s excellent book “Queen Bee,” Quimby portrays herself as “an artist” and says anything that infringes on the “untouched natural landscape … is offensive.”
Translation: You blue-collar schmoes can kiss your jobs goodbye.
Unlike LePage, Quimby kinda, sorta recognizes her shortcomings. She recently told the Bangor Daily News she handed off the leadership role in the campaign to gain federal protection for the 87,000 acres of land to her son, Lucas St. Clair, because she finally realized she lacked the necessary political instincts. “I don’t have the social skill,” she said. “Given my background in business, I just didn’t have the patience for it. I’m used to being the boss.”
You could almost imagine LePage saying something similar – if he had a trace of self-awareness. And, possibly, a slightly lower blood-alcohol level.
Oops, sorry. Had a little relapse there. Checking myself into rehab as soon as I churn out another 350 words.
Back to Quimby. Late last month, she transferred ownership of her land to the federal government. Shortly thereafter, President Obama declared the vast tract the Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument, because it contains both woods and water, and from some parts of it, you can see Mount Katahdin. The National Park Service assumed control of the property and announced that hunters, fishers and snowmobilers would be allowed in certain areas.
None of this should have been a surprise. The possibility of presidential action has been considered likely for the better part of two years, with the only question being whether Obama would act before the November election or after. Opponents and skeptics (count me among the latter) have had adequate time to adjust their thinking to the new reality, however unpleasant they might find it.
Except a lot of them didn’t (don’t count me among those wingnuts). Like the anti-LePage mob (you know, folks like me), they just couldn’t accept such an unpalatable option. They sputtered on about how the feds had usurped local control, how the process lacked transparency, how nobody was considering the feelings of nearby residents (both of them). What they weren’t saying, but they were thinking, was that a national monument wasn’t going to mesh well with their secret plan for economic recovery.
Which consists almost entirely of wishful thinking about reviving the paper industry.
Which, in spite of my wife’s insistence on printing out every single document she deals with in her professional and personal life, isn’t going to happen. We’re probably only a couple years away from digital toilet paper, and then it will really hit the fan.
It’s time for the anti-monument crowd to admit defeat, and quit their petty protests, such as trying to get a park service information desk thrown out of the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum. You may not like Quimby (me, too), but she won and you lost. Get over it and move on. Find something else to gripe about.
Wait. My hands are shaking. I’m breaking out in a cold sweat. This Quimby substitute isn’t working. I need a big hit of LePage.
Quick, governor, say something stupid.
I’ll read emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as I go into remission.