Do we have to say it? You can’t throw stuff at people just because you disagree with them.

But last Thursday night, Joanne Twomey — a sometimes Democrat, an alleged adult and a former legislator and Biddeford mayor — punctuated her critique of Gov. Paul LePage by tossing a jar of Vaseline at the chief executive, an apparent reference to a crude comment he made in 2013.

The governor was in no danger, although his security detail could not have known that when Twomey reached into her purse while yelling at him. The toss was more of a push, sliding the jar toward LePage’s feet.

But still. Do we have to say it? You can’t do that. It’s not right.

We have criticized LePage for violating the rules of civility and decorum plenty of times since he took office in 2011, but as far as we are aware, he has never thrown a prop at an opponent. There are still some boundaries in our politics.

We are lucky in Maine for the access we have to our elected officials. The governor, our U.S. senators and other leaders can turn up in informal settings where constituents can ask tough questions. This is the kind of stunt that could spoil that.

For her part, Twomey is unapologetic. She says her sign of disrespect was justified by the governor’s policies regarding the environment and the poor.

While we are much closer to her positions on those issues than we are to the administration’s, we can’t condone the way she advocates for them. Twomey has weakened the hand of people who are working on the issues she cares about.

By shutting down the meeting, Twomey prevented other people from asking questions and getting the governor on the record about controversial matters. For instance, LePage’s announcement that he would personally review all Land for Maine’s Future spending came in response to a question from the floor at a budget meeting in Cumberland.

Twomey should apologize and promise not to do anything like this again. Anyone who has criticized the governor for his off-color remarks over the last 4½ years should speak up about her behavior, too.

And everyone should remember that no matter how heated the debate gets, you can’t throw stuff. Do we really have to say it?


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