Friday, April 1, 2011

Gov. LePage begins paying political price

Maine's controversial governor, Paul LePage, has been in office less than three months, but he's already galvanized progressives, lost the support of two-thirds of self-declared moderates, and reportedly alienated leading figures in his own party, including party chair Charlie Webster and, now, nearly half of the G.O.P. Senate delegation.

Readers need little review of Mr. LePage's ill-advised actions and remarks, as they've been sufficiently outrageous as to have him in the national media spotlight on an almost weekly basis. From telling the NAACP to kiss his butt on the eve of the M.L.K weekend to joking (ho-ho) that the reason he supported the return of the banned substance BPA to baby's bottles and sippy cups was that the worst thing that could happen is that some women would "grow little beards" to marking the anniversary of the infamous Triangle Fire by announcing he would dismantle a mural of Maine's labor history hanging in the Department of Labor to kicking off Sunshine Week by denouncing users of Maine's Freedom of Access Act as being engaged in "internal terrorism," Mr. LePage has appeared hell-bent on making as many enemies as possible as quickly as he can.

One of the biggest questions in Maine politics has been whether or not Maine's legislative Republicans -- who control both chambers of the State House -- would support his unpopular and often pugnacious agenda. In ordinary times, there would be no question that they would not: the state party has been a bastion of old fashioned Yankee Republicanism as personified by Margaret Chase Smith, Bill Cohen, and Olympia Snowe. But last year there were signs that the moderates may have lost control to the pitchfork-bearing Tea Party sympathizers who nominated LePage and passed a party platform calling for, among other things, vigilance against a "one world government."

Now it's becoming clear that many Republican legislators will abandon LePage's ship before he steers them into any more icebergs. Last month every Republican on a key committee rejected his unpopular BPA campaign. Last week, Senate Republicans met with the governor about, as he put it afterward "zipping my mouth and not offending them." And next week, the Bangor Daily News just revealed, an OpEd piece blasting the governor will be published signed by at least eight G.O.P senators. "We feel compelled to express our discomfort and dismay with the tone and spirit of some of the remarks coming from him,” it reportedly reads. "Were this an isolated incident and not a pattern, we would bite our collective tongues, because we are all human. But, unfortunately, such is not the case. We feel we must speak out.

Since entering office, Mr. LePage has shown little understanding of how the political chess of governance is effectively played, or even how the pieces move. He's quickly learning one lesson: a king with few allies rarely remains on the board for long.

[Update, 4/4/2011, 0745: The OpEd has been published, signed by eight Republican Senators and written by Sens. Katz and Langley (the two candidates who also criticized the RSLC's false attacks on their opponents during the campaign.)]

[Update, 4/14/2011, 0917: The Republican-controlled State House has resoundingly defeated LePage's effort to rollback the ban on BPA in baby products. The vote was 145-3 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate. In case you're curious, the holdouts were Larry Dunphy (R-Emden), Beth O'Connor (R-Berwick), and Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough.)]

21 comments:

  1. I'll be looking for that op ed in the BDN. Goob has got to go.

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  2. Sadly, it is so that the governor has brought much negative attention to himself. Hopefully, the state Republican leaders will quell his antics and dispell a measue of the disrepute suffered by our wonderful state.

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  3. once thought to be the lesser of the evils, clearly now proving he is the most almighty greatest evil of evils!

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  4. This is an awesome post -- I wish you had one of those handy Share to Facebook buttons -- I want to sing this from the rooftops!

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  5. I hope that these GOP Senators will be willing to back up their OpEd with their lack of support for many of the issues (including budgetary) that LePage is pushing. That will be the true test.

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  6. Here is the solution:
    http://signon.org/sign/maine-needs-a-citizen?source=s.fb.ty

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  7. Hopefully this op ed piece will get some national media exposure too! So glad that some G.O.P. senators are stepping up to the plate so the Tea Partiers can see that they can't steamroll over the entire Maine Republican Party!

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  8. Well done. Maybe there is hope on the horizon.

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  9. LaPlague needs to leave!

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  10. All of you need to get a grip, okay so he is not polished, but he is doing what he said he would do, turning this state around and being fiscally responsible and forcing the state on the right path. Change is not easy, someone has to force it and he is not afraid to do it. Don't forget our ever so lovely President Obama hasn't been so polished either and look at what direction he is sending our country in! When all said and done and we get through this change you will look back and see what a great state we live in and thank him for getting us there. People will want to move back and work here and bring their businesses here instead of other states because we are fiscally in a better place.

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  11. How can we legally get rid of this very angry man?

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  12. Katherine RobertsApril 2, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Applauding, applauding...

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  13. And he's probably just "the tip of the Teehee Party".

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  14. He's a leech--please impeach!

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  15. His supporters need to get a grip. They are far and few between but all most have the same mentality.

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  16. interesting that the two comments which support LePage choose to be anonymous. everyone else signed their name.

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  17. Well Rachel Schwartz, my name is Rachel as well. I am sick and tired of everyone whining. The comment before yours who was against Lepage chose to be anonymous as well. Spending is what has gotten this state in trouble and someone needs to stop it. If you knew anything about running a company or a state you would get it. If your tired of supporting other people who don't need it you wouldn't be making these comments.

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  18. Oh and just so you all know the Op Ed piece is not going to be published.

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  19. @Rachel-the-LePage-Supporter: I don't see anything out there suggesting the OpEd isn't going to be published. You have a source on that, or are you just willing it to be so?

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