This Sunday, Appropriations Committee Co-Chair State Senator Dawn Hill adjourned a budget writing committee session as Gov. LePage rose to speak. Her rationale, she stated, was that the session had already ended on a good note. The implication, of course, was that the only notes the Governor knows are combative, counter-productive, or a combination of the two.
LePage has suggested that he does not feel as though he was slighted, but the the Office of the Governor was. This is, of course, in LePage’s own words, bullshit.
The suggestion serves as a revision of the reputation LePage has built for himself and his occupation of the Office. He said that the the action was inappropriate before awkwardly bringing the legacies of Governors Baldacci and King into his assertion. Baldacci and King, it is fair to note, were not known for likening the legislature to a day care. Or for referring to the President of the Senate as a spoiled brat. Or for suggesting that they would like to punch a reporter in the face. And so-on. Any slight to the office actually seems directed toward what LePage has made of it which is, unfortunately, a mockery.
The Governor’s feigned surprise serves spin-saturated ignorance of his own record of lashing out at nearly any state politician that is not him and refusing to play unless his rules are explicitly adhered to. Were he not known for going out of his way to offend rather than to govern, the slight would have been inappropriate and a slight to the Office. Sen. Hill was, though, right to shut the Governor down before he was handed the opportunity to lob a LePagian bomb and derail whatever progress was made at the session. As—you know—that sort of thing is exactly what he is known for and everything.
The larger issue, of course, is that LePage (and his confidants who defend his behavior) believe so intensely in their own optics that they don’t realize when these kinds of actions look sloppy and reckless. This does not apply to the whole of Republicans, mind you, as many remain frustrated with this new combat-soaked status quo. The Party, however, is now overseen by the former Director of “Maine People Before Politics,” a LePage booster organization named in the so astoundingly (and cleverly) dishonest tradition of Newspeak that Orwell would have been jealous to not have coined it. These are the tendencies natural to LePage Republicans. To this cabal, it is likely that the the glaringly off-putting nature of these approaches doesn’t particularly matter. They will continue to—as they are already so apt to do—memorize the spin, internalize and unrepentantly repeat it for the next 18 months. In doing so, they are more likely to bore their way into a second term of bullying, spinning and—when held accountable for their crude behavior—playing the victim.