At the end of his first term, George Bush was asked what he would have done differently. He couldn’t think of one thing. Everything was lovely despite wars without end, 9/11, exploding deficits and a housing bubble that was just a few years from bursting.
Pat McCrory must have taken good notes. Watching his NC Spin interview makes me wonder if we live in the same state or if maybe his handlers are just censoring his daily updates. According to the Governor, everything has gone great during his first eight months in office.
He even gives the equivalent of a “Heckuva job, Brownie” to Aldona Wos, his less than competent Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. And then he goes on to say that his cabinet secretaries haven’t gotten enough attention.
Governor, have you not read the newspapers since you took office? Just to catch you up, one of your cabinet secretaries, Secretary of Public Safety Kieran Shanahan, resigned amid a yet-to-be disclosed scandal. Another, DENR Secretary John Skvarla, got the most biting resignation letter from a career employee that I’ve ever read. And the one you’ve praised so heartily, Secretary Wos, has been fighting negative press for giving out huge raises to employees after you called for a salary freeze, hiring cronies and failing to get assistance to families. And, now, she’s is scared to talk to the press. Just thought you’d like to know.
McCrory goes on to criticize the legislature’s work, particularly their dealings with education and the budget. He says he could have vetoed the budget, but it “would have paralyzed government.” No, it wouldn’t have. Besides, that’s his job. He’s got the veto for exactly that reason–to stop bad legislation.
So, if everything has gone so well, what caused all of those bad headlines and stinging editorials? Well, according to McCrory, the media doesn’t understand what’s going on and they’ve been duped by groups like Progress NC, Common Cause and Policy Watch.
Governor, just for the record, the folks covering state government and politics, Rob Christensen, Jim Morrill, Laura Leslie, Mark Binker and others, have been around a lot longer than you have, as have most of the editorial writers who criticized you. They’ve seldom been duped before and they’ve never been a partisan group. In fact, they played more than a small role in bringing down some pretty powerful Democrats.
Your wounds are almost all self-inflicted. You broke blatant campaign promises and you’ve been less than honest on enough occasions that people question your character. You quite clearly were scared to stand up to the legislature and don’t understand how to use the bully pulpit or build allies. You were elected to create jobs and you didn’t even offer a jobs plan. Instead, you cut 170,000 people off of unemployment benefits when there are no jobs to be had. You turned down a Medicaid expansion which would have covered 500,000 North Carolinians without costing the state a dime. You signed a budget that significantly underfunded virtually every aspect of our state education system. Finally, you blame everybody else for your mistakes.
I watched the interview. You have some good ideas. But so do a lot of people in Raleigh. Governing is about bringing people with you, including the press and, at least to some degree, the opposition party. You’ve failed to do that and, if you don’t start, your ideas will fail, too.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >