#ncsen: A “rebellion against the ultra-conservatives”? (SERIOUSLY?)

Yep.  That’s the verdict handed down by Washington Post columnist and drive-by media pundit E.J. Dionne regarding our US Senate race this year:

The clergy gathered in the ­second-floor conference room at the First Baptist Church here were pondering whether this midterm election might be different from other midterm elections.ej

The five African American pastors and bishops represented diverse theological traditions, but all were profoundly unhappy over what North Carolina’s ultra-conservative state government in Raleigh had done to reduce access to the ballot box, cut education spending and turn back money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The irony, said the Rev. Dray Bland, pastor of First Baptist on Apple — the street location distinguishes it from the predominantly white First Baptist Church downtown — is that measures designed to make it harder for voters to cast ballots may actually inspire a larger number to do so.

“While many in Raleigh thought they could suppress the vote through these new voter laws, they may increase turnout by rallying the vote,” Bland said. “The apathy we might have had has turned into action.”

Hmmm. Black preachers paying lip service to the Democrat Party.  *Who’da thunk it?* (I wonder if these guys know The Round Rev.?) MORE:

[…] In the struggle for control of the Senate, the reaction against reaction has allowed Sen. Kay Hagan, so far at least, to defy the punditocracy. Once seen as one of this year’s most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, Hagan has been maintaining a small but steady lead over state House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Tillis’s problem is the sharp right turn in the governance of one of the South’s traditionally moderate states, which he helped engineer along with Gov. Pat McCrory. The governor doesn’t face the voters this year, so Tillis is reaping the whirlwind — particularly in a state that has been a pioneer in using good schools and world-class universities to build its economy.

“Traditionally moderate”?  Let’s see — from 1972 to 2002 we sent Jesse Helms to the US Senate.  In 2012, we elected Dan Forest as lieutenant governor.  Both of these guys campaigned as proud, principled conservatives.  Right now, Forest is arguably the most popular political figure in the state. MORE: 

“The edge that Kay Hagan has in this race, I believe, is attributable to the direction the state has taken and Thom Tillis’s role in that,” said Rep. David Price (D), whose district includes the Research Triangle area that typifies North Carolina’s road to growth. “There are many things to be outraged about, but the most powerful is what the Republicans have done to public education, and to our teachers.”

Yeah.  A “road to growth” paved with a hell of a lot of government employees slavishly devoted to the gods of bureaucracy. *It’s good of Dionne to pick such an unbiased analyst of the political climate.*  MORE: 

[…] Rarely has a debate offered a better look at how two candidates view the political landscape than the encounter Tuesday night between Tillis and Hagan at the studios of UNC-TV.wait

Tillis had one person on his mind. No matter what question moderator George Stephanopoulos asked, Tillis found a way to mention that Hagan had voted “96 percent” of the time with President Obama. He made 10 references to that number and, in case anybody missed it, mentioned it twice more at a news conference after the debate. Tillis is betting his campaign on disaffection with the president.

For her part, Hagan pointed out that, while Obama is not on the ballot, Tillis is. Her calling card was Tillis’s “extremism.” She stayed on him for having “gutted education” and at times forced the speaker on the defensive. She also criticized Tillis for blocking the Medicaid expansion and for opposing, among other measures, the minimum wage, new equal-pay laws and student loan refinancing, even as he had favored “tax cuts for the wealthy.”

Yet there is no way Hagan will let Tillis tag her as a liberal. In the battle of statistics, she loves nothing better than to cite National Journal’s 2013 Senate ratings that position her “smack dab in the middle, just like North Carolina,” a phrase she used to open an interview on Wednesday. Indeed, the magazine’s numbers had her at 49.3 percent liberal, 50.7 percent conservative.

Tillis’s record and Hagan’s own have allowed her to make the argument that Democrats would like to press nationwide: that today’s Republican Party is far to the right of the country in its attitudes toward government’s role, even on basic matters such as education.

And the very effort to make it harder for people to vote signals the importance of the franchise in a way that no amount of direct mail could. The Rev. William Barber II, whose “Moral Mondays” movement has mobilized opposition to the parade of right-wing policies out of Raleigh, said in an interview that voters in the state are ready to rise up against an approach designed to “make sure that it’s easier to get a gun than to vote.”

Should they do so, you wonder if Republicans will get the message: that even voters disappointed with President Obama ttsmileare not ready to embrace a radical conservatism as the alternative.

Let me explain something to ol’ E.J. and the rest of the chattering class who think they have this all figured out.  Tillis has a number of problems — none of which include raging conservatism. He’s a technocrat who is more impressed with process than principle.  When he first ran for the state House, he bashed his GOP opponent for not bringing a sufficient amount of government money back to the district.  

