If you weren’t lucky enough to catch Press Herald reporter Steve Mistler’s live Periscope feed (and kudos to him for bringing some new technology to coverage of Maine politics), you can view the whole thing, in three segments, on Andi Parkinson’s Youtube channel.
Here, in no particular order, are five of my favorite parts:
Rep. Fredette’s plea for dignity
Immediately after LePage launched his first broadside, including personal insults and attacks against Democratic leaders, Republican House Leader Ken Fredette took the podium to criticize Democrats for (and I’m not making this up) being “disrespectful” and engaging in “the politics of personal destruction.” He had no similar criticisms for the governor.
It was a discordant note, to say the least.
So much for transparency
“I don’t put anything in writing, because of [Maine’s Freedom of Access Act], and I’m not bashful about saying that,” said LePage, responding to a question about a FOAA request by Senator Dawn Hill through which she is attempting to uncover information about his relationship with PUC commissioners he has appointed. “You’re welcome to all my notes. If you can read them, god bless you, because the lawyers can’t.”
While LePage has said similar things before, they’re always humorous to hear, both because of LePage’s many previous promises to have the “most transparent administration” in Maine history and my own experience with his office and FOAA requests, one of which took more than a year to fill (perhaps because his lawyers couldn’t read his notes).
Not in Kansas anymore
At one point during the 55-minute event, LePage took some time to laud the supposed strong economic performance of Kansas after that state’s large income tax cuts.
As Amy Fried points out. He couldn’t have picked a worse example.
Senatorial silent treatment
An obvious feature of the staging of the event was that LePage was flanked by several Republican House allies, but no GOP Senators were present. When asked if he thought Senate Republicans were on board with his proposals, LePage was quick to answer: “No, they’re not.”
When asked why not, LePage claimed not to know.
“I don’t know, they won’t talk,” said LePage. “I had a meeting the other day witht eh Republicans the other day and not one single word was said, so I don’t know. They won’t tell me.”
Apparently Senate Republicans are negotiating a separate deal with Democratic leaders.
LePage got a little confused when discussing the three-legged stool of state and municipal revenue (income, sales and property taxes) and repeatedly expressed a desire to make the state more like a “two-legged bicycle.”
This may be the most quotable phrase of the event and I think it’s a perfect metaphor for his confused and unlikely policy goals.