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Entries for 'Gary Pearce'

30
Not long ago, I blogged that Democrats in the legislature should help Governor McCrory expand Medicaid (“Pass McCroryCare”). With Democratic votes and some Republicans, McCrory could overcome opposition from the legislative leadership.
 
But a Raleigh group called the Carolina Partnership for Reform, which says it “was formed to advocate for a freedom-based agenda in North Carolina,” sees a nefarious plot afoot.
 
Nobody’s name is listed on the group’s website, so we can’t credit any individual for unmasking my hidden agenda. Here follows, in full, their post, “Pearce’s Democrat Revival Plan”:
 
 
We recently pointed readers to Democrat strategist Gary Pearce’s Pass McCroryCare column urging Democrats to lobby the Obama Administration to grant the waivers Governor McCrory might ask for in order to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.
 
Pearce said McCrory could help himself in 2016 by splitting with the conservative majority in the Legislature and working with Democrats to give free health insurance to able bodied people. Right now, Medicaid primarily covers poor children, their moms, the elderly and the disabled, not working age adults who don’t work.
 
But now we can see the ulterior motive behind Gary Pearce’s suggestion. And the upshot is Medicaid expansion will be a loser for Governor McCrory according to a new survey of people who voted in November.
 
The Foundation for Government Accountability surveyed 500 people who voted last year. Here is the question.
 
North Carolina’s legislature and governor are deciding whether or not to expand North Carolina’s Medicaid health insurance program to give taxpayer-funded Medicaid benefits to 500,000 mostly working-age adults who have no kids and no disability. Do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid in North Carolina to these adults?
 
Support – 47.13%
 
Oppose – 36.63%
 
Undecided – 16.24%
 
At first blush, Medicaid expansion is a winning issue. But among voters who approve of the Governor, it’s a big drag. Among strongly approving McCrory people, 59% oppose Medicaid expansion and 40% are against Medicaid expansion among somewhat approving McCrory voters.
 
In short, expanding Medicaid splits McCrory’s own voters. And that gives clever Democrats like Pearce a chance to funnel cash to the Libertarian candidate and siphon fiscal conservatives away from McCrory. Perhaps enough of them to throw the election to Democrats
 
In fact, 54% of all voters are less likely to support McCrory if he backs ” ObamaCare Medicaid expansion ” and 82% of Republican voters are less likely to vote for a legislator supporting it and 67% oppose it if it could result in education cuts.
 
Remembering the Greeks at the gates of Troy, beware Gary Pearce bringing advice.

 

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29
A TAPster with long experience in the General Assembly offers this:
 
In reaction to Gary’s blog about “Big Government” and Speaker Moore’s laughably large staff, here are the three popular theories in Raleigh today about why Republican leaders like the Speaker and Lt. Governor think they can singlehandedly solve the state’s unemployment problem by hiring everyone in sight:
 
1.       Operating the government and understanding the complex issues in a modern North Carolina are simply beyond their intellectual ability to manage or understand. They can count votes and bully their colleagues, but they need all the help they can get to really do the work.
 
2.       They are small-town folks who’ve never bossed around anybody but a law clerk and a secretary. It’s fun to have minions!
 
3.       They don’t care what anybody thinks. They operate with impunity, without budgets and with no concern that their choices are in conflict with their principles.

 

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28
Things have come to a pretty pass when a photo and story about Carter and me run under the headline: “Polite Disagreement.”
 
This is our reward? After all we did to make Hunt-Helms one of the most bitter, negative and expensive races ever? After years, decades even, of earning reputations as tough, give-no-quarter political gut-fighters?
 
After all that, Kate Grice writes an article in The Daily Tar Heel (“Two political analysts find friendship in debate”) that concludes, “Though the two disagree on basically everything, as they are glad to point out to one another with a smile and a laugh, their blog and panel talks have made them an example of old-style debates that are often lost in the world of the internet.”
 
What are we – a couple of toothless, burned-out old softies?
 
Maybe we have changed. Maybe years of blogging together and talking to each other softened us.
 
Maybe we came to realize that, in what Carter calls the “howl” of today’s politics, cooler and calmer voices get heard more clearly.
 
Or maybe it’s a sign of just how bitter, angry and divided – personal, even – politics has become in the age of Fox, MSNBC and the Internet. When you’re talking only to the people who agree with you, it’s tempting to play to the crowd and preen in the roar of their approval.
 
Maybe we stand out a bit because we’re forced to consider the other guy’s point of view and even occasionally grant that something he says make sense.
 
Carter put it well in our DTH interview, “We argue without hostility, and I think that is something that people find interesting. There’s disagreement, but it’s polite.”

 

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27
Yes, 1,000 wins in college basketball is remarkable. But three front pages? That’s what greeted readers of the N&O print edition Monday morning.
 
First there was Page One of the main news section. In approximately the same size type that might say “WAR!” was “1,000” – in Duke Blue, of course. Beneath were a large photo and two stories about Mike Krzyzewski’s achievement. There was room left for one other story, about Wake County schools.
 
