Why Mainers aren’t laughing at John Oliver’s bit on LePage

As shareable links to the bit on Maine Gov. Paul LePage from HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver spread across social media like wildfire in the Pine Tree State, there hasn’t been much laughing.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Photo- Jonathan Ernst, Reuters.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Photo- Jonathan Ernst, Reuters.

The show, which airs weekly on Sunday nights, is a satirical take on political and social issues mixed in with comedy, and it’s typically very informative and entertaining.

But the piece on LePage, which aired last night, missed the mark with Mainers for two main reasons- we already know what an ignorant buffoon our governor is, and we no longer find anything that he does funny, because we’ve been subjected to the direct fallout from his disastrous tenure in the Blaine House.

LePage was featured in an ongoing segment that the show is doing, called “People Who Somehow Got Elected,” in which he was called out for just a few of the terrible things he’s said in the past several years, including his infamous “white girls” diatribe, his disgusting Vaseline reference, his attacks on foreigners and immigrants, and the time he suggested that Mainers should help to combat our state’s drug epidemic through vigilante justice by taking advantage of our constitutional carry laws and shooting the drug dealers ourselves.

Here’s the segment, which includes some offensive language (some of which comes from LePage’s own quotes):

With just a few minutes to devote to the segment, it’s understandable that the show wasn’t able to answer their own question, which is just how in the world LePage got elected- and then reelected- to the highest seat in Maine, because even though it’s easy to point to Independent Eliot Cutler for sucking votes away from Democrat Mike Michaud in the 2014 gubernatorial race, or to talk about how with ranked choice voting LePage never would have been elected in 2010 in the first place, the fact is that LePage is in office because he won, twice.

Just like Donald Trump is doing on a national scale right now, LePage preyed on people’s fears, ignorance, and anger in order to garner the support needed to become governor- and just as we’re seeing with the Hillary/Bernie divide among liberals today, the left in Maine was never able to coalesce in support of either Democrat Libby Mitchell or Cutler in 2010, or Michaud or Cutler in 2014.

In any case, the realization that Maine has become a punch line across the country- thanks to our idiotic governor and our inability to unseat him- is no laughing matter for those of us who still take pride in our great state.

It’s an embarrassment.

Photo credit to Christopher Cousins, BDN

Photo credit to Christopher Cousins, BDN

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.