Return of the king

By AL DIAMON  |  March 28, 2014

As calls for his resignation grew in 1993, he remained defiant. “I’m not the problem,” he said in a Bangor Daily News op-ed. “I didn’t lie in my campaigns, I didn’t submit phony budgets, I tried to prevent state government from shutting down.”

That year, Martin survived an attempt to remove him from the speakership by just six votes, but only because he promised to step down after the current session ended. Or in 1994. Or sometime. Different people recalled his pledge in different ways.

So why do Democrats need him back now?

Because he knows how to get things done, which is a skill both state Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves lack.

If Martin had been running the show, the Medicaid expansion bill would have passed both chambers by veto-proof margins, Because if it didn’t, certain legislators would have found themselves without committee assignments, or unable to offer amendments to pending bills due to rulings that their proposals were out of order, or hauled into Martin’s private restroom and waterboarded (but only in a fun sort of way).

In effect, dissenters would no longer be able to function as legislators.

In 1993, then-state Rep. Herbert Adams of Portland told the Maine Sunday Telegram that Martin could be characterized as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Adams was quoting Winston Churchill, who used that phrase to describe the Soviet Union.

Forget Vladimir. Maine already has its own homegrown Putin.

That’s odd. A surplus Russian army tank just rolled into my front yard and pointed its gun at my office. If you know anything about this, please email my bunker ataldiamon@herniahill.net.

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