Squeeze in and make room — I wanted to talk to all of you 2012 Republican legislative candidates at the same time.

Welcome to the first briefing from the Paul LePage Political Consultant Group, where we will be giving you the advice you need to face the voters in November.

The first and most important thing to remember: Stick with Gov. LePage and do whatever he does. This is the secret to your political future.

Talking points: Hit the Forbes report heavy. For the second year in a row, the magazine that likes to be called a “capitalist tool” (go figure) has placed Maine as the last of the 50 states in its ranking of the worst places to do business.

Don’t get off message when someone points out that the same magazine ranked Portland as one of the best cities in America for young professionals. Everyone knows that Portland isn’t really in Maine, so it doesn’t count. It’s really part of suburban Boston, and they can have it. Have you seen what they get for a meal in Portland?

We’ve got a MaineCare crisis. Use it. Be prepared to hear a lot of sob stories about all the senior citizens who will be turned out of their assisted-living homes, or the diabetics who will be in danger of life-threatening infections if they can’t pay for their own foot care.

Sure, poor kids won’t have Head Start, severely ill people won’t get help paying for prescriptions and thousands of working parents will lose their health insurance. Just keep saying this is a crisis (and it’s probably the Democrats’ fault).

Be prepared: We will be accused of demonizing the poor, and our opponents will trot out a long list of statements by the governor that could be twisted to look as if he is unsympathetic. Sure, grannies in nursing homes get MaineCare, but so do welfare cheats, and those are the ones we will focus on — whether we can find any or not.

If anybody accuses you of being unsympathetic, do what the governor does: Say “I was poor once, so I can say anything I want about poor people.” If you’ve never been poor, maybe you should think about getting that way between now and November.

And don’t get bogged down in arguing about the cause of the shortfall. The governor says it comes from increased demand for services, and he’s right — at least about 3 percent of the deficit.

The rest comes from math errors and failure to budget by the governor’s team, who came into office and were expected to build a budget right away.

The important thing to focus on is not what caused the shortfall but who’s going to pay for it, and it won’t be the people who made the mistakes.

Don’t forget to list our accomplishments:

We have lowered the cost of health insurance for small businesses, especially if those businesses have young, healthy employees and are located in Portland. For those of you who represent older, rural residents who may have seen 35 percent increases in their premiums for next year, you can always blame Obama.

And don’t forget the tax cuts. Under the leadership of Gov. LePage, we passed the biggest tax cut in Maine history benefiting the state’s highest wage earners. Tax cuts for people with pensions are going to be part of the supplemental budget debated this session.

We may be cutting health insurance for working-poor families, but we will be providing tax relief for pensioners, which would bring more of these retired job-creators back to full-time residency in the state.

Why would a retiree with a lot of money want to spend his winters in Florida? There’s only one reason — taxes. We’ve got to cut those taxes, and the rich folks will come flooding back.

This is the plan, and any Republican who wants to face the voters in November should stick with the governor and ride to victory.

We have the research to prove it: Follow this agenda, and you can expect to rake in 38 percent of the vote.

And as long as you are running in a five-way race, that should be more than enough to put you over the top.

Hey, where are you guys going? The meeting isn’t over yet. We still have to talk about a right-to-work bill, voter ID and our plans for Martin Luther King Day. Don’t you want to hear the rest?


Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor. He can be contacted at 791-6481 or at [email protected]