Phil: So, last week, there I was at the Holiday Inn By The Bay in Portland introducing Gov. Paul LePage to a packed house at a fundraiser for the Boy Scouts, and you barged in and interrupted my heart-warming tribute.
Ethan: Well, I couldn’t very well allow you to turn a non-partisan event into a tribute to Republicanism. Phil, you know the premise of our partnership is the importance of both sides being heard.
Phil: A tribute to Republicanism!? Ethan, all I was trying to do was demonstrate how the governor embodies many of the attributes that the Boy Scouts support and encourage.
Ethan: You think the governor is a Boy Scout?
Phil: Well, think about Scout Law. Every scout must be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, clean and reverent. Let’s start with the first. Wouldn’t you say the governor is trustworthy?
Ethan: Well, I certainly trust that he will tell us when he isn’t pleased with something we’ve said on TV or radio.
Phil: I suspect you also know you can trust him to veto all those crazy spending bills your Democratic colleagues come up with.
Ethan: Not “spending.” “Investments!” But how about “loyal”? How does he embody loyalty?
Phil: Well, as long as you believe in reducing state government, moving people off of welfare and helping businesses thrive, he’s extremely loyal.
Ethan: Yeah, and as long as you aren’t a Democrat…
Phil: How about “helpful”? Certainly the governor is helpful.
Ethan: Sure, as long as you’re a Republican who wants to slash government, kick people off welfare and take down labor murals! I bet he’d even “help” you take that mural down to the basement if you asked him.
Phil: So the next characteristic is “friendly.” I would say as long as you aren’t a member of the press, he can be very friendly.
Ethan: Or as long as you aren’t an independent member of the Maine House, as Reps. Joe Brooks, Ben Chipman and Jeff Evangelos found out when the governor slammed his fist on the table and called them “idiots.”
Phil: Yeah, that did sound like a rough meeting with those so-called independents. Along the lines of friendly, wouldn’t you agree that our governor is “courteous”?
Ethan: Well, he did mention in his State of the State address that he was working on his anger management issues. Any idea how that’s going?
Phil: No, no. He didn’t say he was angry. He said he was frustrated and passionate. Big difference.
Ethan: Well, if that is merely “passion,” I would hate to see “angry.” Which leads us to the next adjective, “kind.” Would you say the governor is kind?
Phil: Well, he is definitely one-of-a-kind! So let’s move to “obedient.”
Ethan: Please. Obedient? The only person I imagine he is obedient toward is First Lady Ann LePage. I understand he’s like a puppy dog around her. How about “cheerful”?
Phil: He’s very cheerful when the Legislature is out of session.
Ethan: Or when he knows he only needs 39 percent to gain re-election, since that’s the only way he can win!
Phil: How about “thrifty”?
Ethan: Are you kidding? Have you seen what he’s trying to do with the state budget? Plus, he was the general manager of Marden’s. He’s got to be the cheapest guy in the state!
Phil: Not “cheap,” Ethan. He’s “fiscally responsible.”
Ethan: Yeah, yeah. Well, how about “brave” — as in, “wasn’t it brave of the head of the Boy Scouts in Maine to say he welcomed a possible repeal of the ban on gay troop leaders“?
Phil: That was certainly brave and good to see.
Ethan: So, do you think the governor is brave?
Phil: Let me put it this way, if you had to meet with an uppity lobbyist, or negotiate with an angry legislator, or tell a community you were cutting its revenue sharing, wouldn’t that require bravery? I thought so. How about “clean”?
Ethan: Clean? Hmm, the only thing I can say about clean is that I know the governor often wants to clean the clock of State Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant for simply sending someone to video a public event.
Phil: Plus, he hates “clean” elections.
Ethan: All right, last but not least, how about “reverent”?
Phil: I would say the governor is very reverent. Certainly of Maine people and of the office in which he serves.
Ethan: I’d say, as you mentioned earlier, that he’s reverent toward his veto pen. I just wish he had the same reverence for his signature pen when bills other than adding three hours of drinking on St. Patrick’s Day cross his desk.
Phil: So, you see, Strimling. It wasn’t so far-fetched for me to say that the governor embodies all the finest characteristics of the Boy Scouts.
Ethan: Maybe so. I just hope he “trusts” that this column (and our tongue-in-cheek introduction of him last week) is in the spirit of fun and that he’s “kind” to us after he reads it.