The political establishment — and the state political media — are coming around to the realization that, barring the discovery of a dead girl or a live boy in the McCrory residence, Mayor Pat will be getting a promotion at the end of the year. That doesn’t mean the media will play nice and welcome him to Raleigh with open arms.
Being mayor of Charlotte is one thing. You can shuck and jive, back-slap and cajole your way to reelection. You’re not getting a lot of hard questions from the media. At the dawn of 2013, Governor McCrory will be facing a liberal media — and leftist political establishment — still sore over and angry about losing control of state government for the first time in 20 years. The long knives will be out, and there will be a bulls-eye on Pat’s smiling face.
Democrat strategist Gary Pearce has issued some sage advice to our new governor that echoes what I have been saying: upgrade your media relations / press operation.
I know this may come to a shock, Pat — but Rob Christensen and John Frank are NOT interested in being your friend. They have been a big help and comfort to Jim Hunt, Mike Easley and Bev, but they will not be there for YOU.
We already know there is some animosity about the Republican governor-in-waiting. We already know that Mayor Pat is not the most articulate or smoothest cat in front of the press throng. (His press operation has done a lot of stumbling and bumbling — doing him more harm than good. Pat has been lucky that he’s running as an anti-establishment Republican in a year that people are angry at establishment Democrats.) He needs to be insulated and protected by a competent team that can effectively hold off the jackals and develop good relations with local papers and sympathetic bloggers. (The N&O’s influence drops off dramatically once you step outside the Raleigh beltline.)
Before dismissing this advice, you should pull out and review the old tapes of Governor Jim Martin’s press conferences. The media jackals picked him apart and tore him up so badly that he promised to leave politics forever. (He DID, and we got 20 years of Democrat governance.) If you don’t learn from history, you are sure to repeat it.