Editorial: A novel idea for the Maine legislature

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This week, the Maine legislature will reconvene to consider another supplemental budget. As the Appropriations Committee joins hands once again, we at The Maine Wire have one simple suggestion to avoid the chaos that has surrounded previous budgets: go talk to the Governor’s office before you pass this one.

The Republican leadership in Augusta has put a premium on getting along with opposition Democrats, especially through the budget process.  Some powerful GOP legislators seem to believe that forming consensus with the opposing party is more important than maintaining clarity of mission with the Governor.

Last week, two Republicans on the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Roger Katz and Rep. Pat Flood, wrote a scathing op-ed, lashing out at Governor LePage for using the term “corrupt” to describe the mid-level bureaucracy in our state government. The governor’s strong language apparently gave the two liberal Republicans the vapors. Nevertheless they found the strength to pen the angry op-ed, likely after they were revived with smelling salts.

Katz and Flood further the stereotype of the pandering, value-free politician that follows the prevailing wind of public sentiment, even if it means turning against one’s own party. Defenders of this center-worship would argue that political pragmatism makes it the smart move. The problem is, voters see through this. Constituents don’t elect leaders to obey a perfect center-line when it comes to tax policy and state government issues. Voters send people to Augusta to fix problems, not make friends.

Maine’s problems can’t be fixed if the legislature continues to follow the errant path that got us to this point. That errant path was paved by the people GOP leadership seem hell-bent on compromising with: Democrats like John Martin, Peggy Rotundo, and other big-government, welfare-state liberals that would take every penny out of the taxpayers’ pockets if left unopposed. Since Republicans gained control of the legislature, our budgets have been disproportionately impacted by these types, and the change needed to get Maine on track has been delayed.

This time around, the GOP majority should look in a different direction for guidance on the budget. Governor LePage and his staff have consistently led the charge to fix the decades-old problems hurting our businesses, our families, and our kids. Instead of worrying about what the opposition might think, GOP leadership needs to look to Governor LePage and make sure the budget reflects his agenda, before forcing another veto standoff. Rather than passing a compromised budget based on capitulation to the worst players in state government, they should fashion a budget they are certain their governor will sign.

This budget exercise may well be the last one controlled by the GOP. Republicans face a tough election this fall, and many are betting on a Democrat takeover of at least one House of the legislature. GOP leadership has the opportunity to forestall their eviction by sticking to the principles that got them elected. These principles won’t be embraced by their liberal colleagues, but the GOP needs to show some spine to ensure Maine voters they were serious when they said they’d get this state back on track.

1 COMMENT

  1. Obvious that Katz has big ambitions.  I used to like him but am finding the showboating a turn off.

  2. I will not vote for any candidate that caves to democrat ideology! I WANT CONSERVATIVE LAWS…CONSERVATIVE TAXES…CONSERVATIVE LEGISLATION…without it reeking of democrat odor!

    Republican legislators…YOUR JOB IS NOT TO PANDER TO THE LEFT THAT WE KICKED OUT OF POWER!

    DO YOUR JOB!

  3. Katz and Flood are a disgrace, as are Martin and Rotundo. We all need to contact our legislators and senators and make it perfectly clear that a compromise with Democrats is unacceptable. I have personally told my State Rep. Steve Wood and my Senator Garrett Mason what I expect. I ask all of you to do the same.

  4. Isn’t the basis of a functional government in a diverse society framing issues and finding solutions to complicated problems through a careful process of give and take?

    The Maine Republican Party is not the people of Maine. It is, at best, one voice among many. The political direction it recommends is not a directive to be followed blindly, even by legislators who are Republicans.

    “My way or the highway” is thoughtless braggadocio that accomplishes little unless you have consensus for your beliefs. 

  5. Hi!

    Is there a “real” difference between a Democrat and a Republican?

    Sometimes depending on who it is.

    My nephew is Rep. Jarrod Crockett (R), and he is my representative, and he has a “head” on his shoulders.

    I have a great deal of respect for him.

    Lise from Maine

  6. Roger is betting that a moderate approach will keep him in office no matter who controls what. Maybe he should look to Snowe and how she finally quit because she saw the hand writting on the wall that she probably wouldn’t win this time.

