Posts archived in Economics and Debt


Dan Demeritt

The PPH has picked up on LePage public-relations guru Dan Demeritt being slightly less effective at business than, say, anyone with fewer than five foreclosures pending.

Mr. Demeritt earns over $80,000 in state salary for his public relations smarts.

But have you noticed something? He isn’t doing a whole lot of public relations! Adrienne Bennett has supplanted Demeritt as the person always quoted in news articles on LePage’s behalf.

What is her pay? I hope it’s at least half of Demeritt’s.

And if she has a significant other, I hope he landed a plum “executive assistant” job, too, like Demeritt’s wife enjoys, which brings the Demeritt family income above $130,000.

Because I haven’t seen Demeritt do anything worthy of his salary, but Ms. Bennett seems to not suck so bad.

This is absurd theatre. Demeritt has $130,000 in household income and he can’t run a pizza shop. LePage was on vacation because he has “nothing to do.” LePage can’t find department heads because the taxpayer-funded $117,000 salaries are “not a lot.”

Out. Of. Touch.

Maine: Open for business? Or Maine: Open for surreal, live-action political theatre of the absurd? I vote for the second.



Please define “coattails.”

Roger Ek thinks the Moderate 8 shouldn’t be asking their Gov’nah to think before he speaks.

These turncoats rode Paul LePage’s coattails to a senate majority and members of this bunch not turned out by term limits should have principled ethical opponents in the primaries next year.

Wha…? Coattails!

Getting 38% means you *don’t* have coattails. LePage probably rode THEIR coattails to squeek into office. He should be thanking them- they are the only hope he has of ever getting elected again, or even doing 1/3rd of what he wants to do.

Self-delusion knows no bounds.


Is LePage winning?

This AMG poster seems to think so:

The mural has been removed, and the New York Times has blasted LePage in an editorial.

No matter how LePage steps in it, the Left is there with firehoses to make him look good. It’s like a Buster Keaton movie, and Buster always triumphs no matter how many banana peels are in the mix.

I might agree, if we define “winning” in the same way Charlie Sheen does. As in, winning is some sort of code word for ignoring all consequences and just doing whatever you damn well feel like.

But if we define winning as something similar to “acting like a decent Governor for all Mainers” or “getting more people to vote for you next time than the 38% that did in 2010″ or “not seeming like a complete dick,” then I don’t think LePage is winning.

I seriously don’t know where this poster, Thrasybulus, gets his information, but it seems to me that everyone who voted against LePage now despises him and half of those who did vote for him now regret it.

If Maine allowed recalls, he would be recalled. Easily.

How is that winning?

The big question coming up is how much will the legislature abandon him on the budget? How much flack do local Republicans want to take defending a nutcase? If they are going to have to join some Democrats to override a LePage veto on the budget anyways, what is their incentive to maintain party unity on smaller things?

We are only a few months into the four years. This is unprecedented in Maine, having a Governor self-destruct so quickly and thoroughly.

MPBN reports that Michael Pajak lost a job at the Department of Conservation because of his AMG postings under the name The Distributist.

Some AMGers doubt that one of their most beloved posters of yesteryear is actually the poor, innocent Michael Pajak.

Says mediadog:

Do we know for sure that Pajak wrote what Sharon accuses him of writing in AMG posts? The MPBN hierarchy appears sensitive now — after its parents’ recent problems — about treating all listeners fairly. I’m not sure that’s in Sharon’s DNA. See the semi-mea culpa currently offered offered by the MPBN top dogs on their home page.

Oh come on.

They don’t un-hire a guy for something he DIDN’T say. Please. That wouldn’t happen.

The guy got thrown under the bus because bigots should be thrown under buses.

Not to mention, if you want to work in politics and you happen to be a bigot you should at least be smart enough to pretend you are not.

And then there is Spinmaker, who makes a good point in some of the muddle:

4.) Does anyone on AMG have a problem with the DOC offering a job to the executive director of Friends of Maine’s Mountains? What if former commissioner McGowan hired Brownie Carson during the Plum Creek hearings? Or is this just more…well…hypocrisy?

Of course no one on AMG has a problem with that sort of thing as long as it is done by a Republican administration. Duh. It turns out ethics is a very moldable principle.

But then he continues:

I know Mike Pajak. I know Tipping. Pajak is a good guy, who may have made some stupid, ill-advised comments. I hope Mr. Tipping never goes for a government job or seeks office… because the internet never forgets, nor does it forgive.

