May 26, 2018
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LePage may talk himself out of race

By Renee Ordway, Special to the BDN

On Christmas Day at my mother’s house we have tourtiere. On Christmas morning at my husband’s grandmother’s home they dined on toast slathered in creton.

On the rare occasion that my grandmother indulged in a beer, she did so with her legs crossed, a glass in one hand and a salt shaker in the other.

She claimed it took some of the “fizz” out. Others have told me it stemmed from her French Canadian roots. I’m not sure if any of that’s true.

A good Catholic girl growing up and speaking French, she would go through her entire life reminding others that she was born on the Epiphany.

Thanks be to God that she wisely decided not to seek election as the governor of Maine.

The Democrats surely would have had it in for her.

I’m assuming neither I nor my husband would be considered good options, either. I’m not Catholic, but I do enjoy tourtiere and, heck, I inhaled years ago and have long since admitted it, so as Kramer would say on “Seinfeld” with a swift slap to the countertop, “I’M OUT!”

OK, I’m done and I apologize, but those first paragraphs were no sillier than this week’s rumpus about Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage’s apparently false allegation that the Democrats felt him unfit to be governor because he was Catholic and Franco-American.

There seems to be no record of that anywhere. No evidence at all, actually, of such a horrifyingly racist remark, but it’s what LePage told reporters as he bumped along the railroad tracks during a tour of the midcoast region of Maine.

Now LePage is in a pot of hot water, and rather than simply apologizing for “misspeaking,” he hurdles farther on down the tracks with the great idea that the best way to save his campaign is to stop talking to the press. He’ll respond only to written questions from the media, he said.

Now, I would never pretend to be a political strategist, but I’m thinking that’s probably not such a good plan for someone running for governor.

But who knows? Maybe the strategy will work. LePage supporters or those on the fence may find it easier to blame this whole fiasco on the press. Trust me, we are very good and well-seasoned scapegoats and our skins are thick.

LePage stunned many when he so handily won the Republican primary in June. Now, many say it is his race to lose in November.

Right now it appears he may be up to the task.

Shortly after the primary I wrote about LePage in this column. Not so much about his politics or his agenda, but about his very large personality and the fun that he would most certainly bring to the campaign trail for reporters.

I tend to like folks who speak their minds. I tend to like people with big personalities. People who take risks and have what some may call a questionable sense of humor.

But those same likable folks, while fun in a pub, can be perilous on the campaign trail.

When LePage recently made a joke about the age of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell, he apologized. Guess what. People moved on.

He didn’t seem willing to admit this latest mistake and instead became defensive and boorish, and because of that we are all still talking about it.

I’m thinking LePage might need a good handler, someone to, shall we say, take some of the fizz out on occasion. And perhaps come up with a code word for those times when his big personality threatens to burst out of his mouth before he has a chance to think.

Tourtiere is kind of a fun word. It’s a perfectly charming and tasty part of the culture.

I think it could work. Who knows? The next time you’re on a train in Maine and a frenzied 20-something overworked and underpaid campaign worker dashes by you with his hand in their air screaming,“Tourtiere! Tourtiere!” — it just might mean that Paul LePage is aboard and that you should watch the papers in the morning.

E-mail Renee at and listen to her and co-host Dan Frazell from 7 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on the radio at 103.1 The Pulse.

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