View Archive

Entries for 2009

17
Governor Perdue has the Easley scandal on her hands and the Tony Rand scandal on her hands and she’s got a Cabinet Secretary – Lanier Cansler – who used to be a lobbyist passing out $250 million in no bid contracts, a lot of them to his friends and former clients.
 
Her solution has been to stoutly issue press releases (disguised as official edicts) to assure the public her appointees are using public office for all the right reasons and “never for personal gain.”
 
Now this story hits the newspaper: The Governor’s son, a lobbyist, has a client who just got as much as $9 million in tax incentives – from the Perdue Administration.
 
In response, the Governor’s saying pretty much the same thing Mike Easley said about his wife getting a $170,000 a year job at N.C. State University – ‘I didn’t have anything to do with it.’
 
The Governor’s press spokeswoman went even further – she proclaimed when it comes to fighting corruption a new day has dawned.
 
But it sure looks like the same old day.  
 

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (4) RSS comment feed |

16

The Greensboro News & Record and The News & Observer piled on Governor Perdue for being “angry” (GN&R) and “intemperate” (N&O) over the release of life-sentence inmates.

They’re appalled that she’s “appalled…angry…disgusted…and furious” over murderers and rapists going free. 

Hold the presses.
 
Is her concern so unreasonable?
 
These are criminals who were sentenced to life in prison. Now the courts say that – because of a technicality in the law – life doesn’t mean life.
 
Perdue faces a choice. She can either explain to the public how the system works. Or she can tell the system why the people she represents are mad.
 
She’s warning the system: People expect government to protect them from criminals.
 
What’s so bad about that?
 
The editorials assume that, since her stand is popular with the public, it is therefore wrong.
 
By that measure, the new WakeCounty school board shouldn’t have to listen to its critics.
 
I have only one quibble with the Governor.  She uttered a seven-word sound bite that should never come out of a politician’s mouth: “I've been in politics a long time.”

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (8) RSS comment feed |

14
Look for a third head to roll under the new Wake school board regime.
 
First was ex-Chairman Kevin Hill. Then – as predicted in this blog (you could look it up) – Tharrington Smith law firm.
 
Next up: Superintendent Del Burns.
 
When the new crowd was recruiting candidates earlier this year, they reportedly asked for two commitments:
 
1. Support Ron Margiotta for chairman.
 
2. Fire Burns.
 
One of the new majority’s boosters, conservative activist Dallas Woodhouse, makes the agenda clear: "I hope that they very much inject partisan politics." 
 
High-minded supporters of the previous board wanted to avoid partisan politics. Goodbye to all that.
 

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (11) RSS comment feed |

11
President Obama did something remarkable for a President in his speech to America about Afghanistan and in his Nobel Peace Prize speech.
 
He told the truth about war.
 
Bush misled us into Iraq. Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon misled and lied us into Vietnam. Even the sainted FDR misled Americans before WWII. (“Your boys will not be sent to fight foreign wars.”)
 
Like his policy in Afghanistan or not – and I don’t – Obama shot straight with Americans. He essentially said we have no good choices – and he judged this the least bad choice.
 
Then he had the courage to tell a bunch of Europeans what they didn’t war to hear: Wars are sometimes necessary.
 
We’re not used to that kind of honesty from the Oval Office.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (8) RSS comment feed |

11
Here is the real world of politics.
 
Imagine you’re Governor Perdue’s political adviser. You’re trying to solve her poll problems. You’re looking for policy ideas and initiatives she can push. You’re tweaking her schedule for maximum media. You’re branching into new media and online communications.
 
Then you hear this exchange between a drug-store clerk and a customer – clearly a regular – buying lottery tickets:
 
Customer: “I guess I’ll try one of those Holiday lottery tickets again.”
 
Clerk: “How are those working out for you?”
 
Customer: “Not as good as last Christmas.”
 
Clerk: “Well, you know, we’ve got Perdue in office now.”
 
Customer: “That’s right.”
 
That’s the thanks Bev gets for casting the vote that passed the lottery.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (7) RSS comment feed |

10
Tiger Woods, Mark Sanford and John Edwards should arrange a threesome – on the golf course, that is. They have a lot in common.
 
