Maine Gov.-Elect Paul LePage (R) hasn’t even taken office yet, but he’s already ruffling some feathers with his staffing choices.
LePage, a conservative Republican, has been taken heat for appointing Pete Harring to his transition advisory team. Harring, also known as Pete The Carpenter, is a leader of the Tea Party groups the Maine Refounders and Paint Maine Red, and is known for posting on Paint Maine Red that “liberals are like slinkys and that’s because they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.”
LePage recently announced 35 new appointments to his team, who will help him decide who to appoint to top posts in his administration. The team’s website describes Harring thusly: “Pete is a carpenter. He is also the webmaster of Mainerefounders.org, a website dedicated to getting people involved in the political process with a focus on our State and U.S. Constitutions.”
Harring also is a rather colorful blogger, in one post responding to Sen. Olympia Snowe’s call for a more inclusive GOP by saying she was “clueless,” adding that she “obviously lives in some fantasy world and has no grasp of reality or she is under some drug-induced coma and is suffering from severe hallucinations.”
He also posted a cartoon in March depicting “Hydrogen Barackside,” a product by “Messianic Pharmaceuticals,” that is designed for “the general destruction of wealth. If you catch a nasty case of free market capitalism, try Hydrogen Barackside — It will cure you of all your money issues. Our solution is right on the Marx!!!” In the same post Harring writes: “I am completely convinced that the Obama administration is hell-bent on destroying America!”
According to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Mike Tipping of the Maine Peoples’ Alliance says that Harring is an “extremist,” and “he doesn’t seem to have any qualifications beyond just being angry and being part of the tea party and I think that’s a very unfortunate way for Paul LePage to start his administration.”
LePage spokesman Dan DeMerritt responded to some of the criticism of Harring, telling the MPBN: “Certainly, some of the things he’s said the governor-elect is not going to agree with at all. But, he’s got an important viewpoint and he represents the frustrations of thousands of Mainers and ‘people before politics’ means everybody, you know, and we’d be happy to listen to the Peoples’ Alliance if they want to come in to talk with us about their concerns.”
Harring himself wrote a statement put out by LePage’s team, the Maine Sun Journal reports:
People are angry and frustrated. I am a carpenter working hard to get people involved. My blog posts and speeches come from my heart and are not meant to offend anyone. If they make people think, I am doing my job.
LePage himself has become known for his often fiery temper, once saying he’d tell President Obama to “go to hell” if he got elected governor. A different time he stormed out of a press conference after a reporter began asking him questions about his property taxes, which his wife may have claimed improperly.
LePage and Harring did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.