Following up on an item from Laura Conaway last week, Maine is now home to something fairly rare: divided political government. With most states going either “red” or “blue” in 2012, Maine voters elected a new Democratic majority in the state legislature to work with the Maine’s conservative, combative governor, Paul LePage (R).
At this point, however, the often-erratic governor doesn’t even want to chat with the incoming state Senate majority leader.
Gov. Paul LePage isn’t taking up the state Senate’s top Democrat on his offer to meet for an introductory dinner and discuss plans to work together as a new Legislature with Democratic majorities gets to work this winter.
LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said Monday the governor still wants the Legislature’s top leaders – Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland and House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick – to condemn the Maine Democratic Party’s use of a tracker to film LePage at all of his public appearances.
In literally every state, it is now common practice for parties – on both sides of the aisle – to send “trackers” to monitor the public appearances of governors, senators, congressional lawmakers, and candidates for each of these offices.
It’s probably unpleasant, but it’s also an unavoidable hassle for those seeking and holding prominent political offices in the 21st century. Some handle the pressure of being filmed gracefully, some don’t.
But in Maine, LePage finds the scrutiny of his public appearances so outrageous, he’s throwing a tantrum unlike anything we’ve seen from any public official in the country.
Indeed, the governor is ignoring a handwritten dinner invitation from the new Democratic Senate leader in the state, who offered to eat at a place of the governor’s choosing, along with their spouses. The Bangor Daily News reported that LePage won’t meet with the Democratic leaders “until they called on their party to stop tracking him.”
The chief executive of a state will consider talking to state legislative leaders as soon as they tell their friends to stop taking pictures of the governor in public?
LePage has routinely been an embarrassment to Maine since taking office two years ago, but this is just sad.