AUGUSTA — Two weeks after Gov. LePage’s out-of-control conduct sparked a whirlwind of outcry and a huge wave of negative national and international media scrutiny on our state, Republicans have protected the governor from facing any consequences for his actions and enabled him to continue dragging Maine into dysfunction.

Mainers were outraged after the governor, in commenting about the drug crisis, repeatedly peddled inaccurate, offensive racial stereotypes that do nothing to solve this public epidemic. They were shocked at the obscene and threatening voice mail he left for a state representative during a rage-filled episode. They were united in demanding the governor be held accountable for his actions.

Now, they are united in disbelief. The Maine Legislature will do nothing. The governor will face no consequences for his conduct or the damage he’s done.

As the Democratic leaders in the Legislature, we also can’t believe this story’s ending. We believed that his behavior had risen above the usual fray of partisan politics. We believed that if anything at all could bring the parties together, surely it was this.

Republicans proved us wrong.

House Republicans, the governor’s chief water-carriers for the past six years, made it clear from the outset that they felt action was unnecessary. They were content to move on with little more than a wag of their fingers in response to the governor’s increasingly erratic and menacing behavior.

We thought we had a partner in Senate Republicans who seemed to understand the gravity of the situation. Senate President Michael Thibodeau said that any other person in Maine would find themselves “unemployed” for behaving the way Gov. LePage did. He said Republicans were serious about holding the governor accountable.

To be clear, there were differences of opinion about what course of action the Legislature should take. But making the governor reckon with the repercussions of his actions would require a special session of the Legislature. It was the only way to hold the governor accountable.

Lawmakers were not asked to support any particular measure – they were asked a simple yes-or-no question about their willingness to take any action. Calling the Legislature in to deal with the governor’s conduct was a basic test of leadership, and a simple one at that.

Republicans failed that test.

All but four of 68 House Republicans voted in lockstep to reject the speaker’s call for a special session, blocking the possibility of the House reconvening. The Senate president reneged on his calls for action by refusing to even ask the 35 senators whether they’d like a chance to weigh in on the issue.

When push came to shove, neither the House Republicans nor the Senate Republicans had the courage to take action and declare, as so many of their constituents had: Enough is enough.

Instead of action, they offered excuses. Instead of accountability, they gave LePage a pass.

Their inaction means whatever consequences should have been faced by the governor will instead be faced by our state. LePage is doing serious, repeated damage to Maine.

Every time he hurls insults at people of color, at women or at whomever else he needlessly demeans on any given week, the governor threatens Maine’s economy. Just this weekend, hundreds of newspapers across the country featured an Associated Press story about the potential damage a Le-Page-caused boycott could have on Maine’s $5.6 billion tourism industry. which employs nearly 100,000 Mainers.

Aside from the negative media attention and looming threat of boycott, LePage creates needless distractions from the important work ahead. By forcing the state to constantly reckon with his manufactured chaos, he prevents us from spending our time debating and moving forward to make Maine a renewable energy leader, improve our schools or build upon Maine’s unique competitive advantages in the regional, national and global marketplaces.

Instead, we spend our time trying to heal the damage caused over and over by our destructive, out-of-control governor. The cycle continues.

The Legislature had a real chance to put the best interests of Mainers ahead of politics. Democrats did everything we could to seize that chance, and Republicans ensured it was out of reach.

We’re comfortable with our decisions. They will have to live with the consequences of theirs.