Creating the bully pulpit

by | Mar 24, 2014 | Editor's Blog, Environment, NCGov | 1 comment

Roy Cooper has been butting into Pat McCrory’s business. Since he started making serious noises about running for governor, the Attorney General has weighed in on contentious issues from voting rights to the coal ash spill. And the Governor is tired of it.

Last week, McCrory warned Cooper to stay out the debate over cleaning up the spill. He’s accusing Cooper of politicizing the environmental disaster. McCrory’s wrong about that. It was already political long before Cooper weighed in.

McCrory and his Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources John Skvarla set the stage for the criticism they’ve received through their hubris. Skvarla has publicly ridiculed the environmental community and they’ve both made it clear that under Democrats, environmental regulations were too heavy-handed. Consequently, they’ve slashed the Division of Water Resources with massive layoffs and by shrinking the staff.

Skvarla said that he wanted to make the agency more business friendly and even talked about an “economic development” function. In addition, McCrory spent 29 years working for the company that owned the coal ash ponds. He kind of looks like Duke’s man in Raleigh.

Finally, Skvarla botched his initial response to spill. Instead of signaling that the administration would do everything possible to get the Dan River cleaned up and protect the state from additional spills, the DENR secretary made it clear that moving coal ash ponds would be too expensive for Duke. And then he walked out of his own press conference.

McCrory can accuse Cooper of being opportunistic, but he didn’t politicize anything. McCrory and company did that. Their arrogance and dismissive response to opponents of their policies opened the door to broad criticism when things fell apart. And in McCroryland, nobody in the administration is ever held responsible for anything.

Cooper is using his position as Attorney General to create a bully pulpit as the voice of the loyal opposition. If the McCrory administration were more competent, Cooper might have a harder time getting away with it. But between the DENR and the Department of Health and Human Services fiascoes, Cooper’s words reflect a widely accepted sentiment. McCrory needs to fix the perception of him and his administration before he can successfully chastise anybody for politicizing a situation.

1 Comment

  1. geek49203

    This is part of the problem with one-party government, be it in the USA (ie, Detroit, NC, etc) or some country where there has been a dictatorship in place for quite a while. Long story short — One needs to have skill and experience to run a government, and yeah, when one group has run things for, say, 100+ years, there is a high chance that they’ve got all of the experience and skill.

    You see, Andrew Jackson might’ve been correct in his day in his belief (“Jacksonian Democracy”) that the common man (woman) could run a government. However, based on my work with 5 state governments (including NC), I don’t think that the “man off of the streets” would have no ability to do the job of much of even a village government today. At the very least he/she would need some time to figure it out. And I suspect that Ole Andy wasn’t even correct in his day.

    This is the mistake documented by “Lawrence of Arabia” as the “locals” were tasked with running Damascus / what is now Syria.

    This is the reason why the “losers” (don’t wanna “go Nazi” this early in the morning) of WW2 were put back into power, or allowed back into power, by Allied occupational forces. (I think that Gen. Patton was relieved of duty for putting the old Nazi leaders back in charge in his area?)

    And quite frankly, one of the biggest mistakes that Dubya made was to deny the old Baathist party the chance to run the Iraq government again, thus insuring both a government staffed with noobs as well as a huge number of people wanting the thing to fail. Let’s see… new gov’t, staffed with noobs, people wanting it to fail, and Dubya’s mistake thrown in… now where can I draw parallels? Hmmmmm….

    You saw that when both Clinton and Obama came to the white house, and mostly hired staff that had never been inside of the White House before, let alone run the thing. Clinton brought in expertise, and Obama has let his folks figure it out (or not, based on your beliefs about how well Obama has been served.)

    And quite frankly, it is my observation that none of the GOP people now trying to run pretty much everything have done this before. Will they be able to figure it out? Probably. Before they are voted out? Now, THAT is the question.

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