Like how to fall so far so fast.
 
The Roaming Eye of the Tiger makes Sanford and Edwards look tame. Last I checked, Tiger was something like 10 or 11 over par. Sanford had only his Argentine soul mate and Edwards, only Rielle.
 
A legislative committee said Sanford brought "ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame" to the State of South Carolina.
 
That takes some doing.
 
Maybe Bill Clinton could round out the foursome – and give pointers on surviving "ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame."
 
I love hearing PR experts pontificate about what they would tell Tiger to do – if only he would call and pay them big bucks.
 
There is nothing he can do. Not for a long time.
 
He’ll spend next year negotiating a divorce settlement and child custody with Elin. He’ll have plenty of time to work on his game, since he can’t show his face at a golf tournament.
 
Can you imagine the hecklers? Can you imagine any pro willing to be paired with him – other than John Daly?
 
Maybe in 2011 Tiger can rejoin the tour and resume his march to 18 majors.
 
The only question is whether his life story will have two parts – Rise and Fall – or three: Rise, Fall and Comeback.
 

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (9) RSS comment feed |

09
Republicans may have awakened a sleeping giant in WakeCounty.
 
First came the arrogance of the new school board majority. Then came the county commissioners’ Potty-Break Putsch.
 
Suddenly, Wake County Democrats stopped griping about how President Obama, Governor Perdue and the Democratic Congress haven’t yet produced Utopia.
 
They realize that last year’s election was not a final victory. There are no final victories in politics.
 
The Republicans are doubtless energized – by the school board elections (achieved with a small slice of county votes), Harold Webb’s illness and general Fox-fed Tea Party Fever.
 
They forget that Obama carried WakeCounty by 64,000 votes a year ago.
 
If that giant revives, the Republican resurgence will be short-lived.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (7) RSS comment feed |

08
There’s an old folk tale about a group of Confederate soldiers sitting around a campfire during the winter of 1862-63 arguing about Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
 
A British war correspondent – arguing in favor of evolution – waxed eloquent then resting his case leaned back on his elbows, and one of the Confederates drawled, Well, I don’t know about you, and I don’t know about me, but I know General Lee didn’t descend from no monkey.
 
Applying Darwin’s Theory of Evolution – very loosely – to North Carolina politics should logically lead us to the conclusion Governor Perdue’s election last fall was the result of years of progress by Democrats in state politics.
 
Now hardly anyone would argue that Governor Hunt is the Godfather of modern Democratic politics. Like Harry Byrd or Huey Long or Gene Tallmadge politically Hunt towered over his contemporaries and during his 16 years as Governor managed to give Democrats a lock on just about everything that moved or breathed in North Carolina government. And as Louis XIV the Sun-King warned the Dukes and Marquises of France, Hunt might have warned when he retired, After me – the deluge.
 
Bev Perdue or ‘Dumpling’ (as Democratic kingpin Marc Basnight used to call her in their days in the Senate together) settled in New Bern about the time Jim Hunt was elected to his first term as Governor. Over the years she served her apprenticeship in the Democratic Vineyards, working her way up to State Representative, then State Senator, then (the year Hunt retired) to Lt. Governor.
 
Now a fellow with as much power as Jim Hunt had to be careful he didn’t abuse it and to Hunt’s credit by and large he was. There’s a story about one of Hunt’s Highway Commissioners joking about the connection between political donations and road building and saying, Well, boys, if we’re going to be prostitutes we ought to be smart about it – but, in fact, Hunt knew where the line was drawn between the politics of ‘you scratch your back and I’ll scratch yours’ and outright corruption and if someone crossed the line Hunt didn’t have much tolerance for fools.
 
Under Hunt’s successor, Mike Easley, the lines disappeared. The Governor’s wife ended up with an $850,000 contract to work for NCSU and about all anyone had to do to get the Governor’s attention was make a contribution or provide a free airplane flight.
 
Then ‘Dumpling’ ran for Governor, outspent Pat McCrory by $10 million and with McCrory helping by refusing to run an ad critical of Perdue – Perdue won.
 
