Payne said many of his GOP allies are shocked by his new approach, feeling he should be devoting his energies to reviving the feeble Republican legislative caucus.
"They're not happy about it," he said. "They think the Democrats are gaming us."
He said dealing with the Dems is simply being realistic.
"Maine is a blue state," he said. "We told our friends in the Republican world, 'This is the only way to get anything done in this economy.' We say, 'Who do you want to deal with, [liberal Speaker of the House] Hannah Pingree or Bill Diamond?'"
Are those my only choices? I don't suppose there's an option where I get to pick between swimsuit models Bar Refaeli and Brooklyn Decker?
Sorry, I was being immoderate. (Although, frankly, it felt pretty good.)
Payne admits it will likely take at least four years for this scheme to have any significant impact on the policies of the Democratic caucus and the Legislature. But he's confident the alliance and its allies can pull this off.
"There are a lot of moderate Democrats out there, who are looking for something better in their legislators," he said. "If we can use them to create a responsible Democratic majority, we win."
He just used "responsible" and "Democratic" in the same sentence.
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