Maine Governor LePage’s State of the State Address… and the Silence of the Elephants

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

100_5149A smart political analyst once taught me an important lesson: “Don’t look for what IS being said but rather for what ISN’T being said.”

Never has that been more clear as to provide insight than in the deafening local Republican silence, post-Governor LePage’s State of the State address.

Case in point: Despite the best and multiple efforts of the Governor’s office in the hours preceding his address to drive forth usage of hashtag #MESOTS, 2 of his strongest allied sites, AsMaineGoes and MHPC/ The Maine Wire, failed to comply.

At all.

Here is the Governor’s missive, delivered at 10 am Tuesday morning:

The Maine Republican Party dutifully retweeted as per the previous instructions and MRP Chair Rich Cebra’s office, under the auspices of former Marden IT guy/ LePage right hand man Jason Savage, immediately sent out a supportive press release after the governor concluded his remarks.

Good boy, Jason. Get promotion.

But as mentioned earlier sometimes, what is most telling is not the conversations themselves- but what ISN’T being said.

Strangely enough, two of the Governor’s staunchest allies have been silent.

As Maine Goes has not had a single thread on the Governor’s address, not even on their public forum. And they have not tweeted since Monday- not a peep in reaction.

Here is their last tweet:

Guess “loyalty” isn’t a lesson your lapdog has mastered, eh Governor?

An aberration? Nope.

Maine Heritage Policy Council and their “online newspaper”, ‘The Maine Wire’, also have been absolutely completely and eerily silent. MHPC last gave the world via Twitter the following deeply profound and compelling insight into the minds to Maine’s conservative members and their interests, which their other Twitter account, er, independent online newspaper retweeted as their most recent pearl of wisdom:

Some days, ya can’t make this stuff up…

Seriously. Nothing since then at all, on all three of these twitter feeds and sites.

No RT shares of the Governor’s own very active Twitter account, no shared opinion pieces supporting LePage…

Nada.

One wonders why.

Nationally, there has been some strong reaction from formerly friendly conservative quarters, as DC based group Tax Foundation (pdf warning) blasted Governor LePage’s public admission that with his proposed budget, he is indeed increasing taxes, as reported in the Kennebec Journal (LePage Budget ‘sneaks’ tax increase) and Bangor Daily News (Taxation watchdogs accuse LePage of ‘stealth’ hike).

Just last October, this same group raised Maine’s business tax rating from 37th to 30th.

And it wasn’t just irate conservatives who interpreted LePage as meaning that taxes would indeed be raised. Ethan Strimling in the BDN had this: Did LePage just say he was willing to raise taxes?

    What strikes me is his inclusion and emphasis on “right now.” He could have easily said “Let’s not raise taxes” and left it at that. But he didn’t.

    And not only did he not leave “right now” out, he actually emphasized it. It struck me the moment he said it, and in watching the video I am more convinced.

    Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but that sure sounds like an opening to Democrats that he would be willing to consider revenues in the long term. Perhaps in exchange for tax cuts today.

A Portland Press Herald editorial called for rolling back the unfunded 125th Legislature’s tax cuts for the wealthy, sponsored by the Governor:

    “The last Legislature passed a huge tax cut, about $400 million over two years, which did not go into effect until January and has never been paid for. The size of the tax cut is roughly what cities and towns would lose without revenue sharing, the homestead exemption and other proposed program cuts.

    Delaying those income tax cuts would not raise taxes. It would keep them at the 2012 rate.”

The tone of the Governor’s address was uncharacteristically conciliatory and cordial; perhaps his finally meeting with the Democratic majority leaders the day before broke the ice for some real progress in Augusta.

But one wonders what whispered conversations are quietly going on behind closed doors…

hannibalAnd so the question must be asked: “Well, Cebra – have the elephants stopped screaming?”

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