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Maine runs on a biennial budget; the current one ends on 30 June 2013. Last week Gov. Paul LePage, a Tea Party Republican, announced that projections show that the State is short $35 million, and that he is contemplating curtailing spending to keep the budget balanced. This would involve across the board cuts to all State agencies, proportional to their size.

This news came just days after Maine Democrats recaptured both chambers of the Maine Legislature, which will begin work in earnest just after the new year begins. Any supplemental budget bill to address the $35 million shortfall would be one of the first items on the new legislature's calender.

To that end, a meeting was scheduled for this morning between Gov. LePage and the newly minted legislative leaders, from both parties.

That is, until Gov. LePage abruptly announced at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast early this morning that he was cancelling the meeting, because he's upset that there is a tracker at most of his pubic events:

Governor Paul R. LePage released the following statement today, challenging Democrats to start working together for Maine people by calling off their hired political operative who has been intrusively tracking the Governor on a hand-held videocamera at all public events, including domestic violence awareness rallies, Blaine House food drives and visits to veterans homes:

“For several months now, the Maine Democratic Party has hired a political cameraman to follow me wherever I go. I have not made an issue about this practice nor did it bother me until Veterans Day. On that day, I had the privilege to speak with an elderly Maine Veteran whose health is deteriorating. There was no need to have filmed this private discussion for political purposes.

"The people of Maine are not props and I will not allow these special interest groups to use them to score political points.  

"Today, I was scheduled to return to Augusta from an event the so-called 'tracker' attended and meet with Democrat leadership about putting politics aside and working together for all Mainers. However, until the Democratic leadership calls on its party organization to remove the 'tracker,' I will not have that meeting.

"If Democrats truly want to work together, they will publicly call for an end to this distasteful practice. Actions speak louder than words."

Like them or not, trackers are a part of the political landscape now. And for a politician like LePage, they are really a requirement - this is the man that has told the NAACP to "kiss his butt", that women concerned about environmental contaminants can "grow little beards"; that eagle nests can be moved because "eagles don't pay taxes"; etc.

LePage is one of the poster boys for tracking.

For their part, the Maine Democrats issued the following statement:

Governor LePage promised us the most open and transparent Government in Maine's history and yet here he is, publicly attacking a man for video taping his events. What does he have to hide? If LePage has a problem with his public events being taped or recorded, perhaps he should rethink his role in Government. For now though, our tracker will continue doing his job. This Governor doesn't get a free pass to say things in private, while saying something different in public. Does anyone after two years of this administration really believe there isn't a good case for recording the Governor's public statements?
The 126th Maine Legislature will be sworn in tomorrow, 5 December. Both the new Senate President, Justin Alfond, and new Speaker of the House, Mark Eves, have expressed a genuine interest in working with Gov. LePage. The both had statements regarding the cancellation:
Speaker-Elect Eves: We’re disappointed to see the governor take this approach. We have very serious fiscal challenges before us and we were looking forward to meeting with the governor to get to work. The problems we face are too big for one party to solve alone.

Senate President-elect Alfond: We continue to stand ready to work with the governor. We have to put party politics aside if we are going to get to work on strengthening our economy and rebuilding our middle class. The task is too great to be squandered by fighting before we even get started.

It looks like it's going to be a long next two years.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Governor Le Page, a tracker is a feature of (10+ / 0-)

    the kitchen. If he raise the heat too much, Harry Truman's advice still stands.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:07:03 PM PST

  •  So what's LePage's approval ratings? Can Koch (7+ / 0-)

    billions save his job?

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:11:24 PM PST

  •  ugh. painful. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, Compostings, JBL55

    did the good people of maine keep the receipt? what's the returns policy at marden's these days?

    If LePage has a problem with his public events being taped or recorded, perhaps he should rethink his role in Government.

    i try to keep tabs on goings-on back in the homestate from the left coast. invariably, news reports that include the words "paul" and "lepage" in immediate succession, tend to generate hair-pulling and teeth grinding on the part of yours truly.

    a long two years indeed. fingers crossed that he's one term and out, as it has been obvious from the get go that neither his temperament nor the dim-bulb level of wattage in his gray matter region set him up for the level of public service that the people of maine deserve.

    "everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey." -john lennon

    by homo neurotic on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:24:10 PM PST

    •  I believe he never has had any intent of (3+ / 0-)

      running for a second term. They have the house in Florida, and now that a State pension is secured, I think he will find some reason to step aside.

      Should that happen, it will create the same frenzy that we saw in March, when Sen. Olympia Snowe announced that she would not seek another term.

      Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

      by Spud1 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 04:32:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  can he be recalled? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    would be well worth it if possible

  •  Dumb Independent Candidates In Maine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, JBL55

    These Independent Candidates need to wake up and realize that all they do is split the democratic vote.

    That's how you get wackos like Paul LePage in a blue state.

    And you go to deal with him for another two years.

    •  Actually, the two major parties - especially (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the Democrats - could stop fighting any suggestion of using some sort of instant runoff voting. Libby Mitchell may well have won in 2010 if IRV was in place.

      Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

      by Spud1 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 07:41:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not IRV (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        IRV doesn't function the way most proponents believe it does.

        It carries at least as much incentive to lie on your ballot (or to vote strategically if we want to be nice about it) as first past the post.

        You'd be better off with Approval, certainly. Simple and much better.

        If you are up for more complexity, which IRV certainly introduces, then Range or Condorcet are clearly superior. (They are clearly superior unless your goal is to make it look like there has been election reform when there hasn't been.)

        IRV doesn't come close to doing what most of its proponents claim.

        IRV encourages strategic voting. In Approval, there is never any incentive for lying when you vote. You will never be punished for answering the questions honestly. In the more complicated Range/Score or the much more complicated Condorcet, you will not be punished for ranking the list honestly. You will never have the incentive to falsely fill out your ballot. In IRV, just like in our actual Plurality (First Past the Post) system, you will be faced with having to strategically vote, that is to cast your ballot in such a way that it doesn't actually reflect your preferences but requires you to guess what the likely outcomes will be and then submit a false ballot in such a way that you calculate will be most likely to achieve the least cruddy result. Sometimes, in an IRV system, voting for someone can make them lose. Sound absurd? Of course it is. But it is straightforwardly the case in IRV that there are situations where by voting for the candidate that you actually want to win, you can cause them to lose.

        Let's go back to Bush, Gore, Nader. Let's assume that your honest rankings for these candidates were Nader>Gore>Bush. Under First-Past-the-Post, you have to decide what the chances are for Nader to actually win the election and what the difference between Nader v. Gore is and what the difference between Gore v. Bush is. The position for most of us who thought that Nader>Gore was that there was an infinitesimal chance of Nader winning, and Gore>>>Bush. Thus we voted Gore (or we engaged in some sort of technically illegal vote-trading exercise perhaps, if we lived in an appropriate location). In IRV, if we expressed our vote honestly N>G>B, then we could actually cause Bush to win. Under Approval (yes/no vote for each candidate), voting yes for Nader can never cause Gore to lose to Bush. In Range/Score, putting Nader first can never cause Gore to lose to Bush. In IRV it can.

        Before a third party reaches enough political significance to actually be a threat to win an election, then IRV is meaningless except symbolically. Once a third party reaches enough political significance that it is a serious threat to actually win an election, then the very same problems with plurality First-Past-the-Post elections occur. You will have to scheme when you vote. If you think that N>G>>>B, then you have to seriously consider top-ranking Gore in order to avoid a spoiler effect.

        IRV leads to two-party dominance. It does so theoretically, and it does so actually. The countries in the world that have actually adopted IRV (Ireland, Australia, Malta) have entrenched two party systems.

        IRV nightmare scenarios are not that far-fetched. Here is a real world example (that led to the repeal of IRV in Burlington, Vermont).

        Here is the best website I can find that supports Range/Score.

        The Range vs IRV page is

        The Condorcet website that I used to send people to seems to have vanished into the ether.

        I think that it is still a matter of debate whether or not Approval, Range, or Condorcet (as well as a few other possibilities) is best. It is probably the case that circumstances alter which of these is right. It depends on how much you value simplicity and transparency and how important it is to eliminate rare pathologic outcomes. There are geeky, wankish arguments about outlier cases regarding the various Condorcet systems and why Range might avoid these. I'm not sure I'm convinced. I am definitely sure that IRV is a loser.

        The plural of anecdote is not data.

        by Skipbidder on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 08:11:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm with skip (0+ / 0-)

        I'm with Skip on this one.

        Regardless, The Indys need to stop screwing things up for the dems.

    •  Cutler's ego is too big. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There isn't coffee strong enough to wake him up.

      "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

      by JBL55 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:12:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  needs to wake up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'll be so pissed iff he runs. I hate how he and Augus (well, he did) think they can get the democrats by threatening a run to split the democratic vote.

        I'd love to have money to run a SuperPac and make the people of Maine realize the Indys running are just spliting the vote and waking them up to see Susan Collins as the republican hack that she really is.

  •  Show you got a pair, democrats. Call his bluff. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Send conservatives to for re-education.

    by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:42:25 PM PST

  •  You know, what I kind of feel sorry for the old (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    merrily1000, JBL55

    man. Maybe you would be too.

     "he's upset that there is a tracker at most of his pubic events: "

    Even a filthy slice of garbage like Governor Paul R. LePage deserves a modicum of privacy at certain times. I for one do not want to see the videos.

    Send conservatives to for re-education.

    by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:45:27 PM PST

  •  My husband & I were at the house swearing-in today (0+ / 0-)

    LePage was a dick.  He called for bipartisanship ("Democrat & Republican") while railing against "paparazzi."  In fact, the very first few sentences he spoke were about the tracker, and he seemed to think everyone in the room knew what he was talking about.  Maybe the legislators did, but in the galley there were more than a few confused looks.

    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

    by JBL55 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:08:34 PM PST

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