Why LePage does what he does getting harder to fathom

Gov. Paul LePage persists with the business of being governor.  He sent out lobsters to 49 other governors, although at least one,  New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, donated it to a soup kitchen. 
 He negotiated a $150 million bond package, on his terms, with Democratic legislature leaders. Unfortunately, he also reportedly remarked, at a Republican fundraiser, that  President Obama “hates white people.”
 The scurrying around afterward focused on whether LePage actually said these words. The Press Herald cited two Republican legislators who heard it, then 
amplified the account with two more attendees, including a county committee member. The Bangor Daily News had its own source. 
 None of these people had any motive to lie, and all are solid Republicans.  True, they chose remain anonymous,  fearing political retribution. One said, tellingly, that he supports LePage’s polices but can no longer defend his peculiar utterances.
 The following day, LePage claimed “I never said it,” but one wonders. This was an informal setting. Perhaps he just can’t remember.
 It’s significant no one defended LePage or insisted he didn’t say it. His spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, remained mute. Chief political adviser Brent Littlefield repeatedly dodged questions, never confirming LePage’s account.
 OK. He said it. Now, what does it mean?
 Since Barack Obama is among the least hate-filled presidents we’ve had – his apparent lack of passion sometimes vexes supporters – the most probable answer is that this is the psychological condition known as “projection.”
That is, Paul LePage feels this way about many other people and groups, so he projects it onto those he dislikes, such as the president.
 LePage’s hatreds are well documented. He clashes with Democratic legislators at every turn, making personal and even vulgar slams at the Senate president and majority leader. He has it in for people on “welfare” even when it’s only health care they’re receiving. As former mayor of Waterville, he has a particular animus for municipal officials, proposing the nuclear option of eliminating revenue sharing.
 About Obama, at least LePage is consistent. During the 2010 campaign, playing macho at the Rockland Fisherman’s Forum, he told onlookers to expect headlines reading, “Gov. LePage tells Obama to go to hell.”
 But using hatred as a guide to policy gets one into confusing territory, since the emotion attaches to different people and institutions at different times.
 While bearing the mantle of “tea party” governor, LePage’s actual positions have shifted with breathtaking rapidity. Take state debt.
 In 2011, LePage refused to issue any bond issues approved by the voters in 2009 and 2010. No one knew a governor had such authority, but neither the then-Republican treasurer nor attorney general challenged him.
 But it contradicted his previous assertion that he objected to bonds issued by agencies like Maine State Housing that lack voter ratification. Voter-approved bonds were OK, until they weren’t.
 Why? Because the state was “broke,” a definition covering just about anything. Although LePage ultimately decided bonds couldn’t be issued until Medicaid debt to hospitals was paid, that was two years later. Initially, there was no reason except his aversion to debt.
 So it’s been hard to follow LePage’s assertion that we need another $100 million in transportation bonding, on top of the $50 million he earlier impounded. First, we couldn’t afford it at all. Now we have to do it tomorrow. Sadly, LePage still has Republican allies willing to praise his every twist and turn, though he’ll obviously have to watch his words at fundraisers.
 And so it goes. LePage tore up a $200 million offshore wind contract with a Norwegian company in favor of the University of Maine, which up to that point he’d had no time for, vastly preferring private schools and colleges.
 The new bond package is supposed to cover all Maine’s infrastructure needs. But it leaves out the water and sewer construction grants on nearly every ballot since the 1980s. Those grants help municipalities. We get it.
 Why the governor does what he does is increasingly difficult to fathom. On bonds, he may finally have realized that his refusal to spend is dragging down the state economy, which has the slowest growth in New England.
 If so, it’s likely too late. Veteran prognosticator Larry Sabato, recently changed his rating of the 2014 governor’s race from “tossup” to “leans Democratic/independent.”  He added, “The point of our ratings change is to make clear that we believe Mainers are growing weary of the LePage act, and usually the curtain comes down on the show one way or the other in these circumstances.”
 But it has been quite a show.
 Douglas Rooks is a former daily and weekly newspaper editor who has covered the State House for 28 years. He can be reached at drooks@tds.net.

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Steve  Dosh's picture

Why LePage does what he does getting harder to fathom

Doug ? Monday 4 pm hst ?
Why ask why ?
The guy lives in his own little world ( luckily they all know him they'ya )
hth ? /s, Steve Dosh , HI
" A legend in his own mind ."

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Pretzels

The best part of the show is watching Republicans turn themselves into pretzels trying to keep up with his erratic twisting and turning. We have gone from "He is the governor who will create jobs and bring business to Maine" to " He promised to pay the hospitals". because he has one of the worst economic recoveries in the nation. Worse than Vermont for goodness sake. Watching Republican legislators hammer out legislation only to reverse their own votes to please the governor was cute. Now they are telling us that they cannot believe the governor would have accused the President of being a racist. It must be the media attacking him again. He could not possibly have said anything bad about Obama. Oh wait! Wasn't he the guy who said Obama could kiss his a**? The guy who creates an issue every year because he will not meet with the NAACP? The guy who passed up an invite to the White House rather than meet with Obama? Isn't that what Republicans like about him? Republicans are thrilled he is getting the state out of debt Oh wait! He put us in debt to pay the hospitals. He is putting us in debt again with the bonds. Well at least he paid the hospitals.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Claire ? HAhahahah ! " .

