Blog Articles
17
Don’t underestimate the chances that people who think like Bob Rucho might control Congress a year from now.
 
Behind Rucho’s tweet and the budget battle in Washington is a death match between the Tea Party and the GOP Establishment.  If the Tea Party wins that war, and if Obamacare sinks Democrats in November, the Tea Party could end up in charge. Compared to what will come after that, the Gingrich-Clinton battles of the late 1990s will look like a, well, tea party.
 
So if you’re tempted to dismiss today’s right-wing rants and tweets, heed the warning signs.
 
Yes, Rucho’s tweet was condemned by Establishment Republicans like state Chair Claude Pope (one TAPster said: “He reads your blog!”) and Senator Jeff Tarte, who is Speaker Thom Tillis’ friend, neighbor and political ally. But Tea Party leaders leapt to Rucho’s defense, and what he said is right down the Tea Party-Fox News party line.
 
Then there is the PPP poll finding that Kentucky Republicans say they like Rand Paul (Tea Party) better than Mitch McConnell (Establishment) by a 59-27 margin.
 
Then there is Senator Richard Burr’s flip-flop on the bipartisan budget compromise. Politico reported that “North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, a close friend of (Speaker John) Boehner’s, said last week he’d vote to advance the deal, but on Monday he changed course and decided to sustain a filibuster, a spokesman said.”
 
Democrats underestimated the Republican right wing before: After the Goldwater debacle in 1964. Then Ronald Reagan came along and almost derailed Nixon in 1968. Eventually, the right wing took over the GOP and then the White House and Congress.
 
It can happen again.
 

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

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

16
Sometimes all you have to do is repeat a politician’s own words. Like Senator Bob Rucho’s tweet: “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis,Soviets & terrorists combined.”
 
(Note to grammar cops: Yes, his tweet said “has,” not “have” and “then,” not “than.”)
 
It appears from Rucho’s Twitter profile that the tweet was posted at 4:41 am Sunday. Maybe he was hacked. Or maybe 4:41 am is not a good time to be tweeting. You’re up either too early or too late.
 
This gives Democrats an opportunity. They can ask random Republicans: Do you agree with Senator Rucho?
 
First let’s ask state GOP Chair Claude Pope. He has shown he does not tolerate comparisons to Nazis.
 
Pope pounced this summer when columnist and UNC-TV host D.G. Martin made an oblique reference to Nazis in a column about North Carolina politics.
 
Pope called Martin’s column "inexcusable, disgusting and shameful." He called on UNC-TV to suspend Martin's show, lest his comments "damage the reputation of an otherwise upstanding organization.”
 
“It’s a shame that UNC-TV televises such a divisive, toxic personality with our taxpayer funds,” he went on. "We call on UNC-TV to suspend this program while they evaluate their relationship with their host who made such an outrageous and damaging comparison. Such divisive hyperbole only serves to confuse and trivialize issues that are important to North Carolinians, who all deserve a formal apology.”
 
Both Carter and I posted blogs pointing out how much of a stretch it was to say D.G. had compared Republicans to Nazis.  Carter wrote, “Ole Claude, out of paranoia, foolishness, or a plain mean streak, indulged in a fact twist.”
 
Nevertheless, D.G. stood up and said: “I'm very sorry that I offended some people, and I apologize. Period."
 
Will Claude Pope hold Senator Rucho to the same standard to which he held D.G.? Will any big-name Republican have the courage say Rucho went too far? Will Rucho apologize?
 
We’re all atwitter with anticipation.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |

13
Every child knows just before Christmas is the time to be ‘as good as you can be’ – so you might think after the mischief it’s been up to this year Congress would be rolling up its sleeves and planning to work straight through the holidays to pass the farm bill, a jobless benefits bill, the defense budget and confirm a new Federal Reserve Chairman – but you’d be dead wrong.
 
The House stops work tomorrow to head home and the Senate (which already took a week off earlier this month) will follow a few days later. In all, the two chambers will have worked 10 days each this month.
 
What are the chances they’ll be receiving ashes and switches for Christmas?

