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08
A fan of Tricia Cotham – no doubt looking ahead to a potential Superintendent of Public Instruction primary with Rick Glazier – asks: “When was the last time a male candidate defeated a female in a Democratic primary in North Carolina?”
 
To my recollection – and, as usual, doing no research whatsoever – I believe it was Jim Hunt. In 1972, Margaret Harper of Southport was one of the candidates he defeated in the primary for lieutenant governor.

 

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08
 
“A governor who is struggling desperately to remain relevant and communicate clearly made another puzzling move this week.
 
“Governor Bev Perdue hired a new communications expert who’s a former Bostonian politico whose only apparent ties to the state are his mom in Knightdale.
 
“This is not to suggest that Bev should – or even could – hire a world-class mouthpiece to help her articulate her vision. But, the people on her staff should be familiar with the state, its people, its barbeque and the political undercurrent that really makes the state run. You would think that the state’s universities would crank out dozens or hundreds of literate writers and speakers who would answer the call to serve the governor. You would think that at least we would’ve heard of the person.
 
“This personnel move makes two things clear:
 
“Bev wants to be her own communications director.
 
“And, she simply couldn’t find anybody else who’ll make a career move that’s likely to last only 12 months.”
 

 

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07
Two reasons: the speech he gave this week and his record.
 
In 2008, Obama had a gift for giving exactly the right speech at exactly the right campaign moment. He did it again yesterday with his speech echoing Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal (Click here for the full text):
 
“I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules. Those aren’t Democratic or Republican values; these aren’t 1 percent values or 99 percent values. They’re American values, and we have to reclaim them.”
 
He artfully puts Republicans in bed with the 1 percent:
 
“Their philosophy is simple:  We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules. “
 
His timing was perfect: Just as the Republican fight boils down to Romney and Gingrich.
 
So he has the message. What about his record? Not long ago, two Democrats were talking about just that:
 
“I just wish he was stronger,” opined one. To which the other replied:
 
“Well, all he’s done is save the country from a deep depression, save the financial system – with no thanks from the banks, rescue the automobile industry, finally pass health care reform – all the while having to fight Republicans who want him to fail so much they don’t care if the country fails, protect Social Security and Medicare from Republicans who want to abolish both, got us out of Iraq like he promised, got Osama bin Laden like Bush promised and didn’t do and then push a dictator out of Libya without getting us into another war.”
 
“Hmmm,” said the first Democrat. “I hadn’t thought of it that way.”
 

 

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06
There’s something almost mystic about the numbers.
 
We call 911 when we’re in trouble. America remembers – and avenges 9/11. Herman Cain had 9-9-9.
 
Now the numbers have a new political significance: the 99 percent and the 1 percent.
 
People who say the Occupy movement had little impact miss how it imprinted the 99-1 concept on our politics.
 
The Tea Party was the energy behind the 2010 elections. The 99 and the 1 may fuel the 2012 election.
 
Yes, people are still angry about government. But the anger now seems to be shifting to people who have made out well in businesses that other people love to hate – and love to blame for the recession and for economic inequality.
 
America has a long history of oscillating politically between anti-government and anti-business. Maybe now we’re just both.

 

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06
Up north in the land of the Yankees, about a decade ago New York hired Computer Services Corporation to process its Medicaid payments. But there was a hitch, according to the New York State Comptroller: The corporation’s computer system was “so inefficient and unable to detect deception” it’s allowed hundreds of millions in bogus payments. Plus, CSC was 33 months late and $166 million over budget implementing its system. And, auditors said, CSC used obsolete computer programs that “caused more than $500 million in losses due to fraud, waste and abuse.”
 
Three years ago North Carolina hired the same corporation to manage its Medicaid billings and, now, they’re two years behind schedule and $200 million over budget. So how did a corporation – which might be expected to pull the wool over the eyes of hapless Yankees – fool us Southerners too?
 
It hired Lanier Cansler – who was then a lobbyist – to help it get the state contract.
 
And now the same Lanier Cansler heads Governor Perdue’s Department of Health and Human Services – which handles Medicaid payments.
 

 

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05
It’s hard to tell whether Governor Perdue’s deal with the Indians proves you can sell a Democratic Governor just about anything by saying it’ll help education or whether it proves our Democratic Governor figures she can sell the rest of us just about anything by saying it’ll help education.
 
Last Tuesday, the Governor announced she’s going to allow Las Vegas style gambling with croupiers and roulette wheels and sleeve gartered dealers on the Cherokee Indian Reservation because the Chief of the Cherokees is going to give the state part of the tribe’s winnings for the public schools.
 
