I was out at a social gathering last night, when I overheard a conversation that bothered me. These were some folks I know — low info voters who are moderate to conservative in their politics — who I know voted for Pat McCrory in 2012. Said one of them:
“I really like Pat McCrory, but what he’s doing to teachers really bothers me. Those folks work so hard for so little. He won’t give them any more money, but he gave big raises to those kids who worked on his campaign.”
I am of two minds on the whole DHHS Salary-gate controversy. On one hand, the lefties and their media cohorts are being highly hypocritical. Putting cronies on the state payroll has been a common practice for governors for as long as there have been governors. Acting like the salaries for these two at DHHS is some kind of shocking, radical, previously unheard of practice is disgusting.
On the other hand, justifying the whole practice because Mike Easley, Jim Hunt and Bev Perdue did it too is not acceptable. Especially when you took office suggesting that you plan to put an end to business as usual in Raleigh.
Gov. Pat has bent over backwards to defend the DHHS pair by (1) insinuating AGE discrimination by the media and (2) suggesting that the raises and hiring decisions were handled in a very private sector -like manner. Nonsense. In this economy, NO ONE in the private sector is handing out raises of that size. NO PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYER is handing out that kind of responsibility, those kinds of raises, or that level of pay to anyone two years out of undergrad.
While this story is embarrassing to Gov. Pat, I don’t think it’s fatal. The story line gets problematic when you tie it to the spin about “draconian education cuts” and teacher pay. If you’re not a teacher, you are likely to be related to, or know someone who is — or has been — a public school teacher. You hear about the bureaucratic garbage teachers have to deal with, and see how many have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Take that information — pile it in with the stories about these two wet-behind-the-ears kids who don’t even have master’s degrees getting RAISES bigger than many teachers make in a year — and your blood pressure can start to rise.
This whole matter illustrates to me just how politically tone-deaf McCrory and his team are. Education & The Economy are the two top things on the minds of the people out there. I can see that from my post as editor and publisher of this fine news outlet.
A great majority of North Carolinians don’t want ObamaCare. Yet, Gov. Pat had to be dragged kicking and screaming to sign legislation refusing federal money for O-care implementation. He hasn’t made a move to join other states in their efforts to fight O-Care in the courts.
Tax cuts and a strong stand against O-Care could go a long way toward reversing our third-worst-in-the-nation unemployment rate. Yet, Gov. Pat spoke out against the legislature’s tax cut proposals — trying to ensure there would be enough money available for all of his proposed spending.
People are up in arms over the Common Core curriculum. I know several teachers who hate it, and are seriously considering quitting if the state sticks with it. Yet, Gov. Pat comes out and endorses this travesty. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has scored major points with the voters for his strong anti-Common Core tactics.
Go on the offensive against the big lie on education. DPI superintendent June Atkinson claims the GOP is ‘slowly starving education.’ Call her out on that. Show off her agency’s bloated top-heavy budget. Point out that we will be spending $400 million more on public education than we did during the last budget.
Point out that the state appropriates a lump sum of money to the public schools. DPI & June Atkinson, as well as all of the state’s local school boards, have a much bigger say — via supplemental salary appropriations — in the actual level of teacher pay. There were no teacher pay raises under the last Democrat-controlled legislature. Atkinson campaigned for reelection in 2012 promising better teacher pay. What has she done in that respect?
The leftists claim teachers are leaving North Carolina because of poor pay, and McClatchy eats it up. Well, WRAL tells us that Wake County just hired 700 new teachers. Their story includes quotes from several teachers talking about how great it is to teach in North Carolina.
It looks to me as though Gov. Pat is using his old mayoral playbook to guide his governorship. Don’t really stand firm for anything. Take care of your friends. Smile a lot.
Pat — you made a mistake with these two kids. But they are just a bump in the road. Stop talking about them. (DHHS’s payroll is down tens of millions from the last budget period. It’s not about saving taxpayer money. It’s about reversing the GOP gains of 2010 and 2012. These are the first shots of the 2016 Cooper for Governor campaign. Recognize it. Deal with it.)
Stop wasting your breath on WRAL, McClatchy and ABC-11. They are not interested in helping you or telling the truth. They are losing viewers and readers. There is a thriving, growing blogosphere here in the Carolinas ready to go to bat for someone willing to show some conservative leadership in state government. Take advantage of the opportunity. We’ll help. Give us a reason to do so.