After the election Perdue filled her administration with Democratic standard bearers and high-powered lobbyists. Next the lobbyists went wild passing out $250 million in no bid contracts and one of Perdue’s Cabinet Secretaries landed in hot water for leasing $2 million in automobiles his department didn’t use.
 
And the state budget fight turned into open warfare between special interest groups that had supported Perdue – with the Governor, initially, declaring she was going to cut spending and not going to raise taxes, which led to the Teacher’s Union attacking her, which led to Perdue changing directions and endorsing a $2 billion tax increase.
 
In the end the legislature raised taxes a billion dollars and Perdue took Stimulus Money meant to pay for health care and spent it on other things – so when the smoke cleared the Education Lobby had triumphed and the lobbyist heading DHHS had passed out so many no bid health care contracts to his friends and former clients there wasn’t enough money to pay for medical care for poor people on Medicaid. – a problem her Cabinet Secretary solved by declaring the elderly patients don’t really need the care.
 
Which proves one thing: Darwin’s theory may say for thousands of years men have been evolving or progressing – but you couldn’t prove it studying our politics.
 

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |

08
Cal Cunningham looked unsteady before he got into the game. But his first play was strong.
 
Based on his start, I rate him the favorite in the primary – and, on today’s market, the strongest potential challenger to Burr.
 
Cunningham announced with a four-minute video. He looked good, and he sounded strong. He went right at Burr for looking out for Wall Street big shots instead of North Carolinians.
 
The video was the right way to start in the YouTube world. By contrast, the websites of Kenneth Lewis and Elaine Marshall are boringly static.
 
That’s especially surprising with Lewis. Internet guru Joe Trippi is his consultant.
 
The only off-note in Cunningham’s video was the American flag waving in the background. Too much, Cal. I seriously doubt that flag has always been outside your window. Your biggest risk is coming off as a phony – another John Edwards.
 
Besides, you got what you wanted. The N&O headline called you an “Iraq vet.”
 
And – as Rob Christensen noted in the story – the DSCC’s support should translate into dollars for Cunningham.
 
If he doesn’t blow it, Cunningham could steamroller Lewis and Marshall.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (4) RSS comment feed |

07
I figured brazenly appointing your wife to a top-paying government job (or swapping a political appointment for a deal on a beach front lot) was a temptation our local Democrats couldn’t resist because after two decades in power they’d lost their humility.
 
But, yesterday, I read Montana’s Democratic Senator has succumbed to temptation too – and what’s happened in Montana and is a lot more entertaining than Tony Rand selling Beverly Perdue penny stocks.
 
Back in April Senator Max Baucus – who’s leading the fight for health care reform – announced he was divorcing his wife. At the time Baucus explained the whole thing was an amicable parting of the ways brought on by irreconcilable differences he and his wife had discovered after 29 years of marriage.
 
Next it came out that two months earlier Senator Baucus had nominated one of his aides – who also turned out to be his girlfriend – to be U.S. Attorney in Montana. Baucus explained that by saying the fact he was dating Melodee Hanes hadn’t influenced his decision to nominate her one bit – that, in fact, he’d named to long time donor of his to do an independent review of the possible nominees and his donor had picked his girlfriend.
 
Baucus might have been wise to stop there but he went on explaining, adding, “As we (Baucus and Hanes) grew closer and things progressed, we knew it was time to begin the process of Mel transitioning out of my Senate office.”
 
Which means after Max and Mel decided she should leave his Senate staff by coincidence Baucus’ campaign donor-independent reviewer recommended Mel for U.S. Attorney.
 
Then the plot takes a turn: A month later Mel withdrew her nomination and explained she had other opportunities to pursue she just couldn’t pass up.
 
Next the press reported President Obama had given Mel a job in the Justice Department in Washington – which Baucus maybe shouldn’t have explained but did saying, “We thought it made sense to withdraw her name from consideration. She also wanted to come to Washington” – to live with Baucus.
 
So the President of the United States has given a sixty-eight year old Senator’s girlfriend a job so she could move to Washington to live with him – which has to be some kind of a first.
 

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |

Page 4 of 41First   Previous   1  2  3  [4]  5  6  7  8  9  10  Next   Last   
Copyright (c) Talking About Politics   :  DNN Hosting  :  Terms Of Use  :  Privacy Statement