MAINE, USA — After a four-day debate and more than a dozen votes, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was finally elected as the nation's new Speaker of the House of Representatives. Neither Political Brew Republican analyst Ray Richardson nor his Democratic counterpart Ken Altshuler are fans of McCarthy. Still, the two had very different opinions about the long, drawn-out process resulting in his election.
"I think it's good for the American people," said Richardson. "I know the political class is losing their minds over this....but this is how it's supposed to work. We are pre-conditioned for backroom deals. Now we are seeing a good, old-fashioned political debate, a donnybrook, and that's good."
"We have a right to see how the sausage is made, they added."
Altshuler sees the tumultuous debate and deal-making differently."
"I agree this is a great thing for Democrats. It's Republicans fighting with themselves; please do that. You have 20 people, the Freedom Caucus, holding up and blackmailing the republican party. This I not how government should be."
Looking at Maine issues of the week, both agreed Gov. Janet Mills' inauguration speech was a victory lap without new policy plans but said that was to be expected. "It was Janet Mills being Janet Mills," said Ken Altshuler. "If you like her, it was a great speech. If you don't like her, it wasn't. It was what you expect the Governor to do, similar to a campaign speech. ..It was aspirational, and that's what you expect from the Governor."
Richardson agreed about the tone of the speech. "It was a bit of a victory lap, but good for her," the Republican said. "She won big, by almost 100,0000 votes. She has a big opportunity here, and I hope she will seize it for the good of the people of Maine."
Richardson said he hopes the Governor can restrain new spending, as she suggested during a recent NEWS CENTER Maine interview. But Richardson also said he hopes the Governor makes the troubled DHHS child protective system a high-priority issue this year, following the department ombudsman report that is highly critical of the agency for not doing enough to stop child abuse deaths.
Altshuler said he agrees that issue needs to be dealt with but also highlighted major economic issues, including building Maine's workforce and stabilizing the lobster industry after the Congressional delegation was able to win a 6-year delay in new fishing rules to protect right whales.