Cliches become cliches because they are repeated so often. And they are repeated so often because the bit of wisdom they express is usually so obvious.
Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. You win some, you lose some.
Or the expression that half a loaf is better than none. Clearly, to a hungry person, half a loaf is better than going hungry.
Yet even Republican legislators could be found quietly shaking their heads at the end of the last legislative session over Gov. Paul LePage's inability to accept half a loaf and his eagerness to throw babies out with their bath water.
Perhaps this is what makes the governor endearing to the libertarian wing of his party, people who believe the more wrenches he can jam into the gears of government the better. Indeed, the governor seemed very proud of the record number of vetoes he issued during the last legislative session.
But LePage's showy obstinacy must leave his supporters, those who actually need the Legislature to do a few things, pulling their hair out. They must wonder why the man can't seem to say yes to anything short of everything.
For instance, the governor took a strong law-and-order stand during the legislative session by proposing an expensive plan to add more cops and judges to fight drug crime in Maine.
So, the governor proposed taking $5 million from the unclaimed property fund to pay for the personnel, a curious idea for a get-your-hands-off-my-wallet type of governor. Technically, the money does belong to citizens, not the government.
While many questioned the wisdom of funding more enforcement over more treatment and education, cops and prosecutors flocked to the photo-op arranged for the governor's announcement.
Democrats didn't like taking the unclaimed funds but, along with Republicans, they found another way to fund most of what the governor wanted, but not all. They also identified a continuing source of funding, which the governor had not.
OK, a reasonable person would say, take credit, declare victory and run with most of the loaf.
Yet late on the last day of the session, the governor's office communicated to the Appropriations Committee that he would veto the compromise, so Republican and Democratic leaders scuttled the plan.
Now there will be no additional drug agents and no more judges, which must be disappointing to the cops, prosecutors and members of the public who supported the idea.
Wouldn't it have been better to do something rather than do nothing at all?
The governor also wanted more money to help struggling rural nursing homes, many of which he reported are on the verge of financial ruin.
The Legislature responded by sending about $5 million more per year their way, but not until the 2015 budget takes effect in July.
The governor then proposed raiding some anti-smoking programs to send them an additional $5 million to tide them over.
Democrats didn't want to take money from anti-smoking efforts, but the Appropriations Committee came up with another way to send $2 million to the nursing homes.
Again, word came in the 11th hour that the governor would veto the compromise, so leaders in both parties pulled the bill.
Sure, it was only two-fifths of a loaf, but it was something. Now the starving nursing homes get nothing until July.
It's hard to understand why LePage does this, but it was hard to fully understand many of the governor's vetoes, which often seemed based upon misunderstood information or personal pique.
Some things did get done during the second half of the session. Legislators passed the all-important budget over the governor's veto.
The governor allowed a few things to go into law without his signature. And Democrats and Republicans joined to override a few of his vetoes.
Clearly, not every bill needs to become law, and the veto is an important tool of the office.
But it seems the governor could accomplish more of his programs, and more for the state of Maine, if he actively involved himself in the lawmaking process.
His my-way-or-the-highway approach often leaves his agenda items abandoned at the side of the road.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.