Imagine, if you will, that the U.S. Congress, led by Republicans John Boehner in the House and Mitch McConnell in the Senate, passed and sent 65 bills to President Obama that the president opposed. Many if not most of these bills would never have been truly intended to become law because everyone knew that they would be vetoed. So, in addition to some legislation that would do what the Republicans really want, much of it would be symbolic legislation more intended to satisfy or rile-up the right-wing party base. In other words, a lot of the legislation would be things that the Republicans would never pass if they had a Republican president because they (generally) know the difference between insane policy and workable legislation.
Now, imagine that President Obama simply forgot or neglected to veto the bills and they all became law by default.
What would that do to his legacy? What would that do to the Republican Party’s brand? It’s almost like calling their bluff, except that it’s a bet the president would never want to win.
Well, this is basically what happened in Maine, except the legislature isn’t controlled by Republicans and the governor is not a Democrat.
Governor Paul LePage has lost in court, and there are 65 laws now on the books that he should have vetoed. I don’t mean these are all bad laws. Most of them are probably good, or at least well-intentioned. I just mean that most of them were crafted with the understanding that they would probably be vetoed.
The 65 bills in question cover a wide range of policy areas, including General Assistance for asylum seekers, expanded use of a medication to treat drug overdoses, property tax breaks for Vietnam War veterans and birth control for MaineCare recipients.
What this means is that Paul LePage’s record as governor is going to be a great deal better (or, at least, progressive) than it would otherwise have been.
It also means that he let down the people who worked to elect him in a massive way.
Finally, it means that he’s without a doubt the worst governor in the country and among the worst in our national history.