Last week, Maine’s bombastic governor, Paul LePage, backed off his statement equating the IRS to the Gestapo, Hitler’s jack-booted secret police. “It was not my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish community,” he said. But LePage did intend to demonize government with the vilest epithet he could think of, and he isn’t apologizing for that.
It’s open season on government, as the political rhetoric gets hotter than a tar beach in mid-July. Republican governors boast that they will refuse millions in federal Medicaid money despite the budget crises in their states. Communities are shutting off streetlights to save money, and teachers and public health workers get the blame. The House appropriations committee this week voted to eliminate funding for VISTA and National Public Radio. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 62 percent of Americans agree that “the government controls too much of our daily lives” — not an all-time high, but close.