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |

13
Both President Obama and Governor McCrory are learning that reforming health care can be harmful to your political health. Their politics are different, but their experiences are strikingly similar.
 
Both are trying to make big changes in the health care system, Obama with the Affordable Care Act and McCrory with Medicaid privatization.
 
Both have had a hard time explaining exactly what they’re doing. Few people can explain in a few words what Obamacare does. Few grasp what McCrory is trying to do with Medicaid.
 
Both have had trouble with websites and computer glitches.
 
Both operate in a poisonous, polarized political and media environment with political opponents who are poised to pounce.
 
Both face skeptics in their own party.
 
Both have Cabinet secretaries who have become piñatas for blame and calumny.
 
From both, the lesson is the same. Health care is big, and it’s complicated. You better be clear about what you’re doing. You better not underestimate the obstacles. And you better bring your A game.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |

12
December brings “Best of 2013” Lists, and here’s one about Governor McCrory, courtesy of the website Buzzfeed.
 
(Like President Obama. I thought buzz feed was something you did in college at 2 a.m.)
 
The Governor has acquired a reputation as the unwitting source of unintentionally funny and baffling statements – and misstatements. This is a collection of some gems, titled “North Carolina’s Hilariously Incompetent Governor in 15 Quotes.”
 
Now, some of them are new to me. Did he really say, for example, “My strength is concepts and strategy and theory and also facts”?
 
But I know he said, ““We didn’t shorten early voting, we compacted the calendar.”
 
With any luck, the Governor will challenge the list. That would be fun.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |

11
Politics 101 used to say that getting in the news was good for politicians. Not today.
 
The new rule is: If you’re in the spotlight, you’re losing. The more you’re in the news, the lower your poll ratings.
 
When the government shutdown dominated Page 1, Republicans plummeted in the polls. When Obamacare took over the headlines, Obama took a hit. Now Obamacare coverage has cooled, and Obama’s national numbers have ticked up.
 
Same for Kay Hagan. She was up when the news focused on the shutdown, then down during the Obamacare frenzy.
 
Same thing in Raleigh. When the legislature was in town, its approval ratings fell. Now that Governor McCrory is the lead story, his numbers are down.
 
Why? Because voters hate politicians. The more they see of them, the more they hate them. And they’re cynical about government. They don’t believe government can do anything right.
 
At the same time, the news media has laid off staff and cut back routine coverage of government. Scandals and foul-ups get far more attention than the new initiatives politicians love to tout.
 
Governor McCrory thought he would get applause for “fixing” Medicaid and DHHS. Instead, he and Secretary Vos got roasted. Same for his Department of Commerce reorganization; coverage will focus on the flaws and faults.
 
Come next November’s election, the loser will be whoever is in the spotlight.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Posted in: General, Raleigh
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |

11
So, according to the newspaper, a varmint in Fayetteville shanghaied two teenage girls, held them hostage for months, beat them, threatened to kill their families, raped them, turned them into prostitutes, videotaped them having sex then a high judge gave him 45 years in prison.
 
These days we’re civilized and enlightened but given some varmints’ meanness it sure makes you wonder whether folks in less enlightened times (when they held public hangings) understood varmints better than we do. 

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Posted in: General, Issues
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |

10
This from our Shameless Self-Promotion Department:
 
Carter and I did an interview with Don Gonyea, National Political Correspondent for NPR.  Part of it ran in a story about Senator Kay Hagan’s reelection race. 
 
And I was interviewed on Chris Fitzsimon’s News & Views on WRAL-FM. It’s on the NC Policy Watch website.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Posted in: General
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |

10
Nelson Mandela lived half a world away, but North Carolina has a history with South Africa and the apartheid system he destroyed.
 
Go back more than 50 years. Jim Hunt, a student at N.C. State in the late 1950s, heard Allard Lowenstein speak to a National Students Association meeting about “the terrible injustices and cruelties” of apartheid in South Africa. Lowenstein compared apartheid to segregation in America and the South. Hunt recalled, “I was absolutely persuaded that a segregated system was wrong, morally wrong.”
 
