What whining! In this morning’s News & Observer, Peder Zane bemoans Democratic attacks on Republican policies, complaining that they are over-the-top and not based in reality. In particular, he says Democrats are complaining about things that happened while they were in office, too.
Zane says that “Democrats slashed teacher pay” in 2011 because of a huge hole in the budget. He then goes on to say that Democrats didn’t deal with the coal ash ponds, either. Finally, he slams protesters that compare the voter suppression bills to Jim Crow laws.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. A lot of the most vocal critics of the GOP policies were also critics of the Democrats when they were in office. While their rhetoric has changed, their sentiments have not.
Democrats never “slashed teacher pay.” They just didn’t offer raises in a budget crunch. In contrast, judging from the rhetoric of GOP legislators, Republicans weren’t just reluctantly denying pay raises, they were gleefully exacting revenge. The cuts weren’t just limited to pay raises, they took away job security, cut resources to classrooms and increased class size. They essentially made the case that public education is broken and it’s the teachers’ fault.
As for the coal ash ponds, environmentalists have been trying to get DENR and the power companies to deal with them for years, without regard to party. However, the disaster happened on the GOP’s watch so they own it. That’s how politics works. But Republicans aren’t just getting the blame for the spill. They are getting the blame for the response. John Skvarla and the party of personal responsibility seemed shocked that anyone would suggest that Duke Energy and its shareholders be held accountable for their bad decisions.
As for the voter suppression bills, Zane is ignoring the history of racial discrimination in North Carolina. Republicans didn’t just implement a voter ID bill. They passed a series of bills that were clearly meant to reduce the number of African-American and younger voters. The laws might not be a return to Jim Crow, but, from the stand point of African-Americans, any attempt to disenfranchise voters is opening up old wounds and an insult to the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.
Finally, if Zane wants to complain about over-the-top, misleading rhetoric in politics, he needs to be pointing the finger at Fox News. Political rhetoric has always been heated in this country, but Roger Ailes and Fox were the first to run a propaganda machine under the guise of reporting real news.
So, Peder, in North Carolina, your side won. Quit whining and start governing. Criticism, no matter how sharp, comes with the job. Get over it.
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 >