I usually take a break from blogging on Saturday, but Pat McCrory’s response to the New York Time’s editorial needs a response. Travis Fain took a good shot at the Time’s editorial board in his piece this morning. As a fellow Southerner, I agree with a lot of his points though I felt The Times was about right even if it was a bit over the top in its language. However, I want to respond to the Governor.
McCrory is off the mark from the the beginning. As his hometown newspaper, The Charlotte Observer noted this morning, “he’s clearly not in charge,” so his claim to “lead the state” is just plain false. I’m tempted to accuse him of lying, but I think this is merely self-deception.
Contrary to what he claims about reforms, the tax overhaul is spiraling into an old-fashioned tax cut for the rich and shifting the tax burden to the shoulders of the middle-class. The energy program is essentially, “drill, baby, drill” except that nobody is sure that we have enough oil or natural gas to make a significant impact on our economy. The education reforms amount to drastic cuts to public schools while paying off the conservative base so the state can subsidize religious schools with vouchers. If anything works, it will be transportation reform. We need serious economic development strategies for rural N.C. but I don’t believe gutting the agencies that focus on the rural sector is the right way to go.
The GE plant he mentioned came at a steep price. McCrory campaigned about the evils of incentives but he’s giving money to corporations to come here at the same time he’s cutting teachers, denying health care and kicking people off of unemployment insurance.
And his reforms have not “stepped on the toes of the political right.” They have essentially been panders to his right-wing base and he’s rolled over on virtually every wing-nut social program oozing out of the crazy legislature. He was elected as a moderate but nobody has seen that side of him yet.
What is clearly missing from McCrory’s response is addressing the crazy stuff in the legislature that scares the bejeezus out of companies that might want to move to NC. If the stuff he did mention is truly his priority, he’s failed to guide the agenda. He seems to have minimal grasp of the role of the governor or state government and he’s clearly afraid to confront his counterparts in the legislature. He missed a clear opportunity to address the perceptions, not just of the New York Times, but of people across the country that North Carolina is heading backwards, not forward.