I, for one, hope the internet does not forget how Mike Tipping confronted a homophobic bigot and saved the taxpayers of Maine the embarrassment of having employed him.


Dear Secretary of State…

So last November I stated how eagerly I was awaiting the posting of the official 2010 election vote count so I could plug the numbers into my awesome election analyzing spreadsheet.

Well, the new spreadsheets were posted a while ago but I just got into looking at them…. they are a mess.

Why change the format? It just makes comparisons more difficult.

Why randomly divide districts between 4 tabs with no rhyme or reason?

Only the gods of bureaucracy know.

Due to the recent election victory for Republicans and the wave of AMGers getting appointed to gov’mint jobs, I needed to update a couple AMG profiles.

The Editor’s profile now contains this update:

In consideration of the recent landslide Republican victory in this state, I felt it necessary to add that Mr. Fish’s aura of irrelevance and failure is somewhat diminished. He now has a 1:15 ratio of victory to irrelevance. Of course, it is arguable that As Maine Goes is still irrelevant given that the biggest victors in the election were moderate Republicans in the state legislature while the AMG favorite, Paul LePage, scrapped through by a tiny margin… but I digress.

Mr. Fish now serves as communication director for one of those hated-by-AMG moderates, Senator Kevin Raye. Does this support the theory that Republican politicians use the right wing to win elections but, immediately after, spurn them as loud wackos with whom they had a drunken one night stand? Hmmm…

Meanwhile, Dan Billings’ profile now states:

Dan Billings is currently head legal counsel for Governor Paul LePage. Congratulations, I guess… On the one hand, you’re close to the levers of power. On the other hand, your job is to tell the lever of power that 35 states cannot override the Federal government just by getting together and giving each other a group hug. And that there aren’t any buffalo regulations in Maine. And that based on your expert legal research, you believe that Maine residents like Mr. LePage should probably pay taxes in Maine and get in-state tuition for his kids in, well, Maine.

At least you’ll be keeping busy.


More chart fun!

I have extended the chart from my last post back to 2000 and included vote totals from the Presidential elections (presented as dashed lines). As you can see, the Republican vote total is pretty much exactly in line with the legislative vote total. The Democratic vote total is less so- but some of the difference could be explained by votes being taken from Democratic legislators and given to Greens.

As I have time I’m going to try to look at this trend on a more district-by-district level, and I eagerly await the Secretary of State posting the results from last week so I can go more in-depth.

Yes, I’m a total nerd.

The big question for 2012 will be, “Can Republicans break this trend.” If legislative Republicans can significantly exceed the Presidential vote total, then things may really be changing for them. If not, then things are basically as they’ve been the last ten years and they just rode a national wave this year at the easiest time, during a midterm, and their results in 2012 could be more dependent on the national mood and whether the economy starts to rebound. AMGers, of course, badly want to believe that their ideology finally won over the voters but I just don’t see it.

Information like this should also be carefully considered by Republican rank and file who are pushing for more conservative, “Jim DeMint” style posturing; for instance, the kind of Republican disappointed in Kevin Raye becoming Senate President. They should look at these graphs and also remember that their folk hero Paul LePage underperformed Dean Scontras by 5%, Levesque by 7%, and legislative Republicans overall by around 13%. Raye, for example, outperformed LePage in Hancock county by a margin of 68-35, nearly double (A rough comparison because I lack district specific vote totals, but the point is the margin is HUGE).

I used the Bangor Daily News unofficial vote total and the Secretary of State totals from 2006 and 2008 to make a chart showing the total combined vote for each party in the two houses of the legislature. As you can see, while Maine Republicans did modestly better this year than in 2006, their vote was quite flat compared to ups and downs of the Democratic vote. Democratic voters dropped off the map this year. If they turn out in 2012 anywhere near the turnout in 2008, they can change everything in a hurry.

Furthermore, the number of seats in the Senate does not reflect the total votes for each party very well; in the House the Republicans won the cumulative vote 50-47 and in the Senate they won 52-46. The Republican votes for were more uniformly spread out across the state, however. Democrats in Portland racked up large winning margins, particularly in the State Senate, while Republicans elsewhere in the state won consistently by smaller margins. Thus the reason why Democrats can lose the total vote by 6% but still be down in seats 20-14.