A solemn court occasion, then a solemn legislative divorce

Maine Supreme Judicial Court file into the Nokomis Regional High School gym in October 2013 as part of a school tour to educate students about the judicial system. Brian Feulner | BDN

Maine Supreme Judicial Court file into the Nokomis Regional High School gym in October 2013 as part of a school tour to educate students about the judicial system. Brian Feulner | BDN

Cynthia: Mike, I hope Gov. LePage likes the way the Law Court has been doing its job lately. It would stink if he pulled the plug on court funding right before the judges decide whether his 65 bills are vetoed, or not.

Mike: The governor is a big supporter of the judicial branch. He’s fought for its security funding, sought to add more judges and repeatedly bailed out the indigent legal services commission. No matter how solemn its decision, the judicial branch will still have a friend in the Blaine House.

Cynthia: Phew! Constitutional crisis averted. It clearly pays to have friends in the Blaine House.

The University of Maine is facing a rather solemn budget occasion — $16 million dollars in the red. Can we expect a Blaine House bailout for the Black Bears?

Mike: It’s always bears with you! But I wouldn’t bank on a bailout — there are still efficiencies to be gained both internally and between the university and community college systems. Throwing taxpayer dollars at a problem lessens the need for hard choices. Love him or hate him, Gov. LePage does not have a problem forcing difficult decisions regardless of political cost.

Cynthia: I’m a sucker for bears, I guess, but I don’t hate the governor. He’s every lawyer/political commentator’s dream! And I expect any minute he’ll be announcing he’s running for president — forcing all good Republicans to make a very difficult decision, indeed.

And here’s another potential difficulty — Democrats and Senate Republicans are bedfellows in the case going to the Law Court about vetoes. After this solemn occasion, stay tuned. We’ll get to analyze a solemn divorce.

This job never ends, Mike. What’s next? Ken Fredette disclosing he’s from Massachusetts?

Mike: No — Jeff McCabe is the legislative leader from Massachusetts. And as I said last week, this struggle isn’t intraparty, it is interbranch. Legislators stand up for legislative power, like Senate Democrats bucking the president a few months ago to assert authority over the Iran deal. Executives push executive power, since they have “a pen and a phone.” And the courts, by definition, mediate these disputes.

But after this upcoming decision, my hope is the Grand Old Party will refocus on core beliefs. Then we can have a ballot question on taxes instead of bears!

Cynthia: Everyone with a pen or a phone needs to write or call their senator and tell them to support the Intra Iran deal, and the Old Grand Dad Party needs to get on board with the concept of diplomacy versus war. It’s crazy that rich guys in Congress make decisions that send poor kids off to battle.

You support the president and Jon Stewart, right? Or do you think we should just wait for Donald Trump to fire Hassan Rouhani when he becomes president?

Mike: I have concerns with any deal that requires three weeks’ notice before inspectors are allowed to show up. Kids across America are looking for the same terms from their folks, with a 21-day warning before Mom checks if they cleaned their room. Yet most parents are more stern than that, although there is some hoopla about permissive diner patron parents in Portland

But I do have to ask: why do Democrats have faith in Obama’s negotiating abilities when it comes to Iran, but not with the TPP? At least the GOP is consistently skeptical.

Cynthia: It’s always consistency with you! Democrats don’t always use faith to make decisions about policy, but here’s what’s consistent: past trade deals were bad for America and so were past wars in the Middle East.

I happen to be a faithful moderate parent (except when it comes to bears) and support the president on both the trade deal and the Iran deal. And one thing’s for sure, if Iran was a child things would be a lot easier. A few pancakes at Marcy’s Diner — boom! Problem solved.

Mike: Consistency is the hobgoblin which troubles my small mind — blame it on eight years of Jesuit education. The optimist in me hopes both deals are everything the president promises. But, for consistency, the last Democratic president led the way on two deals: NAFTA and nuclear North Korea.

Now you’re telling me Democrats believe President Clinton was wrong on the former? We know the latter has nukes and a poorly coiffed, unstable dictator. And the Democratic approach is: do it again under President Obama, and elect a new President Clinton. Forget Emerson, Einstein has a quote about doing the same thing and expecting different results…

Cynthia: Maybe Einstein can explain why everything is moving relative to everything else except Republicans, especially our governor.

As for Hillary Clinton, misunderstood, and as your man Emerson said, Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.