The Governor waxed eloquent over her deal and criticized Republican legislators for not saying, Amen, then, three days later the video poker industry announced that since the Governor favors roulette wheels and live dealers at Harrah’s in Cherokee she ought to have no objection to their putting video poker machines in bars and convenience stores and that they’d be willing to share their winnings with the state as well.
 
So, now, we may find out whether the Governor’s deal with the Indians is really about education – or whether it’s about the $518,000 the Cherokee Indian Tribe has given the state Democratic party since 2004.
 

 

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05
Last week Republicans were chortling over campaign-law indictments of Democrats. Now they’re complaining about a campaign-law probe of Pat McCrory’s 2008 campaign.  
Welcome to the NFL, and strap on your helmets.
 
From now on, every campaign is going to be under scrutiny for potential violations – not just by the state, but also by opposition researchers.
 
Democrats are loaded for bear. They feel they’ve been unfairly targeted by a new enforcement zealousness. They intend to put the same shoes on Republican feet.
 
Given the complexity and uncertainty of campaign-finance laws – and the inevitable chaos of campaigns – there will be plenty of trouble to go around.
 
As one Raleigh hand said of last week’s indictments, “If those are felonies, there are a lot of felons walking around.”

 

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02
Herman Cain may heed my wish and stay in the presidential race, but he has fallen prey to a political form of termites that I call MOHOPs – for headlines and stories that begin “Members of His/Her Own Party….”
 
In Cain’s case, MOHOPs are fellow Republicans who say things like “he’s a zombie; he’s dead but he doesn’t know it and he keeps walking.”
 
In politics, you’re in trouble when the MOHOPs pile on. It’s expected that members of the other party will criticize you. It’s a story when MOHOPs do it.
 
But the fall of one rival after another never seems to help Mitt Romney, the most electable Republican. He stays in his 20-30 percent comfort range. The anti-Mitts just go to somebody else.
 
First, they went to Bachman, then to Perry, and then to Cain. Now, it’s Newt Gingrich.
 
Another answer to Democrats’ prayers!
 
Newt Gingrich, who would have us believe Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac paid him a million-plus bucks – not as a lobbyist, heaven forbid, but a historian.
 
Note: My degree is in history. Where can I get a million-dollar gig?
 
Newt Gingrich, the man most responsible for the dysfunction in Congress. Newt Gingrich, the crybaby who shut down the government because President Clinton didn’t give him a good seat on Air Force One. Newt Gingrich, who modestly considers himself a Historical Transformational Figure like Churchill – and will happily tell you so. Let alone that Tiffany’s account.
 
It’s just too good to be true.
 

 

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01
Bill Faison is like a boxer who took a knockout swing, missed and left himself wide open for the counterpunch.
 
The day after Monday’s indictments, Faison told Laura Leslie at WRAL-TV: “I think, ultimately, Gov. Perdue will do the right thing and decide not to run. I don’t believe you’ll ever see her file.” 
 
That generated the most dreaded of all political stories – the one with headlines starting “Members of the Governor’s Own Party…”
 
Team Perdue was not happy, and Mark Farinella shot back on camera:
 
"Bill Faison thinks he ought to have a higher office. He wants to be governor or senator or president, and he thinks the way to do that is to spread innuendos and falsehoods about someone else.  She is running, and Mr. Faison, I think, needs to come to terms with that. He is not going to be the Democratic candidate for governor, as much as he wants to."
 
Faison didn’t help himself. His statement looked self-serving rather than statesmanlike. He angered a lot of Democrats who want to give Perdue a chance to weather this storm.
 
Faison had done a good job in recent months pushing a jobs message and jabbing at Republicans. He has been on Twitter and Facebook constantly.
 
But too much naked ambition is never a good thing, especially when you’re taking advantage of fellow Democrat’s troubles.
 
One Democrat said of him: “He couldn’t beat David Parker for party chair. What makes him think he can beat Bev Perdue in a primary?”
 
And let’s talk about the optics, as they say.  Faison has a lean and hungry look. Then there’s his bald head, Fu Manchu mustache and trial-lawyer persona. The last thing he wants to do is look meaner. People like tough politicians, but not mean ones.
 

 

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30
Spermin’ Herman Cain needs to ignore the lamestream media – and the parade of women – and stay in the presidential race.
 
It will be a sad campaign without him. His entertainment value knows no bounds. What would this year have been like without his electrified border fence, his halting uncertainty about Libya and – most of all – “9-9-9”?
 
Without Herman, it’s all too predictable. Mitt is predictably perfect and boring. Newt is predictably smarmy. Rick predictably dumb. Michelle predictably nuts. Ron Paul predictably Ron Paul. Santorum and Huntsman just boring.
 
What will we do without Herman to kick around?

 

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