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Maine’s new Tea Party governor, Paul LePage, is starting to remind me of a governor from my former home state, Mel Thompson of New Hampshire. In addition to the loony idea of giving nuclear weapons to the state national guard, Thompson also praised the apartheid government of South Africa.

Thompson is long dead, but Paul LePage lives on, walking in Mel’s crusty footsteps.

The 30th anniversary Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Sunday was marked by sadness and outrage over Gov. Paul LePage’s comments last week about why he wouldn’t attend the NAACP Portland Branch’s premier annual event.

LePage made national headlines Friday when he said the NAACP could “kiss my butt” for questioning his repeated refusal to meet with the group in recent months, including invitations to the dinner in Portland and to a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in Orono today.

The newly inaugurated Republican governor also called the NAACP a “special interest” and said he wouldn’t be “held hostage” by special interest groups. LePage made the comments while attending a gathering of business leaders in Sanford, then participated in an anti-abortion rally in Augusta on Saturday.

via King Day 2011: Emotions run high | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.