Then came the Sports section, with a three-quarters page photo of Coach K and two more stories on the front. Then there was a special 10-page Commemorative Section. The cover was a full-page photo of “Coach W.”
 
In all, I counted 10 long stories, five shorter stories, six sidebars and graphics and 27 photos.
 
Already, as you might expect, the N&O is getting letters complaining. Obviously, K-haters couldn’t think of a worse way to wake up Monday morning. Then there are serious readers who decry devoting so much ink to basketball when there is much more important news in the world and, especially, when newspapers editorialize about scandals “driven by an over-the-top emphasis on college sports.
 
Not so fast, my friends. This is the price you pay for being able to get a newspaper at all.
 
Journalism today is about clicks, clicks on websites. The more clicks the N&O site gets, the more ads they sell, the more money they make and the more they can spend on reporters to dog your Governor, your legislature, your community, your courts, your schools, your colleges and universities and – yes – scandals “driven by an over-the-top emphasis on college sports.”
 
The N&O, like all newspapers, has suffered through hard times since the Daniels family sold the paper – at the peak of the market – 20 years ago. Ads have dried up, readers have fled, the paper has shrunk and the news staff has been decimated, or maybe double-decimated.
 
A key part of the N&O’s survival strategy is to own ACC sports coverage. Good ACC coverage is good business. It pays the bills.
 
Those of us who regularly pull against Coach K should congratulate him. Give the commemorative section to a Duke fan. And be thankful that coverage like this, even if we don’t like it, keeps the clicks clicking, the reporters digging and the paper coming every morning.
 
Still, go to hell, Duke.

 

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Posted in: General, Raleigh
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26
The government is too big, Republicans say. Too much bureaucracy, too much waste, too many overpaid, do-nothing chair-sitters mooching off hard-working taxpayers.
 
Presumably, House Speaker Tim Moore agrees. He’s as eager as any other hard-nosed Republican to cut out the deadwood.
 
But first he has to hire a staff. Here, thanks to Under the Dome, are some of the positions on the Speaker’s staff:
 
-          A Chief of Staff
-          A Deputy Chief of Staff
-          A Communications Director
-          A senior policy adviser
-          A policy advisor on agriculture and education
-          The director of House caucuses/policy analyst
-          A senior policy advisor for health issues
-          A director of boards, commissions and constituent services
-          A policy advisor on transportation and public safety
-          An executive assistant/director of administration
-          Another policy analyst
-          An administrative assistant
 
Once upon a time, House Speakers in North Carolina got by with a couple of administrative assistants and a legislative counsel or two, some of them part-time.
 
Now, apparently, it takes a lot of staff to cut down the size of government.

 

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21
President Obama's speech last night showed he has a knack for coming back after a setback - and a knack for the comeback quip.
 
Three things about the night: (1) How Obama framed the debate (2) the partisan debate over bipartisanship and (3) the split-screen social media experience of watching political events like what Twitter dubbed #SOTU.
 
Framing the Debate
 
How good was the speech? Well, Democrats wish he had given it before the 2014 elections. And they liked the way he set up the battles to come in Washington this year and in the 2016 elections.
 
It helped, of course, that he had good economic news to talk about. As he chided the dour Republicans, “That’s good news, people.”
 
He framed the fight as good versus evil, fairness versus unfairness, Democrats fighting for the middle class while Republicans cater to the 1 percent. He said “we’ve turned the page” on the recession (read: “Bush”) and are creating more jobs since 1999 (read: “the last time we had a Democratic President, named Clinton”). Bill and Hill had to love that.
 
As one tweet noted during the speech, there probably wasn’t one idea in it that doesn’t get 70 percent support in the polls. The President put himself and the party on high ground for the battles ahead.
 
Partisanship About Bipartisanship
 
After sharply drawing the battle lines, Obama tried a difficult pivot by going back to his 2004 message: “There’s not a Democratic America or Republican America, there’s the United States of America.”
 
You wouldn’t know it by the reaction from Republicans in the hall and afterward. Things still look pretty divided.
 
One big divide is over what constitutes bipartisanship. To Obama, it’s passing the program he outlined. To congressional Republicans, it’s passing theirs. And never the twain shall meet.
 
Yes, we citizens yearn for the two parties to “put aside politics” and “work together” and “do their job.” But there is a fundamental divide in Washington and across the country about what that means. And the divide is over the role of government.
 
Democrats say government can do things to help people and, especially, protect them from the depredations of the free market. Republicans say government can’t do anything, period.
 
That’s a deep gap to bridge.
 
(A new book traces this fundamental debate over government back to the 1966 election: “Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America,” by Jonathan Darman. Check it out.)
 
Even as he called on Republicans to rise about the fray, Obama couldn’t resist a shot. When he said he’d run his last campaign, somebody on the Republican side clapped. He shot back, “I know, because I won both of them.” It sounded too much like the Obama of “you’re likeable enough, Hillary.” Better he had just smiled and said, “You’re welcome.”
 
Split-Screen
 
How did we ever watch political events without Twitter? As you listen to the speech, you can follow the commentary of your choice on Twitter. It’s like being at a basketball game, except people scream on screen rather than at the refs.
 
