Likewise, LePage has been clear he's in no mood to relax his proposed welfare and social-services reductions, even though there's almost no chance any Democrat will support a budget that doesn't make some changes in his original plan. From single parents with low incomes to people with AIDS to those in substance-abuse treatment to families on the dole, virtually every recipient of state aid will experience some negative effects from the LePage budget. As with state workers, Dems can't afford to alienate these key constituencies by rolling over. Unless the GOP gives some ground, the Dems will have to dig in, build fortifications, and prepare for a protracted war of attrition.
As a Democratic leader told the Wall Street Journal, "We've opened the doors for volunteers in the new army, to unite and fight against the mercenaries and liberate all of Libya."
Libya? Why'd he say that? This is about Maine.
In any case, both sides are now locked into their positions with virtually no wiggle room, even when the grains of the desert's sands get in their underwear and camel fleas ravage their posteriors.
Republicans can't work out a deal without appearing to undercut their nominal leader, which means they've either got to go along with his ill-considered ranting or turn him into a lame duck before he's halfway through his first term.
Democrats, already in the minority, can't defy any of the special interests they're beholden to without leaving themselves in an even weaker position for the 2012 elections.
Both sides may opt for stalemate, hoping the voters will blame their opponents.
Or, as Gaddafi once said of a similar conflict, "I cannot recognize either the Palestinian state or the Israeli state. The Palestinians are idiots and the Israelis are idiots."
One bright spot: In the '91 shutdown all state liquor stores closed. Today, there aren't any state stores, so we'll still be able to buy booze. Other cheery thoughts can be e-mailed firstname.lastname@example.org.