Easily distracted

By AL DIAMON  |  April 6, 2011

In his first 90 days in office, LePage's only real accomplishment has been to have a mural depicting the history of the labor movement in Maine removed from a state office lobby, thereby producing national publicity of the sort that's unlikely to find its way into any tourism brochures. ("Attention Fat Cats: Vacation in Maine without the worry of being inadvertently subjected to pro-union artwork.")

Since he became governor, LePage has managed to generate regular doses of controversy over matters of no importance to the state's economy. Or much of anything else.

It's possible LePage has engaged in these tactics as part of a carefully orchestrated maneuver designed to distract the news media from making a detailed examination of his budget. But the Maine media have never needed that much distraction to find ways to avoid any heavy lifting.

Perhaps the mural flap was intended to lure artists, poets, and union members into expending all their energies fighting what turned out to be a minor skirmish in the culture wars.

Or maybe the explanation is nowhere near that complicated. It could be LePage really is the kind of guy who can't stop himself from flailing away at any random target that happens to come in his sights, like a hyped-up radio talk-show host after a six-pack of Red Bull and a handful of prescription meds.

This problem isn't about the governor's ideology. It's about his lack of political savvy and self-restraint. And given how many public-relations disasters LePage has repeatedly created, it's also about the absence of a learning curve.

LePage isn't an idiot.

But he does play one on TV.

And he's becoming more believable in the role all the time.

No, I won't give you Condi Rice's cell number. But I will answer more reasonable e-mail requests sent to  aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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