December 30, 2012

Bill Nemitz: How can Maine top a year like 2012? Let me count the ways

How can Maine top a year like 2012? Coming soon to a front page near you ...

Gov. Paul LePage finally accepts Maine Senate President Justin Alfond's invitation to dinner at an eatery of LePage's choosing. Alfond tactfully orders a salad, while LePage opts for the Happy Meal.

Bruce Poliquin defies a court order that he vacate the state treasurer's office after Neria Douglass, his replacement, arrives to find the door locked and deadbolted. The standoff ends when Douglass agrees to allow Poliquin to issue one press release per week from "The Office of Former State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin," doing business as the Popham Beach Club.

Former state Republican Chairman Charlie Webster gives up his plumbing-and-heating business to become a private investigator. His specialty: tracking down and exposing people who didn't exist in the first place.

Retired U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and former Secretary of State Charlie Summers simultaneously visit the same Portland area supermarket. Neither Snowe nor her onetime protege speak as they pass each other in the frozen food aisle.

Portland's City Council, in an attempt to "get out in front of rising sea levels caused by global warming," orders the permanent evacuation of Commerical Street. Waterfront attorney Dan Lilley, representing J's Oyster bar, promises to "fight this outrage until hell freezes over."

Hell freezes over.

In a final, desperate attempt to keep his name in the news, opponent of all things homosexual Michael Heath officiates at the wedding of two gay men. Following the painfully awkward ceremony, Heath tells the media, "The devil made me do it."

The devil demands an apology.

Zumba instructor Alexis Wright's prostitution case ends in a mistrial after the judge receives a handwritten note from the jury foreman. Wright, the foreman complains, "won't stop undressing me with her eyes."

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, miffed at how much time her new Maine counterpart, Sen. Angus King, is getting on national television, announces she will no longer appear on the Sunday morning talk shows. "Meet the Press," "Face the Nation" and "This Week" all scramble to book King for his reaction.

State Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, testifying in favor of her bill to fully legalize marijuana in Maine, shocks the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee by lighting up a joint halfway through her prepared remarks. Losing her place, Russell cheerfully offers to withdraw her bill in exchange for "something munchy."

Maine's tea party movement boils away. Supporters of Ron Paul get the vapors.

Eliot Cutler stuns the entire state by announcing that he will not run again for governor. Longtime political operative Dennis Bailey is treated at Maine Medical Center for two broken hands after giving himself repeated high fives.

Due to persistent glitches in its computer software, the Department of Health and Human Services reveals that it cannot account for one of the H's in "DHHS." A frustrated Commissioner Mary Mayhew announces that until further notice, "we can deal with health or humans, but not both."

A group calling itself "Concealed Weapon Carriers of Maine" holds a "concealed carry walk" around Portland's Back Cove on a busy Sunday afternoon. Nobody notices.

Maine's Democratic Party announces that in lieu of a statewide primary, it will henceforth advertise for gubernatorial candidates on Craigslist.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center releases an in-depth report calling for the repeal of Maine's income tax, local property tax, inheritance tax and severe curtailments of the sales, gasoline and excise taxes. The report's title: "Revenues -- Who Needs 'em?"

The Maine People's Alliance responds with an even heftier report titled, "Ummm ... We Do."

Seething from the Democratically controlled Legislature's 50th consecutive override of his veto, Gov. LePage abruptly announces, "I quit!" Within seconds, Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley administers the oath of office to Gov.-designate Justin Alfond.

To which LePage responds, "Wait. What?"

And so it begins ...

Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:

bnemitz@mainetoday.com

 

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