    She had in fact been out campaigning before she quit but many hisses and boos from a campaign stop and fewer signatures on her sign up sheet than she was accustom to plus the parking lot snit with D’Ambouise…bingo 10 days later she threw in the towel. But…she put the blame on problems with her DC buddies. The media kept that myth alive.

    I was at the GOP convention in a booth next to MSEA and SEIU. When Katz was on the mike one of the people in that booth turned to me and said , Roger is a good guy, isn’t he? The Dems like him. That should be enough info for anyone.

  7. “Sen. Roger Katz and Rep. Pat Flood, wrote a scathing op-ed”
    As opposed to the calm level-headed approach of this polemic?

  8.  Many people see our current situation as a decision to be made between a huge, Socialist/Fascist government destined to turn the US into a failed State vs a free and open society based on democracy, limited government and individual responsibility.  There can be no give and take on these issues. If one believes that our country cannot survive under the Socialist/Fascist path we are now treading we must do something now. We live or we die by how we govern ourselves.

    The inane mantra that we need bi-partisanship and a give and take and the ever popular compromise is like saying lets work out a compromise on the death penalty.

  9. Katz appears to have ambitions towards the Blaine House-just what we need a “moderate” R in there! NOT! Katz needs to go-Flood is term limited anyway, so no need to worry about him.

  10. One thing you are all forgetting, Roger is a lawyer…don’t you think we have enough lawyers in office?  He will do and say anything to get re-elected. 

  11.  Thanks, Watcher.  My sentiments exactly.

    What’s so damn great about compromising where principles are involved?

    In this era, we aren’t talking about whether the national speed limit should be 55 or 65, or whether the drinking age should be 18 or 21.

    We are dealing in issues that will determine whether the American experiment survives, or descends into the same pit of murk and mire as many of the older systems on this planet.

    CEJ wishes to play the elder statesman in such discussions.  As Lady Thatcher said:

    “To me, consensus seems to be the process of
    abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in
    which no one believes and to which no one objects.
    If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on
    anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”

    And then we have this from Reagan:

    “Our party must be based on the kind of
    leadership that grows and takes its strength from the people. Any organization
    is in actuality only the lengthened shadow of its members. A political party is
    a mechanical structure created to further a cause. The cause, not the
    mechanism, brings and holds the members together.”

  12. So you obviously must feel the same way about the chronic “my way or the highway” approach of the Democrats. 

  13. “Compromising”, “getting along” ……. these are precisely the concepts practiced by the “elite” (we know best) politicians who created the local and national mess that we now find ourselves enmeshed in.  Enough voters in Maine believed that Gov. LePage would take steps to return Maine to economic solvency to put him into the Blaine House with a Republican majority in both sections of the Legislature.  How unfortunate that some members of the Republican Party have forgotten the desires of those who elected them and instead have insisted on practicing the same old tired policies that have contributed to the massive problems holding back the return of our state to fiscal responsibility and prosperity.  Hopefully, the same voters will be able to identify those who stand in the way of restoring Maine and replace them at the first opportunity.

  14. I wrote both Sen. Katz and Rep. Flood about the “corruption” comments and gave them an example of that corruption. Neither had the decency of a reply. Guess we know who respects the Maine tax payers don’t we?

  15.  Unbiased and respectful? >> “The governor’s strong language apparently gave the two liberal
    Republicans the vapors. Nevertheless they found the strength to pen the
    angry op-ed, likely after they were revived with smelling salts.”

  16.  Spoken like a true liberal. Who changes the rules when out of power, and forgets all about “consensus” as soon as the liberals are in the majority. Such as ObamaCare, which was rammed through with tricks, coercion and bribes. Which is why Snowe had to go, she allowed those tricks to happen.

    The Republicans are the majority, and they represent the majority of Maine voters who want a change of the direction the Democrats took the state for forty or fifty years. Get over it.

    Meanwhile, the people that voted for Katz and Flood did so expecting them to follow the Governor’s lead and make the changes that need to be made to turn Maine around.

    I truly believe that the real agenda of the left is to stop these changes from taking place, for fear that they will actually work, and expose the folly of the last forty years of Democrat control.

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