March 22, 2013

Bill Nemitz: Looks like LePage is awakening

By Bill Nemitz

(Continued from page 1)

Your administration dashed off a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius reversing your previous course on the Medicaid expansion. You now say Maine wants in as long as the feds pay the full freight for 10 years – although I have a hunch that precondition will be but a fading memory by this weekend.

You unveiled a $100 million bond package for roads, bridges and other transportation packages. Looks like bonds might be "the answer to our problems" after all, huh Governor?

And that promise to veto whatever hits your desk until the hospital bill is paid?

In addition to the green-beer bill you so ceremoniously signed, you let six more pieces of passed legislation sail into the law books without so much as lifting your veto pen.

Now I'm not sure if you realize this, Governor, but the new you has the whole state of Maine in a tizzy.

Your conservative base is appalled. As one poster on the right-leaning chat room As Maine Goes put it, "I'm so confused by this. After years of talk of conservative principles, this is really heartbreaking to watch."

Over on the left, they've all died and gone to heaven. Blogging under the headline "Has LePage Become a Socialist?", Portland uber-progressive Ethan Strimling gushed, "If LePage expands government to insure more people, build much-needed infrastructure, and inject millions into our economy to create jobs, count me in."

Then there are the cynics who point to the fast-approaching 2014 gubernatorial election and dismiss this as so much pandering to Maine's coveted independent voters. ("Hmmm," I can hear those undecideds musing, "maybe he's not so crazy after all.")

As for me, Governor, I'm channeling that triumphant moment in "Awakenings," when the patient played by Robert De Niro looks into a rolling camera and says, "Hello. My name is Leonard Lowe. It has been explained to me that I've been away for quite some time. I'm back."

Of course, Leonard's miracle cure eventually wears off. And alas, Governor, so might whatever's floating your boat these days.

But until then, Big Guy, let me be the first of many Mainers to welcome you to the real world.

You've been away for quite some time.


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


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