Pat McCrory really is trying hard to get a reset. Earlier this week, he rolled out a press conference at the Governor’s Mansion flanked by his cabinet secretaries. He went over his priorities for 2014, but failed to take any responsibility for the problems that came out of 2013.

McCrory has a serious credibility problem with the press and with his Democratic opponents. He needs to offer more than words. He needs to take action to show that he’s serious.

McCrory said the right things about teacher pay. He wants a give them a raise during the short session and even acknowledged that the issue requires a long term solution, not a quick fix. But where was this McCrory when the budget got passed? Teacher pay sure wasn’t his priority six months ago.

If he really wants to make an impact, he should offer a bold plan on teacher pay and force the legislature to respond. If he really wants a better dialogue with Democrats, he should involve them in designing the plan. He could grab the mantel of bipartisanship and dare Republicans facing re-election to oppose a bipartisan plan to raise teacher pay to the national average. That’s leadership.

I realize McCrory’s not an intellectually curious guy, but he should take some time to study Bill Clinton’s tenure as president and Jim Hunt’s tenure as governor. Both men found the middle, alienated the extremes and got a lot done. And both left office popular.

Right now, North Carolina has a number of issues that have broad public support, particularly in education. McCrory should grab them and make a stand. It’s an election year. The short session of the legislature happens after the primary season. Reach across the aisle and force some of his Republican colleagues to do the same. After his pitiful performance in 2013, he’s really got nothing to lose.


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