Is LePage’s veto mess due to his incompetence or confrontational stance?

BDN photo by Gabor Degre

BDN photo by Gabor Degre

This week, Gov. LePage stunned Maine and national politics watchers across the political spectrum by his misunderstanding of the Maine Constitution.

Rather than vetoing a slew of bills the governor didn’t want to become law within the mandated ten day window, he’s arguing he can hold onto them and veto them later.

This will lead to a court case wherein the courts will tell LePage that he has to comply with the rules on vetoes and adjournments that have been existence since the state was created.

Two editorial pages have different theories on what’s going on — incompetence versus purposeful confrontation

The Bangor Daily News holds the first theory.

Its editorial states:

With the new laws now being incorporated into state statute, LePage and his staff clearly made a mistake, either misunderstanding the Constitution or losing track of time (the Maine Constitution gives governors 10 days, not counting Sundays, to act on bills passed by the Legislature while the House and Senate are still in session). [source]

However, the Portland Press Herald argues that LePage’s action is not based in incompetence.

We don’t believe that the governor’s legal staff forgot how to count to 10. That means that they did this on purpose. The most likely explanation for this episode is that the governor wanted to provoke a confrontation with the legislative branch so that he could assert his dominance. [source]

I’ve been arguing for a time that LePage is “frustrated by and ineffective in governing.” Both of those qualities could certainly play into what he’s doing now.

What do you think? One of these or some combination?

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.