Dude, you were elected governor, not emperor.

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Dude, you were elected governor, not emperor.

Post by T on Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:30 pm

LePage emerges from showdown with new attitude
Apr 05, 2011 7:52 am

Everyone knew Dad was gradually losing control, raging about one thing or another, offending everyone.

That's when family members all came to the same conclusion at the same time: Only an intervention could save him from himself.

The political equivalent of that family drama played out Thursday in Augusta, as Republican legislative leaders confronted Gov. Paul LePage behind closed doors.

LePage has spent his first 90 days in office kicking people in the shins, sometimes for no good reason, and it had to stop.

He had offended everyone from bearded ladies to artists.

Then there were the summary firings of capable, non-political people, such as Dr. Dora Mills, Maine's respected top doctor for 15 years.

While the meeting with the Republican caucus was closed, we have to wonder if anyone confronted LePage with the obvious: Dude, you were elected governor, not emperor.

Since taking office three months ago, the governor has acted as if public support doesn't matter once you win the election.

From hiring his young daughter for a high-level administration job to warning his own party that he would veto any budget that deviated from his original spending plan, he's acted like a guy who didn't read the job description.

He is, after all, in an enviable position — a Republican governor with a Republican Legislature.

That should be enough to dramatically alter the state's priorities and direction. It's what Republicans have dreamed about for 30 years.

But it is possible to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and Republicans feared the governor was on the way to doing just that.

LePage calls himself a street fighter who battled his way to the top. But even people who get to the top need the goodwill of others to get things done once there.

“You could draw up a pretty extensive list of various constituencies across the state that Gov. LePage has managed to offend in one way or another,” political science professor Mark Brewer recently told The Associated Press. “And the fact that he's been in office for only a few months makes the size of that list all the more impressive.”

That's “impressive” in a bad way.

LePage emerged from Friday's Republican showdown a seemingly chastened man.

"It's all about getting back on topic," he told Maine Public Radio. "I told them that it's time that both the House and the Senate and the administration focus on the task at hand, and that's pension reform, health care reform, regulatory reform, energy reform and lowering the tax on Maine people."

Actually, the meeting was more about what they told him.

So, bravo to legislative Republicans willing to confront the governor, and to the eight who went further over the weekend by reinforcing the point in a newspaper op-ed.

The governor is on vacation this week, and the break couldn't come at a better moment.

Maybe he will take time in sunny Jamaica to reflect on the past 90 days, like the week in rehab that follows any good family intervention.

If he controls his temper, works with others and stays focused, this governor can still accomplish his goals.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.


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