December 7, 2012

Bill Nemitz: Smile Guv! You're in public office!

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AIRING IT OUT

Tune in to NewsRadio 560 WGAN at 8:08 a.m. today to hear columnist Bill Nemitz talk about this column and other issues.

One logical answer: The sight of Democrats wielding the gavels in both the House and Senate makes the Guv's skin crawl. And he needed an excuse, any excuse, to avoid having to sit down with them and go about the business of ... what's the word ... governing.

It's not as if LePage doesn't know how to be a regular guy. Heck, moments after administering the oath of office to Senate President Alfond, he actually shook Alfond's hand and then playfully tugged on the finger of Alfond's 1-year-old son, Jacoby. (We can only imagine the governor's disappointment when the little tyke didn't break wind.)

But to truly appreciate the depths of LePage's dysfunction, consider what's going on around him as he fumes about trackers and shuns an entire branch of state government.

Rather than huddle with legislative leaders and deal with an unexpected $35.5 million drop in tax revenues, LePage announced Thursday that he'll do it unilaterally with a yet-to-be-specified "curtailment order."

Rather than get out in front of a projected $100 million budget shortfall in the never-a-dull-moment Department of Health and Human Services, he alienated even members of his own party in the Legislature by ruining the one day their families come to the State House to shower them with pride. (Remember that the first time the Legislature musters enough votes for a veto override.)

And rather than accept that whenever a governor speaks in public these days it's guaranteed that someone just hit the "record" button, he's hiding from "the loyal opposition" until they call off the guy with the camera.

We can only hope, as the political reality of the next two years sets in, we'll have a January thaw in the Blaine House.

Maybe LePage will even accept Alfond's handwritten invitation, delivered Thursday, for LePage and his wife, Ann, to have dinner "at a place of your choice" with Alfond and his wife, Rachael. (Hmmm ... tap water or Perrier?)

But before Augusta grinds completely to a halt, LePage would do well to check out those "Candid Camera" DVDs. The ones in which all kinds of people get recorded saying and doing all kinds of nutty things -- and nobody seems to care a whit.

So enough scowling, Gov. LePage. The next time you see that camera pointed your way . . .

Smile! You're in public office!

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

bnemitz@mainetoday.com

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