Saturday, March 8, 2014
Dear Governor LePage,
AIRING IT OUT
Tune in to NewsRadio 560 WGAN at 8:08 a.m. today to hear columnist Bill Nemitz talk about this column and other issues.
So ... what's new?
Oh right. Everything.
President Obama, who you once said you'd tell to "go to hell," is instead going on to a second term.
State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, your biggest cheerleader since the day after you trounced him in the Republican gubernatorial primary way back in 2010, is going home to his little tax-sheltered forest in Georgetown. Or, rising sea levels permitting, to his beach club in Popham.
Attorney General Bill Schneider and Secretary of State Charlie Summers are going back to oblivion, soon to be replaced by Democrats. (Watch out for that presumptive Attorney General Janet Mills, Governor. She hits back.)
And then there's the Legislature.
Now Governor, I admit I was as shocked as I'm sure you were by Tuesday's Democratic surge that obliterated your Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
I mean, unofficial Democratic majorities of 87-60-4 in the House and 21-13-1 in the Senate? Are you kidding me? If I were the Blaine House cat, I'd probably be landing clear across the Kennebec River right about now.
But as that moronic saying goes, it is what it is. And if you thought keeping those Republican lawmakers in line was tough, wait 'til you get a load of what's waiting for you on the third floor of the State House come early December.
There's Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, the leading contender for Senate president. The same guy you referred to in April as "a little spoiled brat from Portland" who "is very fortunate that his granddad (the late philanthropist Harold Alfond) was born ahead of him."
That little spoiled brat is about to become second in line for your job, Big Guy. So if I were you, I'd watch out for wayward buses.
There's Rep. Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, now the front-runner for House speaker. At a fundraiser in the spring, he was quoted as saying the strategy for retaking the Legislature this fall would be to "tie the Republicans to Gov. LePage."
Give that man a crystal ball. (Not to mention outgoing Speaker Bob Nutting's gavel.)
And behind the emerging Democratic leadership we now have two chambers more than half-full of what you've spent two years deriding as "the loyal opposition."
That they are, Governor. And make no mistake about it, that they will continue to be.
So here's what everyone wants to know (except for Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster, who's packing his bags and heading home to Shrillville): With the second half of your term suddenly looking a whole lot different from the first, what can we expect to see coming out of the Blaine House?
Will it be an olive branch?
Or will it be the big bird? (No, sir, not the embattled PBS icon. The other big bird.)
The way I see it, Governor, you're in a heck of a bind here.
Your tea party base is at full boil. They saw what happened with Mitt Romney (whom they never trusted from the start) and now look to guys like you (Can you believe that turncoat Chris Christie?) to keep their dreamy delusions alive.
They still want you to push that right-to-work legislation you've been talking about for the past two years.
Except now you can't.
They still want you to cut 24,000 low-income Mainers from MaineCare -- federal waivers or no federal waivers.
Except now you can't.
They still want you to stigmatize the poor, chastise the school teachers, antagonize the environmentalists, demonize the public sector and, in your spare time, franchise more one-size-fits-all legislation hot off the presses from the far-right American Legislative Exchange Council.
(Continued on page 2)