Obama’s coming to Maine. Er…why?
posted at 8:02 pm on March 31, 2010 by Slublog
Earlier today, thousands of people braved the cold spring rain to get their hands on tickets to attend Obama’s health care rally in Portland, Maine tomorrow.
The doors of the Expo have opened and tickets to see President Barack Obama are being distributed to the line of waiting people.
Nicole Perrine, who was the first in line at 12:45 this morning, walked in quietly, hands in pockets, and when she got the first two tickets held them up and smiled.
“I feel pretty good,” she said. “Now I can go home and sleep.”
Others leaving after waiting for hours held up tickets happily and smiled.
Carl Inkel, who was third in line, brandished his tickets and said, “Wooo-hooo, Obama rocks.”
The number of people who waited in line isn’t all that surprising. According to the Maine Secretary of State’s website, the city of Portland cast 36,840 votes for president in 2008. John McCain received 7,844 of those votes. Obama received 28,317 – about 77%. That’s a full 20 points ahead of his statewide total of 57% of the vote. Portland is a liberal city in the most liberal part of the state.
Which begs the question – why does Obama feel the need to sell his health care plan in the most liberal, urban part of a largely rural state? Shouldn’t he be selling it to a less devoted area? Why not Penobscot County, where the election results nearly mirror the national percentages? Why not Washington County, where the result was almost 50-50? It’s not as though Portland has a monopoly on Maine media. It has roughly the same number of television stations and newspapers as Bangor, which voted for Obama, but by a smaller margin. It’s almost as though the president has purposely chosen the area of the state where he is guaranteed the friendliest, most liberal audience.
According to a Congressional report, the cost of operating Air Force One is $56,518 an hour. This figure does not take into account the cost of security and transportation of presidential vehicles. In addition, Maine taxpayers will foot the bill for the state and local police who will provide additional security at the event. All of this money is being spent to sell a health care reform bill that has already been signed into law to what is sure to be a mostly liberal audience in a deep blue state. In the middle of a recession, this doesn’t seem like a particularly good use of taxpayer money.
Obama doesn’t need to sell this law here, and frankly, I don’t think that’s why he’s visiting Maine. It seems to me he’s not here to convince Mainers this law is a good idea (we know otherwise), but to take a victory lap on our dime.
I hope a lot of tea partiers show up tomorrow.