Financial stability was a theme he stressed continually, except in his actual budgets. In his 2003 inaugural address, Baldacci said he wanted to end "the boom-and-bust cycles of state spending and growth." In a 2006 debate, he said, "What people need to know is that [tough choices] were made with an eye to the future . . . We're making long-term decisions so that Maine doesn't have to go back into those deep, dark valleys like we found ourselves in."
Still deep. Still dark. Still delusional.
Shortly after that, he told the Portland Press Herald, "I'm just beginning to flex my muscles."
Not an image I wanted in my head.
At the 2006 Democratic state convention, he said that by 2011, Maine would gain 25,000 new jobs.
He was off by, let's see, approximately 25,000.
From a 2007 op-ed in the Maine Sunday Telegram: "We can no longer be satisfied just to tread water."
Was he advocating drowning, instead?
In his State of the State speech from 2008, he claimed, "I am filled with hope."
As his approval rating dipped below 35 percent, voters concluded Baldacci was full of a different substance.
The governor's 2009 State of the State included an economic-stimulus package based on weatherizing homes, creating a medical school, using highway corridors for transmission lines, and putting wind turbines in places guaranteed to annoy nearby residents.
Except for a few windmills and a little insulating, it didn't happen.
Recently, he told the Sun Journal, "Our job was to set the right course."
That's true. Too bad he didn't.
There's nothing like the scent of failure to inspire me to write. If it's the same for you, e-mail email@example.com.
Correction: My estimate of the pending state budget shortfall lacked enough zeros. The correct amount is about $860 million.