#ncpol: Using an RPG to swat a fly

pat worriedOur capital city is all abuzz about the recent expose by McClatchy on our governor, his deep-pocketed buddy, and said buddy’s contract with the state prison system. Granted, it was a partisan rag that put the piece together.  They seem to step up the whole scrutiny of state government thing when Republicans are in charge.  Over here, we are bi-partisan in our suspicion and disdain of the ruling class.  

The story was pretty inside-baseball, very long, and very technical.  It was likely WAY over the head of the average low-information voter.  The story could have been responded to with a wry quip like: “Oh, the Democrat Party newsletter is up to its silly old tricks again.”  Or “Those folks at North Korean state-run media over on McDowell Street sure can weave a tale, can’t they?”  Or ”*Those guys did a fabulous job covering John Edwards and the Duke lacrosse case, didn’t they?  Got all their facts PERFECT.*”

But, no.  Gov. Pat had to go nuclear. He issued a blistering attack on the McClatchy papers in Raleigh and Charlotte. That gave the story legs.  It allowed it to live another day. And it didn’t help that state Rep. Nelson Dollar went public with his criticism of the deal.   Dollar had been an ardent ally of the governor’s throughout the recently adjourned legislative session.  It’s hard to play the ‘my enemies are out to get me’ card when one of your staunch allies is out there basically saying YOU MESSED UP.

DollarIt also doesn’t help when we learn that, shortly after she criticized the prison deal with McCrory’s pal, Dollar’s wife Lorrie was pushed out of her job at the Department of Public Safety.   It’s equally unhelpful when we learn the FBI is looking into the details of what McClatchy wrote about.

I’ve been hearing stories about Gov. Pat’s alleged thin skin.  Sources have told me that unflattering media reports about the governor have often led to press aides being publicly and loudly berated and tongue-lashed by the governor in front of other office staff.

Raleigh is a different world from the mayor’s office in Charlotte.  In Raleigh, you are on the field playing in a full-contact sport.  It’s not for the faint-hearted.  (DC is as tough, or even worse.)   The political stakes are much higher when you are the head of state than when you are mayor playing patty-cake with the chamber of commerce.  The wolf-pack is much larger, and much more viciously rabid.

This is yet another example where Jack Hawke’s influence is being missed.  The governor and his team have pulled out a Stinger to go after a fly, when a flyswatter would have been just fine.  They’ve succeeded in keeping this story alive,  arousing suspicions among the public and political observers, and stirring the wolves lurking right outside the office doors.  (And we haven’t really even got the ball rolling yet on the 2016 governor’s race.)