Republican Governor Paul LePage has every right to be angry at Maine journalists for depicting him as a clueless buffoon with the political skills of a rabies-maddened raccoon and the public-relations prowess of day-old bait.
As the governor's loyal followers have repeatedly pointed out, that's only about half-right.
Now the truth can be told. As LePage seems to have suspected for some time, his portrayal in newspaper columns, television newscasts, radio reports, and throughout the blogosphere is being skewed by a nefarious force intent on thwarting the governor's every attempt to restore state government to fiscal sanity, common sense, and fewer messy cabinet resignations.
I know this for a fact, because, until now, I've been a member of that very conspiracy. After an agonizing re-evaluation of my moral standards, I've decided to break this evil cabal's strict code of silence, even though it means putting my reputation, my career, even my life on the line. I'm doing this because both Governor LePage and the public deserve to know the real story.
Also, because my only other choice for a column subject this week was clam-flat management.
Here's my shocking revelation: LePage has been targeted for political extinction by a secret organization called the Media Alliance to Ridicule, Degrade, and Eviscerate Normal Society.
Or, for short, M.A.R.D.E.N.S.
LePage is hardly M.A.R.D.E.N.S.'s only victim. Who do you think is responsible for destroying the groundfishing industry? Who can take credit for rendering the Maine Democratic Party irrelevant? Who's behind the sudden gutting of the Portland Sea Dogs' roster? Who's performing the psycho-ventriloquism act every time GOP state chairman Charlie Webster opens his mouth?
That's right, it's jihad-journalists and their assorted fellow travelers under the direction of the masterminds at M.A.R.D.E.N.S.
Of course, turning LePage into a comic-strip character was lots easier than those other tasks (well, maybe not easier than making Webster look weird). Unlike stubborn fishermen, dedicated donkey-party candidates, and ace pitchers like Stephen Fife, the governor initially seemed willing to cooperate with his media detractors by providing them with daily doses of dopiness. He picked fights for no reason (alleged "kooks" in southern Maine, suggesting the NAACP "kiss my butt," the labor-mural removal). He claimed he could do things no governor has the power to do (void the national health-care law, take control of federal waters off Maine's coast, appoint a commissioner of environmental protection with an illegal conflict of interest). He acted like a bonehead (hired his daughter for an administration job, took a vacation in the middle of a contentious legislative session, said allowing the chemical BPA in children's sippy cups would have no negative impact on the environment except for a few women growing "little beards").
Even though it might appear to the uninitiated that the blame for much of LePage's image problem falls on the governor himself, that's not the case. Each of his missteps has been carefully orchestrated by agents of M.A.R.D.E.N.S., many of whom have infiltrated the highest levels of state government. For instance, former Commissioner of Marine Resources Norm Olsen was one of our senior operatives (code name: Cranky Pants). Ex-Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Philip Congdon spent years under deep cover heading one of our sleeper cells. Departed communications director Dan Demeritt had a chip implanted in his brain that allowed us to control any public statements he made by satellite signals. And among reporters, there's scarcely one who hasn't attended M.A.R.D.E.N.S. covert-operations training camps for intensive indoctrination in such subjects as biased verbs, prejudicial adverbs, and warped conjunctions.