October 25, 2013

Two sides of LePage: He sometimes offends, but his focus is unwavering

Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

(Continued from page 18)

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Gov. Paul LePage has emerged as an anti-politician with his disdain for the sometime necessary tact required of political leaders.

Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

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“It’s pretty clear he enjoys the reputation and the notoriety he’s generated,” Linsky said. “It feeds his image of himself … he revels in his bluntness” because he reinforces his self-image.

Payne, the Portland businessman, said when LePage makes his extreme comments his supporters say, “Go Paul. Do it again. They’re enthralled by him.”

Epilogue: At the end of the day …

Public officials have two jobs: run the government and get re-elected.

To LePage’s legion of critics, he’s lost or losing on both counts.

Cutler said LePage’s tenure — despite some progress — adds up to “two and half years of a lost opportunity for the people of Maine.”

Eves, the Democratic speaker of the house, said voters will see that LePage “is driving businesses out of the state, denying health care to 70,000 Mainers.”

When it comes to governing, those less opposed to LePage cite the pension, hospital debt and business-friendly orientation as lasting policy improvements.

But as for everything else that has or will happen under Paul LePage, as Payne pointed out, “it’s a long horizon for history to catch up to what actually happened.”

Caron said, “The cup is half full and half empty when it comes to Paul LePage.”

‘I’m from another world” than the political one, LePage reflected. “I don’t expect to change the world, I just hope to improve the world.”

With the election one year away, voters will have some time to decide if he has improved their world.

Diamon said LePage was ill-suited for the job – “There’s no way he should be governor.” His accomplishments like fixing the pension and hospital debt “are not bread-and-butter issues to the average person.”

“I don’t see how he can recover” by the time of the election, Diamon said.

Bennett, the head of the GOP and the man with the task of getting LePage reelected, said, “I don’t think Maine people will deny him reelection based on style points.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “people generally get it.”

Naomi Schalit contributed to this story. Disclosure: Severin Beliveau, who is quoted in this story, contributed $250 to the Center in 2013.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is a nonpartisan, non-profit news service based in Hallowell. Email: mainecenter@gmail.com. Web: www.pinetreewatchdog.org.

Correction: In the Oct. 23 story, "The Book on Paul Lepage," The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting incorrectly reported the name of the state auditor responsible for the state audit released Dec. 21, 2012. The auditor responsible for the report was Neria Douglass. She became state treasurer in January and was replaced by Pola Buckley.

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