FARMINGTON – As the sound and fury of the 2010 campaign rises to its crescendo, it may be useful to relax a little and consider the shape of things to come in our state and in the nation.

The immediate problem our next governor will face is the billion-dollar deficit expected in the next budget.

Assume that Paul LePage is our next governor with a Republican majority in the Senate and enlarged minority in the House. His central objective is to make Maine business-friendly by reducing the burden of taxation and by rationalizing and easing our regulatory systems.

Both objectives are served by enhanced efficiency in government operations and by reducing the influence of special interests. It follows that, in the short term, he plans to address the anticipated deficit by cuts.

Comprehensive reform will occupy him for four, perhaps eight, years. There can be no sudden transformation, and every measure he proposes will be strenuously opposed.

Eliot Cutler, should he win, will have separated himself from a lifetime of service to the Democratic Party on the grounds that the party has become a tool of special interests. It seems to follow that he will need the support of Republican legislators to enact the programs and reforms he proposes.

They, by his reasoning, are less influenced by the special interests to which he objects. He has attacked the Maine Education Association from the start as chief among those special interests.

He and LePage agree that Maine’s educational system is not delivering results commensurate with its expense. It’s unclear whether he plans for the government to spend more or less.

Libby Mitchell, who wishes to be known as the “education governor,” has the endorsement of the MEA and proposes to extend education down to the crib and to subsidize increased participation in higher education.

If she has any plans for dealing with the deficit, she has not disclosed them. She wants to renegotiate the liquor franchise deal but has said she doesn’t want the problematic gains swallowed up by the deficit.

She has not disclosed any plans for increased taxation, but they would seem inevitable if the deficit is to be bridged without cuts.

At the national level, all the nonpartisan polls predict a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives., the most comprehensive overview of polling results, has shown a consistent trend of safe Democratic seats turning into likely Democratic seats, the “likelies” becoming “leaning Democrat” and the “leaners” becoming “toss-ups.”

There is almost no contrary movement for GOP candidates.

The Democratic incumbents in Maine still lead their Republican opponents and have enormous advantages in campaign funds.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is identified by as a member of Congress’s bipartisan “obscure caucus” because of his lack of influence or achievement. When challenged by his 2nd District opponent, Jason Levesque, during the MPBN debate to enumerate the legislation he has enacted, he was able to name only a single doubtful example.

As a member of the future minority in the House, his influence will sink to zero and re-electing him will be equivalent to leaving the seat vacant. Voters might find this option attractive. At least he can do no harm.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, a member of the “Progressive Caucus,” presents an interesting case in the 1st District. Her name had been on a list at the American Socialist Voter website as a member of Democratic Socialists of America, but the list seems to have disappeared.

An e-mail inquiry sent to her office produced no response. As fiancee to S. Donald Sussman, the billionaire hedge fund manager and political hobbyist, she has the glittering prospect of perpetual incumbency.

Once married, she can legally draw on unlimited campaign funding and will almost certainly try for a Senate seat. Despite publicly deploring the influence of money in politics, she seems quite comfortable out-spending her opponents 4-to-1.

Those of us gifted with a certain sense of humor will be able to enjoy the spectacle of an advocate of income redistribution flying between luxurious mansions in the Virgin Islands, Greenwich, Conn., and North Haven aboard a $54 million jet.

I think we can expect a nifty palace in Georgetown to be added to the list of her destinations if she is re-elected and marries.

Say what you wish about American political life. It never lacks entertainment.