It would be nice to have someone with a (R) next to their name residing in that big pretty house on Blount Street. But what if that person with the (R) next to their name is not really all that big of a fan of limited government? The current resident of THAT house is no fan of limited government, but has a (D) next to her name.
Our last — and only two — GOP governors were not exactly conservative firebrands. Jim Holshouser (1972) and Jim Martin (1984, 1988) were moderate middle of the road Republicans saddled with overwhelming Democrat majorities in the General Assembly and the Council of State. Of course, they got rolled and sat in the corner. Big government won the day — despite the presence of a GOP resident in the Executive Mansion.
Let’s look at 2012. Team McCrory appears to be running for governor like a high school senior runs for class president. It’s a popularity contest. Perhaps they are hoping that coattails from the presidential race — the anger with Barry O — will carry them into the Governor’s mansion in November. Ask Richard Vinroot (2000) and Patrick Ballantine (2004) about how well coattails from the presidential race work.
In 2008, Republicans got shellacked as Barry crushed McCain and swept into office. Ol’ Pat had a close race with Bev Perdue due to a divisive Democrat gubernatorial primary and the sheer political weakness of Her Highness. McCrory has been running for governor since he finished his 2008 concession speech. He had been flying high in polls pitting him against Bev. But things changed — Bev dropped out. Walter Dalton stepped in. Pat is still up in the polls, but things are tighter than they would be with Bev in the race. His polling numbers have been dropping as the months go by, while Dalton’s increase.
In 2008, the McCrory campaign could not even get GOP areas in Mecklenburg County — the folks who know him best — to turn out. Charlotte earned its title as the highest taxed city in the state at the mid-point of McCrory’s mayoral reign. Conservatives from Charlotte have been griping to me about ol’ Pat doing things like fighting their efforts to repeal tax increases.
It certainly was troubling to see McCrory skipping out on the Chick-fil-A appreciation effort, and to hear his quotes that appear to disrespect Paul Ryan’s entitlement reform efforts.
In the presidential race, conservatives are biting the bullet and going for Romney and Ryan. That is a heck of a lot better choice than FOUR MORE YEARS of Barry and Joe. In-state, would “Governor Walter Dalton” be the end of the world?
Martin and Holshouser got rolled by aggressive overwhelming Democrat majorities on Jones Street. Let’s say the GOP builds on its current majority in November. We could have Lt. Governor Dan Forest — the presiding officer in the Senate — working with the Senate leadership and the House leadership (hopefully devoid of Thom Tillis and Skip Stam) to cobble together a conservative blueprint for economic recovery in North Carolina. Jones Street has the final word on all financial and policy decisions for state government. Forest & co. could simply sit ol’ Walter in the corner while the real work of fixing North Carolina goes forward.
The Council of State also presents a lot of opportunities and possibilities for conservatives. Democrats hold a 7-2 (not counting Bev) margin on the council. Let’s say Republicans Berry and Troxler hold their seats. Replace Perdue with Dalton. Replace Dalton with Forest. Replace Elaine Marshall, June Atkinson and Wayne Goodwin with Ed Goodwin, John Tedesco and Mike Causey. That leaves Governor Dalton with a 6-3 GOP majority on the Council of State. That development could easily produce some dramatic changes — to the benefit of taxpayers — in the way state government works.
Don’t get me wrong: I’d like to see Pat McCrory win his race. I’d like to see him make a sharp right turn from his mayoral ways. But — judging from what I’ve seen so far in this race — the former appears much more likely than the latter.