The Republican Governors’ Association and the Maine Republican Party have been calling out Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud for his support of providing welfare benefits to illegal immigrants.
This has provoked a firestorm of criticism, with liberal groups in a much-covered conference call
recorded by Maine Heritage Policy Center’s Steve Robinson complaining that two-time Obama supporters are saying they’re voting for LePage because of Michaud’s position on welfare for illegals.
Yesterday, however, we saw the issue trickle down-ballot for the first time, with a video released by the Maine GOP
showing Democratic State Senator Eloise Vitelli of Sagadahoc County telling a voter at a town hall forum that she supports giving taxpayer benefits to illegals. The video has been ignored by the mainstream media, perhaps unsurprisingly, but it will no doubt be promoted by the Maine GOP in the coming weeks.
It will be interesting to see whether we will have a true debate in Maine over the propriety of giving welfare to illegal immigrants.
We can tell from the controversial conference call of liberal special interest groups and welfare lobbyists that run the Maine Democratic Party – groups that share a major benefactor with three of the state’s largest newspapers – that Maine liberals do not want to have that debate.
It is one worth having, however. With an increasingly porous border supposedly guarded by an increasingly incompetent federal government, combined with Maine Democrats’ seeming insistence on providing as much welfare as possible to anybody who wants it and the prospect of relevant legislation coming up in Augusta next session, this is a major issue.
Let’s find out where the candidates stand on this issue. Michaud has been elusive enough on his position, and though Vitelli unambiguously stated her support, where do other candidates for the Maine House and Senate stand? Voters should start asking questions and so should Maine’s media establishment.
One final takeaway on the video of Senator Vitelli: What’s even more offensive than her stance in support of welfare for illegals is her response to the question. “Illegal what?” she snaps at a voter who asks whether she supports taxpayer benefits for illegals. She literally looks down her nose at the voter and even tries to reframe the question. Democratic politicians already have a bit of a reputation in Maine for being self-righteous, snobbish, and out of touch. They should tread carefully if they want to avoid another 2010, because voters out there feel very strongly about welfare policy, even if Maine’s media and liberal politicians do not.