Gov. LePage won the gubernatorial election this month, or did he? He was victorious on Election Day but the price was bloody. Cutler walked away unhappy from the race; Michaud and his supporters are going through a silly do-you-believe-he-won-re-election phase.

So what does Gov. LePage do?

W.W.A.L.D. What Would Abraham Lincoln Do?

Did you see the movie last year about President Lincoln and how he dealt with the people he ran against in a political campaign – “Team of Rivals”?

He decided, once he won the Presidency, to ask each of his rivals to play a formal role in his administration.

Odd.

Brilliant.

Successful!

Lincoln’s rationale was that he had just gone through a rough donnybrook of a campaign, and that the only way to help the country – and his opponents and their may friends – to forget the campaign, and put it behind them, was to involve them in the new venture.

Gov. LePage should do the same with his two rivals: Eliot Cutler and Mike Michaud.

What to appoint these two former opponents to in the government? What would each like? What would they be good at? What commissionership could they perform and do good things for the people of Maine, and not cause any problems in any way for the LePage administration?

One of Mike Michaud’s pet issues in the campaign was health care. He said Obamacare had insured thousands of Mainers.

Michaud also has done much work with veterans in Congress. He is tuned in – both good and bad – to the problems with vets’ care.

The topic of health care has been one on which the LePage administration and the Maine Legislature have been at odds. Commissioner of Health and Human Services in Augusta might be a good spot for Michaud. The Democrats in the Legislature might see Michaud’s presence in that post as assurance that LePage will at least always comply with federal health laws.

As for Cutler, his gig seemed economic development. He was critical of the governor on the effort to bail out the Great Northern Paper Co. in Millinocket. A Wall Street investment firm, Cate Street Capital, is accused of snookering the locals, getting a pile of money up front ($20 million?) to save the company, and taking tax breaks and selling them elsewhere, and also paying its buddy investors back when the deal went sour instead of paying local Maine vendors and suppliers. Cutler said he has a background in how to do sensible deals in this area. He said LePage had conducted Amateur Hour.

LePage could appoint Cutler to commissioner of economic development. Citizens critical of the Great Northern deal would like this. Democrats would be glad to see the Governor, who has focused much on food stamp recipients buying 3.25 cents worth of candy in 7-Elevens in acts of welfare fraud, now focused on corporate welfare fraud involving, not candy bats, but $20 million in payments and guarantees, and sold tax breaks worth more millions. Gov. LePage, meanwhile, would get better advice and deals.

If Gov. LePage made these appointments, he would be saying two things: First, you both are smart, experienced guys in your field. Come help make Maine a better state; and, second, we fought in the campaign, but let’s put that petty squabble aside, get you involved, and move forward.

It worked for President Lincoln, a Republican. It might work for Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican. “Team of Rivals The Sequel.” Coming to a Statehouse near you.

Dan Warren is a trial lawyer in Scarborough, and can be reached by private Facebook message on the Jones & Warren page, or by email at [email protected].


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