Wednesday, April 23, 2014
By SAM KAMIN
In his Maine Sunday Telegram column of June 30 ("LePage must seize chance for change"), Dan Demeritt offers some sensible political advice to Gov. LePage for his remaining years in office.
Unfortunately, since the governor declines to read Maine newspapers he may not be aware of Demeritt's suggestions, much less give them the consideration they deserve.
Demeritt advises LePage "to stop complaining about the makeup of the Legislature and own the fleeting opportunity he has to shape the opinion of the voters who ultimately decide Maine's direction."
Sadly, Demeritt's counsel comes too late; irreparable damage has been done. The "fleeting opportunity" has flown. LePage's propensity to "speak his mind freely" has offended and alienated too many people far too long. The fact that he views himself as the perpetual victim, never apologizing for his antagonistic temperament, does him no credit.
When LePage first took the oath of office he had the golden opportunity to implement (as per Demeritt's assessment of his character) "his great principles, his great strengths as a leader, his steadfast resolve and passion as a leader."
Instead he chose to "speak his mind freely" and in the process, succeeded in offending and alienating the very constituents he needs to support his decisions and respect his leadership. As a result, his questionable message was lost in his unwise choice of language, and did not resonate with the majority of Maine voters and their duly elected representatives.
Demeritt perceives the budget bill veto override not as a setback for LePage but as a "springboard" for his re-election and a starting point for Maine's future. This statement might have some credibility if LePage had offered compromise instead of abuse.
As of this late date, if the majority of Maine voters have no respect for Le-Page, he has only himself to blame.
Sam Kamin is a resident of Cumberland.