Some readers have suggested that last week’s column was unfair to outgoing Democratic Gov. John Baldacci.

They’re correct.

In a lapse of objective journalistic judgment, I unfairly slanted my characterization of the eight years of the Baldacci administration by only mentioning the governor’s successes. As a result, I inadvertently created an impression that was both unreasonably positive and insufficiently credible. To make amends for that erroneous portrayal, this week’s column deals with the lame-duck chief executive’s failures.

(Because of space limitations, I’ll also be posting online an additional 15,743,898 pages on this subject.)

Baldacci was elected governor in 2002 based on glorious — but vague — promises. He told Maine Times he was going to “leave Maine better off than where we found it.”

Unless getting rid of Maine Times counts, it’s difficult to see much improvement.

In announcing his candidacy, Baldacci said he’d turn the state into “a haven of opportunity for every citizen.” He pledged improved conditions for those seeking post-secondary education and for those looking for jobs in their chosen fields after graduation. He told the Lewiston Sun Journal that Maine would have tax reform “within the first year of my administration.”

Still waiting on all that.

Which is not to say he never fulfilled any of his promises. He said he’d expand Medicaid to cover more children and more health problems, and he did. He just never came up with a workable method of paying for it.

Of course, Baldacci has a ready excuse for his numerous shortcomings: The economy sucked.

While that’s true, it still doesn’t do much to shift responsibility for the many stupid and shortsighted decisions the governor made in his repeated efforts to balance the budget without reducing either the size or scope of state government. For instance:

He sold off a decade’s worth of profits from Maine’s wholesale liquor monopoly for a fraction of its value.

He tried to do the same with the state lottery, but was thwarted by the Legislature.

He tried to balance the budget by borrowing $450 million, even though the state Constitution doesn’t allow that. Again, the Legislature called a halt to his foolishness.

He caved in to legislative Democrats on his plan to contract out more state services.

He crafted one spending plan after another based on over-optimistic economic forecasts.

He covered shortfalls in those budgets with temporary fixes based on the assumption that a sudden and robust economic turnaround would occur at any moment.

He kept using the same idiots to project trends in state revenues, even though they were consistently wrong.

He repeatedly promised a major reorganization of state government that never happened.

He also kept making fuzzy promises, such as this one from a 2002 article in the Lewiston Sun Journal: “The deficit is an opportunity to get some things done that need to be done.”

An opportunity that slipped away, apparently.

Or how about this from a 2006 Associated Press interview: “Continuing to consolidate state services and cracking down on state spending will assure that Maine is fiscally responsible for years to come.”

Except for the $850 million shortfall and bankrupt pension system he’s handing off to the next governor.

Financial stability was a theme he stressed continually, except in his actual budgets. In his 2003 inaugural address, Baldacci said he wanted to end “the boom-and-bust cycles of state spending and growth.” In a 2006 debate, he said, “What people need to know is that [tough choices] were made with an eye to the future … We’re making long-term decisions so that Maine doesn’t have to go back into those deep, dark valleys like we found ourselves in.”

Still deep. Still dark. Still delusional.

Shortly after that, he told the Portland Press Herald, “I’m just beginning to flex my muscles.”

Not an image I wanted in my head.

At the 2006 Democratic state convention, he said that by 2011, Maine would gain 25,000 new jobs.

He was off by, let’s see, approximately 25,000.

From a 2007 op-ed in the Maine Sunday Telegram: “We can no longer be satisfied just to tread water.”

Was he advocating drowning, instead?

In his State of the State speech from 2008, he claimed, “I am filled with hope.”

As his approval rating dipped below 35 percent, voters concluded Baldacci was full of a different substance.

The governor’s 2009 State of the State included an economic stimulus package based on weatherizing homes, creating a medical school, using highway corridors for transmission lines and putting wind turbines in places guaranteed to annoy nearby residents.

Except for a few windmills and a little insulating, it didn’t happen.

Recently, he told the Sun Journal, “Our job was to set the right course.”

That’s true. Too bad he didn’t.

There’s nothing like the scent of failure to inspire me to write. If it’s the same for you, e-mail aldiamon@herniahill.net.