Governor LePage’s Mulligan
Originally posted Jun 27 and now bumped back to top, as news has come out tonight that Maine’s self-proclaimed “blue collar” Governor Paul LePage, who last week denounced the state’s “country club Legislature” and said that he would be discussing options with his family regarding whether or not to run for re-election, announced before a hundred supporters at the posh Jeb Bush hosted, up to $3k per couple Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport fundraiser that he is indeed running for re-election in 2014.
(Video link here, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow a few weeks’ ago had something to say regarding Jeb Bush’s decision to hold this fundraiser. She also took the matter up again on this evening’s show.)
It should be noted that the task of informing the world of this decision came not by press release nor traditional local Maine media, but rather fell to State Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) to deliver the news second-hand to the world, as Maine’s most transparent Governor instructed his senior political advisor Brent Littlefield to issue the following reminding email to Maine media late this afternoon:
“Just a quick email reminder that tonight’s LePage event in Kennebunkport is closed press.
There are no press avails before or after the event.
Brent Littlefield, Senior Political Adviser to Governor LePage”
1. A stew made from odds and ends of food.
2. (in informal golf) An extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.
UPDATED with earlier portion of the press conference that I missed; many thanks to PPH’s Steve Mistler.
UPDATE x2: Friday’s Portland Press Herald is chock-full of scathing missives today in Letters to the Editor: Governor disrespects people he serves.
Yesterday after the House (114-34) and Senate (26-9) delivered crushing blows to Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1509, the FY 14-15 fiscal budget bill and in doing so avoided the first statewide government shutdown in over twenty years, the governor held a press conference in which he was a far, far more subdued man than just last week:
Via Steve Mistler, this earlier portion of the press conference:
“I’m very disappointed on this budget. Until we start understanding what makes an economy drive and why the southeast and the southwest and the Atlantic states have such good economies, until we emulate some of their behaviors we are not going to be anywheres but 50th place in the country for doing business.”
“It’s a real sad day for the state of Maine. We took, I thought, with the 125th Legislature, that we took two steps forward for the state. Today, I think we took three steps back. I really feel bad for today.”
While admittedly not a complete version of the Governor’s press conference (full audio here), the above was almost 15 minutes’ worth of it and many of Maine’s various media were in attendance, including reporters from formerly access denied Portland Press Herald:
In an impromptu news conference right after Wednesday’s final override vote in the Senate, LePage reacted calmly, but strongly. He criticized Republicans and Democrats alike for a plan that “solidified our place as the 50th worst place to do business for the foreseeable future.”
He said the Legislature is a “country club” where lawmakers are more interested in getting along with each other than with him.
As Lewiston Sun Journal reported, LePage said he was considering his options:
LePage said he would be consulting more with his family before deciding whether he would seek a second term as governor.
“I am going to be meeting with my family at some point and we are going to be talking it over,” LePage said. “Quite frankly, I don’t know how you recover from this. I really don’t know how you recover from a tax increase. This is a giant obstacle. It’s like having a giant hole in the bottom of your ship and you are trying to get across the pond.”
During the press conference, the Governor repeatedly called his originally submitted budget “a good budget” (so good that the silence from his caucus’ after the State of the State address was deafening) and repeatedly backtracked on his 2009 stance regarding revenue sharing.
To review the clip of 2009 Waterville Mayor Paul LePage denouncing revenue sharing cuts to his then-city:
LePage was critical of the Democrats in leadership who would not talk to him about the budget, again called out the Appropriations Committee for not allowing him to speak on mic, in particular the Republicans on the committee and then called out House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) as “having not been around” to talk with or had been “unwilling to talk to me”, that the Republican Party is not a strong one currently in Maine, and was unaware that the energy omnibus bill that he had vetoed had been overturned in the House and heading for the Senate.
It needs to be noted that while many communities denounced the Governor’s budget, not a single one even attempted to pass a resolution supporting LePage, a point raised by Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland) during this week’s Democratic leadership media availability event.
But apparently the coverage was not sufficient for the Governor, as he decided to declare yesterday’s disaster a “mulligan” and try again to explain himself to the Maine people, today going before the camera once more, with his office releasing the following footage this afternoon.
Roll the clip:
From the accompanying press release:
- Governor Paul R. LePage speaks out about why he could not support the Legislature’s budget, which included tax increases, in a new video released by the Office of the Governor.
In the five-minute video, the Governor shares his thoughts about how higher taxes will affect Mainers and condemns decreased funding to programs like Jobs for Maine Graduates.
In the video, he notes that tax increases will have a devastating effect on the elderly and Mainers who live within their own budgets. Sales, meals and lodging taxes will be increased to fund the state budget.
“Retired mill workers living on fixed incomes; elderly widows collecting Social Security; and our veterans, who receive nothing more than their military pension—each of them care about this tax increase,” Governor LePage said.
“We are already one of the highest taxed states in the nation. We have some of the lowest per capita income in the country. Now is not the time to ask Mainers to give more to fund government… For some legislators, it was more important to count votes and reject my proposals than do what is right for our citizens.”
“Maine people deserve a considered, reasoned debate, and they will hold legislators responsible for their decisions… It is time to look past the next election and look forward to the next generation.”
This sort of passive-aggressive communication by Maine’s Chief Executive brings back memories of the inexplicable and strange video released in last January, as former CBS reporter now LePage staffer Adrienne Bennett displayed a remarkable lack of journalistic integrity by “interviewing” the governor:
Harder thrown pitches than these can be seen at a playground Whiffle ball game… Now, I love a good train wreck sort of news story as much as the next person, but this is just getting sad.
In his opening statement, The Governor claims “not to be a politician and be a blue collar governor”. Gotta call a 1 stroke penalty for this one!
Ann LePage:“He was what my dad always called a ‘white collar. My dad said, ‘Ann, for god’s sake, he’s a white collar. He doesn’t know how to work.’”
LePage garners another stroke regarding the claims that the sales tax on meals and lodging will affect Maine businesses. Watch this from Rep. Jethro Pease (R-Morrill) from yesterday:
Rep. Kim Monaghan-Derrig (D-Cape Elizabeth) agreed:
And it goes downhill from there, enough so that Bangor Daily News shared Governor LePage’s “Mulligan” as part of a larger piece, asking “Does Governor LePage Still Matter?”
Then there is this: “Gov. LePage’s recent actions cry out for an intervention”.
And this in the PPH. Maine Voices: Assistant GOP leader: Governor’s behavior sets unfortunate tone in Augusta
That one by Senate Assistant Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) even made it into the Washington Post: Top Maine Republican legislator: ‘I am embarrassed’ by LePage.
Heh. Wonder how Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) feels about that (“Top Republican”) interesting mistype?
An argument could possibly be made that the Governor sees himself as having a “Tin Cup” moment, but the reality here is indeed something entirely different.
Time to sign your card and call it a day, Governor…