Governor LePage’s Transparency Problem

Governor LePage’s aversion to having his public statements recorded and demand that Democratic leaders repudiate the practice before he will meet with them is, in a word, hilarious.

This is the same guy who in 2010 declined to make the exact same gesture when asked by rival Eliot Cutler and whose own campaign secretly recorded private conversations with their intra-party rivals and shared them with me.

“Tracking is a check on hypocrisy, and pandering rhetoric from candidates. It is also harmless,” fellow BDN blogger Matt Gagnon wrote during that campaign. “Republican campaigns should expect Democrats to follow them around.  It is simply a fact of life, and as far as politics goes, is about the least dirty and abhorrent activity that goes on.”

The hilarity is enhanced by the fact that if anyone in the world should have his public remarks recorded, it should be LePage. He has a history of making untrue and offensive statements in public, like when he said he would tell President Barack Obama to go to hell during a campaign stop or when told a group of business leaders that you couldn’t get a good education in Maine’s public schools or that Maine’s Forbes ranking was low because of welfare spending. All these were made at public events.

The Maine Democratic Party isn’t stalking the governor or recording his private conversations.  It is sending a 23 year old to record the governor’s public comments at public events. Something the resources-strapped media can’t always do.  If the governor is so worried about being recorded, he should consider changing his public behavior.

But this isn’t really about tracking. This move by LePage is a bullying tactic. He’s testing the new Democratic leadership with an outrageous and obstinate demand to see if they will blink. If they show weakness, he’ll be on the attack for the next two years.