The recent reprehensible behavior of Sara Gideon, Speaker of the Maine House, is just the latest tantrum in the litany of despotic acts that has characterized Speaker Gideon’s tenure as the Democrat Party leader of the House. Democrats and Independents, better know as Stealth Democrats, are feverishly trying to fix the blame on Republicans. With a long pattern of abuses lining up at the Speaker’s office door, Democrats, both real and stealth alike, are having a hard time convincing taxpayers that standing neck deep in their own dysfunction and shouting the proverbial “They did it!” with obligatory finger pointed is a valid representation of good leadership.
It should be said of the Speaker that at least she makes no effort to conceal the fact that she is there beholden only to special interests and no other; to Hades with the people. One could find solace in her honesty if it didn’t drive a knife in the basic foundation of the Republic. For Gideon, a government by the people for the people moves back stage and must abdicate to government by the cronies for the cronies at all cost.
At the end of the last legislative session, Gideon’s antics and procedural gymnastics had worn thin on even the members of her own Party. Rumblings of a coming insurrection began to bubble to the surface and the Speaker moved quickly to save her leadership. She promised a more steady even handed approach in the chamber and Democrats fell in line.
But the lists of bills killed by Gideon seems endless, many not allowed to the floor for debate. Many of these would have provided relief for small town Maine, but were crushed by the Speaker’s ruthlessness. One such bill was the Arbitration Bill which would have helped small towns gain some leverage and voice in the school withdrawal process.
One such small town is Atkinson. Atkinson began the withdrawal process eagerly agreeing to the demands of the school district they wished to withdraw from in hopes of getting on the ballot in November of that year. The district responded by adding more demands and a large lump sum of money effectively moving the finish line of negotiations.
It was soon apparent that the school district’s definition of negotiation was “give us all our demands and none of yours.” When the delay tactics were obvious and all hope of a November ballot vote was lost, Atkinson withdrew from negotiations in protest. Their only hope of leverage was the Arbitration Bill in the legislature.
This bill would have provided for small towns, who are under served in these negotiations and prejudiced against, the option to call for a separate arbitrator to intervene. This bill passed through committee unanimous “Ought to Pass.” The expectation was that it was simply a matter of formality and that it would pass the chamber easily.
Inexplicably in blatant obeisance to the public education complex, Speaker Gideon moved to have the bill killed. Despite protestations from both Parties that the bill should at least be debated on the floor, through procedural manipulation the bill was killed by a one vote procedure by one of Gideon’s lackeys. Cronies over people once again.
So small town Maine once again found itself under the thumb of bureaucracy. If a small town wants to better itself, Speaker Gideon wanted to make sure they pay a heavy price for it. Now we see, despite the promises, the beat down goes on.
For all of Gideon’s heavy handedness and shoulder thrusting, she hasn’t run a very tight ship. Her lack of leadership has now been shown for the whole of Maine to see. So consumed with trying to block her opponents bills from even seeing the floor, the legislative schedule has fallen into neglect.
Democrats wanted an extension to cover their failings. In order to do so, they tabled every bill that Republicans wanted to vote on in attempt to gain Republican votes. Republicans refused to be held hostage and voted against the extension.
True to form, Gideon looked to manipulate obscure procedures of parliament, while she indefinitely postponed any debate on Republican bills. As in the Arbitration Bill, the people of Maine now take the brunt of the dereliction of leadership by Speaker Gideon. Maine cannot afford to give Sara Gideon and the Democrats a pass on their Lock Down Lowdown leadership tactics. It’s time to unlock Maine’s potential and show Democrats the door.