Judging from Twitter, Obama clearly roused his base. He had Democrats pumped up from the get-go. And Republicans, too. From their get-go, their response was: “Socialism, big government, higher taxes, blah, blah, blah.”
 
Speaking of being onscreen, you almost felt sorry for John Boehner. He had to sit there mute while the President pounded him like a piñata. He had to sit beside Joker Joe Biden popping up to applaud every minute or so. And he knew that millions of people were watching every gesture and facial expression he made.
 
You couldn’t help but stare at him: his skin tone almost exactly matched his red leather chair. He looked like some kind of lizard taking on the coloration of his natural surroundings.
 
All in all, it was a night that put the fun back into politics – for a night.

 

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20
There’s good news and there’s bad news about the true state of the N.C. Democratic Party.
 
The bad news is that the actual financial situation is worse than it looks. Much of the $42,700 that the party has on hand belongs to the House and Senate caucuses.
 
That’s also the good news, because the caucuses have made sure Chairman Randy Voller can’t get to the money.
 
More good news: With county parties, candidate committees and super PACs, Democrats have learned to work around the Goodwin House Horrors.
 
Still and all, it would help to have a functioning state party, one that focuses on electing candidates instead of debating the platform on Iraq and castigating heretics to the true faith.
 
It would help to have one that keeps the phones and Internet working. At times during the fall campaign, both went down at party HQ. That made running campaigns a tad difficult.
 
Voller, who said he doesn’t know what the monthly budget is, blamed others. He told Colin Campbell of the N&O: “It’s difficult to get some of the larger counties to want to pay their money to the sustaining fund.”
 
That’s because they don’t have any confidence in Voller. That’s why Kay Hagan’s campaign worked through the Wake County Democratic Party. That’s why the caucuses put their accounts off limits.
 
Now that Voller has scheduled the election of the next chair in his hometown of Pittsboro, there’s a suspicion he wants to engineer his own reelection.
 
Which brings us to the definition of insanity: to keep doing the same things you’ve been doing and expect a different result.
 
Meanwhile, the campaign for chair will no doubt focus on vital issues, like whether one of the candidates is too close to turn-of-the-century (that’s 1900, not 2000) Governor Charles Brantley Aycock.

 

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19
Is there something in the water in Chapel Hill that keeps University big shots from giving straight answers? The same lockjaw that keeps the UNC-CH athletic-academic scandal on the front pages has now spread to the Board of Governors.
 
The board’s non-speak/double-speak non-explanation of why Tom Ross was forced out leaves only one logical inference: It was politics. The chairman might as well have said, “To the victors go the spoils. We’re Republicans, he’s a Democrat, so we pushed him out.”
 
Ross’ forced departure has been rumored for months, if not years, along with the accompanying rumor that Art Pope replace him. The BOG chair said that wouldn’t happen; Pope left the door open. If it does happen after a year-long, national search, the university community may take up pitchforks and torches.
 
You could tell from his statement and from photos that Ross wasn’t happy and wasn’t ready to go. A rumor sprang up immediately that he may run for U.S. Senate. But that’s not likely if he stays in the job another year. And the qualities that make great university presidents do not necessarily make great politicians. See: Erskine Bowles.
 
As a candidate or not, Ross has the network to make an impact in 2016. If he sounds the trumpet, he can mobilize a lot of money behind the candidate or super PAC of his choice.

 

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15
On their first day in session, legislative leaders sent a message to Governor McCrory: We’re back, and we’re in charge.
 
McCrory has talked about three things in recent weeks: He wants more money for economic incentives, he may want to expand Medicaid and he wants a Dix deal with Raleigh (not Charlotte).
 
In their opening-day news conference, Senator Phil Berger and Speaker Tim Moore said flatly that they’re not going to expand Medicaid. Senator Berger said he would wait to hear more about what the Governor wants on incentives. And, while McCrory proclaimed the Dix deal he negotiated “good news” for the city and the state, some legislators act like he handed them a skunk.
 
Three strikeouts would not be a good way to start the year.

 

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14
Two headlines this week tell why even President Obama’s fans despair sometimes.
 
First, while Obama and his staff focused on rolling out his free-community college proposal, they neglected to send anybody to the biggest story in the world: the Paris rally against terror. Second, while the President was giving a speech on cybersecurity, our military’s social media sites got hacked.
 
Mere symbolism, you might sniff. But Obama’s greatest failing as a leader is not understanding the importance of symbols like these. It’s not enough to get the policies right. It’s just as important, or more important, to show presidential and national strength.
 
Democrats didn’t lose in November because voters dislike Democratic policies nor like Republican policies. They lost because Obama looks like a weak President, not strong enough to fix the economy and keep American safe and strong.
 
For all the talk about a comeback in his last two years – “Obama being Obama” – the President’s problem isn’t fixable. His image is fixed, and Americans are turning to what they want in the next President.
 
Here’s betting they’ll want a man, or a woman, who is least like what they like least about Obama. They’ll look for a strong President to replace one who looks overwhelmed and over his head.

 

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