A few weeks ago, I wrote that as Gov. LePage realizes that he has no real power left he would become more erratic and vindictive. That is exactly what is happening now, as his second term reveals itself as a slow-motion trainwreck.

LePage is refusing to appoint people to boards and agencies, rendering parts of state government unable to function. This is an abdication of both his constitutional responsibilities and his oath of office.

Frustrated by a lack of support in Augusta for his ideas – some of which are good, others more politics than policy, and many just plain wacky – LePage is now apparently giving up on constitutional government altogether. He’s burned too many bridges in Augusta with fellow Republicans. He never built any bridges to Democrats. So now he’s decided to govern from outside of government, through referendums.

LePage is back on the campaign trail, hosting weekly meetings around the state pushing his ideas – which were soundly rejected by his fellow Republicans last spring – to anyone still listening.

Those meetings are a continuation of similar meetings he held over the winter to try to build a groundswell of support for his tax plan. They were wildly unsuccessful.

A while back, LePage was doing an interview at a local radio station when he was asked about the possibility that he could be impeached for his role in getting Democratic House Speaker Eves fired from his job.

His response was fascinating: “If Maine people want me to leave, they should just say so.”

Well folks, you’re about to get your chance.

LePage and the Maine Republican Party have decided that since the governor has no support in Augusta, they will take his case directly to the people of Maine. They’ll do that by using the citizens’ initiative process.

Small problem: The initiative procedure is meant to allow citizens to petition their government, not for one branch of government to circumvent the other.

Republicans expect to have a vote on their new and improved plan at the same time as the 2016 presidential election. What a coincidence. Of course, they’ve run at least four previous tax referendums in recent years, including three Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) efforts to cut spending, all of which failed.

The fourth was a successful initiative a few years back in opposition to many of the ideas that LePage is now championing.

This year, Republicans are taking that cynical campaign strategy to an entirely new level by subjecting us to a referendum on behalf of a governor who cannot govern.

What are they proposing? Well, that’s the fun part. Word has been leaking out of the Republican laboratory that we’ll get a steaming concoction of political slogans, bad ideas and dead beetles that will have a powerful, love-potion effect on voters.

They’ll promise to dramatically lower state taxes without any effect on your local property taxes, schools, roads or public safety. They’ll fix all those pesky welfare problems that nobody can find. Maybe push a boatload or two of immigrants back out to sea. And, of course, deliver a hot apple pie to everyone’s kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Pardon my cynicism. We have a governor. We have a Legislature, with one house controlled by the same party as that governor. We have a constitution and a framework for debating issues and making decisions. That’s the way we make laws.

But this governor is now going to abandon Augusta, out of frustration and hurt feelings, to use the citizens’ initiative process to circumvent the Legislature and his own party.

Oy. Pass me the pills.

Here’s my advice to voters who love Maine and have had enough of this particular soap opera, whether you’re a Democrat, independent or Republican. 

When you get into the voting booth and you’re looking at whatever these folks have come up with, remember this: the words on that page aren’t about making Maine better. They’re about political theater, manipulating anger and campaign posturing. 

Here’s what you get a chance to do, in that voting booth. Make your vote count as part of a referendum on LePage himself. Send the party and the Governor a message that even they will hear. And give the Governor exactly what he asked for. 

With a resounding ‘no’ vote, Mainers can tell LePage it’s time to do what’s best for Maine. It’s time to step down. 

INCIDENTALLY: I want to apologize for making fun of Donald Trump’s hair last week. Making fun of someone’s appearance, as I often tell our 10-year-old, is wrong. As to the rest of the column, I stand by it 100 percent.

Alan Caron is the owner of Caron Communications, a strategic consulting firm based in Freeport. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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