Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hide & Seek LePage

There are two in a row public forums or debates that Paul LePage will not attend due to “scheduling conflicts”. But of course, candidates for Governor ultimately decide what is important in their schedules. Apparently, speaking to Maine citizens in a substantive and in an informative way on issue positions is not a priority of Paul LePage. So he will blow off (as of this writing, we rather hope to shame him into appearing) the August 13 gubernatorial forum sponsored by The Island Institute in Rockland and the August 19 candidate debate at the University of Maine at Machias.

These “schedule conflicts” are unknown and we hope to find out eventually what events are more vital than these important public forums. It does not seem as if Paul LePage will be completely away. On August 12th, he will be at the Skowhegan Fair from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, on August 14th he will attend the Pal Hop Reunion at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston at 9:00 PM, and on August 15th he will be at a BBQ with Pete the Carpenter to raise money from the right wing tea party group the Refounders.

It is unknown if it is the press or the professors asking questions that are the concern of Paul LePage. To his defense, Dan Billings has posted As Maine Goes:

In Paul's case, he is not taxpayer funded and is not self-funded. He has a busy schedule of fundraisers all summer. He needs to raise money to win. If he has a fundraising event on the books, I would expect that would be a priority.

Chasing cash over connecting with voters is a poor choice and with Paul LePage’s much bragged about win with little cash in the primary because of his supposed ability to connect with grassroots voters, it would seem that priorities would be just the opposite of Mr. Billings musings.

There do not seem to be any pressing events of a ceremonial nature for the ceremonial Mayor of Waterville according to the city’s website. Perhaps it is pressing private sector business interfering? LePage did announce that he would be taking a leave of absence from Marden’s and according to the Bangor Daily News on June 24 already is on leave. At any rate, he seems to be able to make a great deal of other events, again it all boils down to priorities.

Perhaps Paul LePage is getting the makeover after his gaffe, gripe, and groan start to the campaign. That may not be unusual. A number of extreme tea party candidates from Rand Paul in Kentucky and Sharron Angle in Nevada needed to get an overexposure break from their radical messages in order to emerge later with a hopefully little more Republican constraint and toned down rhetoric.

Yet Paul LePage is hiding and we are left seeking. He is ducking substantive issue forums but seems out and about doing backslapping retail politicking and tax bashing at fairs, dances, and picnics. It almost seems like LePage wants to dine, sing and dance rather than debate, speak, and discuss.

Paul! Paul LePage! Game’s over! Ally, ally, in free!

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