Claire ? HAhahahah ! " . Worse than VeRrRrrrrRRrmont for goodness sake ! "
ƒlaming hypocrites . All of 'em . Say one thing , do the opposite . Do what i say not what i do . Not men ( or women ) of their word . Lie outta' b o † h sides of their mouths . i take that back . " That guy lies through his tooth  " They say what they think we wanna' hear ( if they think at all ) Appalachia . Inbreds. From Kathadin to Spriinger MT GA ( too much ? ) . Don't forget . .i had to work for the walking heart attack - ack - ack Dead Eye Dick Cheney and that bald faced liar Condi Rice . They knew about Bin Laden before he even attacked us , the dummies
http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/pdb080601.pdf <-- here's the proof ( smoking gun )
^^ It's from our Library of Congress
Check the dates on the report ?
Paul is no Chris Christy
hth , /s Steve

David  Cote's picture

The art of diplomacy

Diplomacy ; The art and practice of conducting negotiations between groups of representatives or states. To be an approachable and successful negotiator one needs to be both receptive to otherviewpoints and willing enough to be flexible as needed. During LePage's term as Governor he has not shown any diplomatic patience whatsoever. That being established, LePage's main focus in his position was to bring many new jobs to the state, after all, the sign on the northbound side of the turnpike in Kittery is out of state business' invitation. However, if I were an out of state industrialist, or land developer and I was looking to expand my business in another state, Maine wouldn't even be on the list because, through past LePage episodes and the "My way or the highway" mentality, my impression of this state is one of major dysfunction where diplomacy is nothing more than an afterthought and "open for business" is an embarrassing catch phrase. It's hard for me to imagine how any business developer would want to sit down with LePage and talk business when that talk could turn defensive at any moment. LePage doesn't negotiate, he tells you how it is and shame on you if your opinion differs and you stand up for that opinion. This is not the days of Huey Long. Politicians in the present day need to be diplomatic to have a chance for success.

Steve  Dosh's picture

David ? Correct ?  " A

David ? Correct ?  " A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell and you enjoy the ride ." /s, Steve F S O [ ret.] er . ... Foreign Service Officer ( a diplomat ) , civilian rank of Counselor ( like a Major or a Lt. Colonel ) , served you in Micronesia, Guatemala, and Africa in http://www.usaid.gov :D

Bob White's picture

Not sure whats your point

Your quote "LePage's main focus in his position was to bring many new jobs to the state"
With the lowering of the unemployment rate I would have to say he is getting it done. David maybe if could get pass your hatred for Republicans then you might see that he has done something's that have been good. I'm sure though you cant its to bad.

David  Cote's picture

Say what?

Let me ask you a question, Mr. White...Where in my post did I mention I hate Republicans? I never mentioned party affiliation in my post and I certainly didn't use the word "hate". If I had to use a word to describe Paul LePage it would be "disappointment". You see, as hard as it may seem for you to believe, I voted for LePage with the understanding that he would have inside knowledge on how to foster a fresh and welcoming economic climate to attract new business to the state, and once such a plan was put into place, he would show the negotiating skills to secure a commitment from out of state businesses to expand here in Maine. I was prepared to give LePage some latitude regarding his penchant to speak without thinking through what he's saying. However, he's done that way too much and the result is we are now looked upon as a joke. You may want to settle for that, but I won't. Again, I don't play party politics. I don't have the inclination, nor the time to immerse myself in long winded discussions with hard left or hard right party line followers because the end result always leads back to the beginning with nothing gained and nothing resolved, the same way it works in Washington the majority of the time among the people with the capital "D"'s and "R"'s we elect into office. Both sides have their goodpoints and bad points, but LePage hasn't shown me, or more importantly, anyone who he comes in contact with the capacity to discuss with civility and respect the issues and problems our state faces. I would be pleased to see him succeed, but he isn't and the reason for that failure is something that stares back at him in the mirror on a daily basis. So before you go about spewing your declarations of how you perceive other people you don't know, take a lesson from your Governor. He does that on a daily basis. Look where that philosophy has brought him.

Mark Wrenn's picture

unemployment

Uh, the unemployment rate in Maine is rising. So much for that...

Bob White's picture

unemployment

Uh its lower then when he came into office. So much for that...

David Marsters's picture

The Gov!!!!!!!!!!!

He may not be a smooth talker, but he is getting Maine out of debt. Paying the hospitals is one big accomplishment. He is my type of Governor. Let it Paul, go get em.

Uh... what?

Getting Maine out of debt by creating more bond debt, you mean? Bonds = borrowing. Borrowing = debt. Therefore, Bonds = debt. He said he refused to release bonds (which would have created jobs and helped improve infrastructure and revitalize many of our small towns) because the State couldn't afford the debt they created. But apparently the State could afford to take out a bond (which voters had no say in) to pay the hospitals. Sure, it's secutred by the liquor contract (assuming it is negotiated a the value they want), but until it's paid off, IT'S STILL DEBT.

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