Often in politics there are small comments in speeches that get blown way out of proportion. The comment "Obama hates white people" by Maine's Republican Governor Paul LePage was not one of them.
To be clear, this is not to say that Governor LePage is a racist or a bigot in some way because of one out-of-context comment. But it certainly points to some flawed logic by the governor.
Here's the context: The quote was taken from a private meet and greet fundraiser in Belgrade, Maine last week, where Governor LePage had supporters meet the state's new GOP chairman Rick Bennett. Although the speech was not recorded (to avoid any social faux pas say like, an unsubstantiated racial comment) the Press Herald managed to get confirmation from a couple of attendees who corraberated that "LePage talked about how Obama could have been the best president ever if he highlighted his biracial heritage. But LePage said the president hasn't done that because he hates white people."
One legislator noted that, "Yeah, he said it … It was one little thing from a speech, but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate." Which, in reality, it probably was. The simple fact is that now that this comment has made it to the press, Governor LePage is now one step closer to becoming associated with hyper-right-wing shock jocks like Glenn Beck and Rush Lumbaugh.
The most amusing part of the whole fiasco is that governor's senior political adviser Brent Littlefield needed to release a statement in response. He argued that the Governor was not a racist, that the notion he is was a "far-fetched" idea, and even cited his past involvement in Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration events. He however neglected to mention the time the governor declined an invitation a similar NAACP event and told the civil rights association to "kiss my butt."
It's particularly interesting to see how Governor LePage's PR department deals with his consistent controversies. While even the "Obama hates white people" comment may be seen one day as water under the bridge, since assuming office in 2011, the governor has been nightmare for Maine's right wing. Previous shocking statements included comparing the IRS to "the new gestapo" and that they would eventually be in the business of "killing lots of people," condemning the most recent Democratic budget by making an anal rape joke, vowing to repeal Maine's child labor laws, and blacklisting three of the state's biggest newspapers for reports criticizing his administration for undermining the state's environmental protections. The governor seems to be mistaking conversation-with-beer-buddies with oh-I'm-actually-meant-to-represent-people.
So while this latest comment is not hugely offensive, it should cause people to worry that these kinds of inarticulate, illogical statements have begun to define their representatives.