Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gubernatorial Scorecard: Consistently inconsistent

Published in the Portland Phoenix

One of Governor Paul LePage's most impressive performances, to date, has been his consistency. At times it has been without regard to reality or facts, but still, there's something impressive about a politician who stands up and says what he thinks, without caring which way the wind is blowing. No more. Herewith, our ninth Gubernatorial Scorecard, in which we score LePage on political savvy, and on whether what he's trying to do is good policy. Note the running total.
VOTING INCONSISTENCY | While LePage and his fellow activist-conservative Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers seem determined to bar people from registering to vote on Election Day, supporters of same-day registration have discovered that LePage himself registered to vote on Election Day 1982 in Waterville, and accused LePage of wanting to bar only his political opponents from participating in democracy.
POLITICS • It's a big national GOP issue, but doesn't make much sense to regular people | 5/10
POLICY • Honestly? Making it harder for people to vote? C'mon. | 1/10
FEDERAL INCONSISTENCY | The guy who proclaimed on the campaign trail that he'd tell Obama to "go to hell" sure was grateful for the president's approval of millions of dollars in federal disaster-relief aid to clean up Franklin, Oxford, and York counties after Hurricane Irene. Declaring the damage "of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State," LePage asked for roughly $2 million in federal aid.
POLITICS • Will his party punish him for taking a government bailout? | 5/10
POLICY • Bring more cash into Maine isn't bad | 9/10
MURAL INCONSISTENCY | After giving all sorts of crazy reasons for why he ordered the labor-history mural removed from a state office, LePage topped himself last week by telling Brian Williams he did it for an all-new reason: the mural cost money that could have helped struggling Mainers. He didn't bother to note that the feds have said if the mural stays down, they want their money back — out of funds that could have helped struggling Mainers.
POLITICS • It's the economy, stupid. | 5/10
POLICY • Very clearly a lie made up for national TV, then issued a statement blaming the media for paying too little attention! | 1/10
CONSERVATION INCONSISTENCY | As recently as August, the gov apparently thought the Maine outdoors are wonderful, and is happy to take corporate donations of land for preservation (see: Indian Pond), but is now proposing merging two cabinet-level departments, Conservation and Agriculture. LePage says they have common interests, like scientific monitoring and a clean environment. Critics worry it could diminish attention on protecting Maine land in favor of business commoditization.
POLITICS • Doesn't pander or solve any real problems. What's this a smoke screen for? | 5/10
POLICY • Even the feds know parks (Dept. of the Interior) are very different from forests (Dept. of Agriculture) | 2/10
MILL INCONSISTENCY | LePage says he is a fiscal conservative, but recently allowed a private company to wash its hands of a $14-million-plus landfill cleanup in the Katahdin region — by putting Maine taxpayers on the hook instead. He says it helps get jobs back in the troubled mill industry; it may also boost state employment in the mess-removal industry.
POLITICS • Anything goes when the word "jobs" is spoken by a GOP leader | 5/10
POLICY • Seriously? Mill jobs held hostage by a landfill? What about the industry's decades-long slide? | 2/10
This month's total | Politics 25/50 | Policy 15/50 | Last month: Politics 43/50 | Policy 32/50 | Overall: Politics 299/450 | Policy 188/450