Go back almost 30 years. In 1986, North Carolina’s two Senators, Jesse Helms and Jim Broyhill, voted to sustain President Reagan's veto of a law imposing economic sanctions on South Africa over apartheid.
 
They were on the losing side, legislatively and historically.
 
The vote to override was 78-21, 12 votes more than the two-thirds needed. Republicans had a majority of the Senate (52 members), but voted to override Reagan by 31-21.
 
Bob Dole, the majority leader, called the vote as a ''litmus test'' on civil rights. Then-freshman Senator Mitch McConnell said of Reagan’s opposition to sanctions: ''I think he is ill-advised. I think he is wrong.”
 
Not Helms, of course. He said on the floor, “The thrust of this legislation is to bring about violent, revolutionary change, and after that, tyranny.''
 
That is, we should protect terror and tyranny in order to prevent tyranny.
 
Jim Broyhill probably knew better. He was no Helms, but he couldn’t split with Helms. Broyhill was running for election to the seat; he had been appointed after Senator John East died. Broyhill lost anyway, to one of those North Carolinians who had decided that segregation was wrong: Terry Sanford.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |

09
Chapel Hill-bashing may play well on the Outer Banks, but it’s not helping people who live or work south of Bonner Bridge.
 
DOT Secretary Tony Tata sounded like the Fox News commentator he once was when he blasted “ivory tower elitists (who) file these lawsuits from their air-conditioned offices in Chapel Hill…with their lattes and their contempt, and chuckle while the good people of the Outer Banks are fighting hard to scratch out a living….”
 
Governor McCrory, Senator Berger and Speaker Tillis jumped on the bandwagon bashing the Southern Environmental Law Center for blocking the bridge.
 
Every story, like every bridge, has two sides. And so does this one.
 
Derb Carter, the law center’s director, said, “DOT’s plan to build new bridges in the exact same places over Oregon Inlet and along NC-12 is going to cause the exact same problems that led to the current bridge closure and recent road closures: the ocean will continue to scour the new bridges and erode the road, NCDOT admits its proposed bridges will end up in the ocean, and the people of Hatteras Island will continue to be stranded by NCDOT’s poor planning for decades to come.”
 
A longer – and, yes, costlier – bridge over the calm waters of Pamlico Sound is the right long-term decision, Carter said, but DOT refuses to consider that alternative.
 
He also questioned why “Bonner Bridge closed so suddenly, without warning to the public after the bridge had been declared safe for travel just days before.”
 
I get both sides in this debate. I spend a lot of time at OBX. I’ve been over Bonner Bridge and down NC 12 more times than I can count. I know people whose lives and livelihoods are affected every time the ocean takes away their lifeline.
 
I don’t pretend to know the right answer here. But I do know that the political posturing going on in Raleigh over lawyers in Chapel Hill isn’t helping Outer Bankers. Unfortunately, this is what passes for leadership in Raleigh today.
 
To get a good – and, yes, fair and balanced – picture of the problem, including the geography and the history, read N&O Senior Editor Dan Barkin’s excellent Q&A.

 

[Click to read and post comments...]

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

Page 12 of 369First   Previous   7  8  9  10  11  [12]  13  14  15  16  Next   Last   
Carter & Gary
 
Carter Wrenn
 
 
Gary Pearce
 
 
The Charlotte Observer says: “Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But they both love North Carolina and know its politics inside and out.”
 
Carter is a Republican. 
Gary is a Democrat.
 
They met in 1984, during the epic U.S. Senate battle between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt. Carter worked for Helms and Gary, for Hunt.
 
Years later, they became friends. They even worked together on some nonpolitical clients.
 
They enjoy talking about politics. So they started this blog in 2005. 
 
They’re still talking. And they invite you to join the conversation.
 
 
Follow Gary


Follow Carter

 


Order The Book


 

Carter's Book!

Purchase Carter's Book:

Spirits of the Air

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Copyright (c) Talking About Politics   :  DNN Hosting  :  Terms Of Use  :  Privacy Statement