Republicans believe LePage's base, somewhere between 35 and 40 percent of the electorate, is unshakable. GOP leaders say those people will stick with the incumbent no matter what happens, because they want fundamental change. But a shutdown isn't change. It's a rerun of one of the stupidest episodes in Maine history (narrowly edging out the election of independent Jim Longley as governor, the passage of the Democrats' Dirigo Health program, and House Republican leader Ken Fredette's "man's mind" speech). Given the narrow margin of LePage's last victory, the governor can't afford to lose many votes. If even a small number of his loyalists become disillusioned by this failure, his bid for a second term is toast.
The good news for those of us who think almost anybody would make a better governor than Cutler is that aside from placing curses, summoning demons, and handing out monkey paws, there's little he can do to influence events. Democrats and Republicans control this conflict and hold the power to avoid a state shutdown.
They ought to accomplish that objective simply because it's the smart thing to do. But I'll settle for them coming to an agreement just to make sure Cutler remains a private citizen.
Wrong reason. Right results.
I'm shutting down for this week. Email reviving comments to me at email@example.com.
: The Editorial Page
, Eliot Cutler, Politics and other mistakes