Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gubernatorial scorecard: What's behind the curtain?

Published in the Portland Phoenix

Here's our third Gubernatorial Scorecard, in which we score Governor Paul LePage on political savvy, and on whether what he's trying to do is good policy. Note the running total.

VEILED LOBBYING | LePage tried to create a "business advisory council," to allow key players in the state's economic scene to have direct access to the governor. After a statewide public and media outcry because LePage exempted the group entirely from the state's open-government law, the governor scrapped the idea.
POLITICS • Promoting transparency during the campaign turns to secrecy in office | 2/10 POLICY • He can still meet secretly with whomever he likes; this just avoids a fight about it | 7/10

VEILED THREATS | The governor has threatened to veto the budget if it changes from his proposals, despite the facts that 1) a two-thirds majority must pass the budget (automatically overriding any veto), and 2) compromise is the only way to get two-thirds support and avoid a government shutdown.
POLITICS • Shutting down the government is what his base really wants | 9/10 POLICY • Shows misunderstanding of the system | 1/10

VEILED HISTORY | The governor, on the basis of an anonymous note likening Maine to North Korea, ordered a huge mural in the Department of Labor office removed, saying the depictions of Maine's labor history were anti-business. The move spawned a satirical call for art from this newspaper (see below) and a real one from the state, as well as a scathing Sunday editorial in the New York Times and local and national media coverage mocking LePage for whitewashing reality.
POLITICS • Proves he'll do absolutely anything to promote jobs in Maine | 6/10 POLICY • This is his biggest pro-business move so far | 1/10

VEILED INFLUENCES | The governor celebrated the erection of an "Open for Business" sign at the Maine-New Hampshire border on I-95. The sign was made in Texas. And a couple of his campaign staffers launched a pro-LePage website, It's hosted in Utah.
POLITICS • Offers opponents easy distraction while his real agendas move forward | 8/10 POLICY • Needlessly thoughtless | 2/10

VEILED ACCESS | The famously mercurial, bullying governor promotes his open-door policy, welcoming anyone who wishes to speak with him. And yet he has posted a uniformed state trooper in his waiting room — in addition to his plainclothes bodyguard squad.
POLITICS • Job-creation success: one state trooper | 7/10 POLICY • Unclear whether the protection is for him, or from him | 4/10

This month's total | Politics 32/50 | Policy 15/50 | Last month: 32/50 | Policy 28/50 | Overall: Politics 88/150 | Policy 62/150