Behind the mask

By AL DIAMON  |  January 30, 2013

LePage has also decided the state should borrow $100 million to build a new prison in Windham. But he fears voters might reject those bonds, so he's planning to employ an obscure method — created years ago by liberals — to avoid the need for public approval of that new debt.

Then there's reducing the size of government. LePage claims he's doing that . . . by not doing that. He's eliminated a few jobs, most of them already vacant. He's tried unsuccessfully to kick some marginally needy folks off Medicaid. He failed to cut off funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (maybe he could impose a sales tax on them, too).

But all those bureaucracies that conservatives are so fond of railing against are still intact. The Department of Education is as big an obstruction to learning as ever. The Department of Economic and Community Development is still not developing anything. The Department of Health and Human Services keeps on behaving inhumanely.

Right-wingers might take consolation in LePage's plan to shut off municipal revenue sharing, depriving cities and towns of $200 million in state aid over the next two years. Surely, that's not the work of a closet liberal. Except there's nothing an undercover leftist relishes more than letting someone else take the blame for soaking the taxpayers. When higher property-tax bills start arriving, LePage can hide behind his John Boehner mask — it cries real tears — while pointing out that local officials approved the increases.

The mask is also useful for covering his pain if he spills hot liquid you know where. Unlike his tea-slopping supporters, the governor can't suddenly start shouting, "Great balls of fire!"

Sob on my shoulder — figuratively, please — by emailing

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