The stain

By AL DIAMON  |  December 1, 2010

There was nothing illegal about any of that. The bankruptcy laws say unpaid debts of that type are essentially wiped off the books.

In the aftermath, Nutting got a job at another pharmacy (where he was recently disciplined by state regulators for filling a prescription with the wrong medication). He got re-elected to the Legislature (voters in his district blamed his troubles on the state). And when Republicans gained a majority in the House in the 2010 election, he decided to run for speaker.

Because it's not like he had any baggage.

You might suppose that a party that's been complaining about the excessive cost of Medicaid would be reluctant to embrace somebody who was personally responsible for hiking that cost by $1.2 million. But when it came to finding a strong candidate to oppose Nutting, a GOP activist told me, "Have you looked at our caucus? We're kind of thin on credible alternatives." After several rounds of voting, Nutting outlasted four unimpressive competitors.

In a Bangor Daily News op-ed on November 23, party leaders dismissed criticism of their choice for speaker as an attempt "to weaken the Republican mandate by fomenting fractures in our caucus."

Now, Nutting is on the verge of assuming an office that had become marginally more respectable since Democrat John Martin was pressured into resigning in 1993, after his top aide was caught tampering with ballots.

Not to overplay the diaper analogy, but the odor in the State House air indicates something needs changing.

Let your comments flow like . . . uh, never mind. Just e-mail me at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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