The Tillis campaign’s biggest problem is that a lot of the things they COULD attack Hagan on could easily be turned around onto their guy.  It’ shard to establish credibility on fighting ObamaCare when your guy actually fought to establish a state health exchange. He tried to push through a massive pork-laden piece of legislation near the end of the legislative session.  When his own Republicans balked at this largesse, he unsuccessfully tried to cut a deal with the Democrat minority.  Stuff like that takes away any credibility on claims of fiscal conservatism. 

You could make a case on corporate cronyism against Hagan. But stuff like this and this takes the wind out of those sails.  You could bash Hagan for embracing big government environmentalist crap. But then, Thom has too. 

A big factor is likeability.  Here in Moore County, we used to be part of the Sixth District and were represented by Howard Coble.  A lot of us gave Coble a pass on his moderate voting record because he was likeable and responsive.  Talk to people who KNOW Thom Tillis.  Talk to people who have interacted with Kay Hagan.  I hear plenty of stories from Republican-leaners about her responsiveness and likeability.  I hear a lot of stories about Tillis threatening / intimidating people (or even primarying them) if they don’t see things his way. drive_by_media1

Many of us on the right KNOW that we’re going to take a hit at the end of the election.  If Tillis is unsuccessful, the Tea Party will be blamed.  Never mind that Tillis has refused to approach or try to mend fences with Tea Party folks.  Upon a Tillis loss, the media will blame “right-wing extremism.”   Never mind that Tillis fought hard against most of the actual conservative legislation that passed the General Assembly.  The GOP establishment will argue that we on the right need to be thrown overboard.  We’re weighing the GOP down.  Never mind that conservatism and its believers are responsible for nearly all the modern-day success of the GOP. 

Another factor: Too much defense.  Theam Tillis has spent way too much time responding to Hagan.  In football, keeping your defense on the field more than your offense is a good indicator that things will not end well. 

Many of us are looking for a reason to line up behind Tillis.  But a campaign talking about committee attendance, paper routes, autism, birth control, and “replacing” ObamaCare makes it hard.  A principled conservative campaign can produce positive results in North Carolina. Just ask Dan Forest. 



30 thoughts on “#ncsen: A “rebellion against the ultra-conservatives”? (SERIOUSLY?)

  1. A number of folks I’ve spoken with, including those inside and outside of the “political class,” have said that if Dan Forest had filed for the US Senate race this year, it wouldn’t have been close. Lieutenant Dan is principled, likeable, and is one of the few folks in Raleigh showing leadership. If I were a betting person, I’d bet that if Lt. Dan were running, he’d be up around 5 points right now on Hagan.

    1. If either Dan Forest or former Ambassador Jim Cain were our nominee, they would be mopping up the floor with Hagan.

      Instead we are stuck with loser Tillis because of meddling in our primary by three main forces:
      1) the NRSC
      2) Rove and his Crossroads mafia
      3) the US Chamber of Commerce (aka Chamber of Corruption)

      No conservative should EVER send a dime to any of them.

      1. I don’t know about #1 but Rove/Crossroads and “the Chamber of C” are enhanced factors due to the Citizens United decision. That free flow of money corrupts our political process (Right, Center, and Left).

        1. Doesn’t bother me. The more speech, the better. Corporations or unions, anonymous or not, I don’t care.

        2. Name me one country in the world at any time in which the rich did not have more power than the poor.

          When money starts loses its influence then our whole society will fall into chaos. The pursuit of money may be the root of all evil but I don’t know anyone not entering the race.

          If the rich liberals outspend the rich conservatives then they win a well fought and honorable election. If the rich conservative win then they stole the election from the mouth of babes. Or something.

  2. Anybody remember how Faircloth took down Sanford 20 years ago? If I remember correctly it was because Sanford rented a building he owned to his Senate office. Those commercials started playing a few weeks before the election. Notice we don’t see any stimulating commercials. I can only assume Hagan and the D’s have something more than that on Thom and they know it. Someone has some esplaining to do and it ain’t Lucy.

    1. Tillis’ extensive pay for play record as well as his own record on so many key issues that is not too different from Hagan means there is not much he can run stimulating ads on that would not be rammed down his throat. That is the sort of lousy nominee Karl Rove stuck us with.

      How a prospective GOP nominee is positioned on the issues, especially those on which the Democrat is vulnerable should be a key component of vetting our candidates. The establishment does not care about issues. They did not do this with Romney, and we lost as a result. They did not do it with Tillis and we are likely to lose that one for the same reason. For example, when Democrats are vulnerable on the highly unpopular Obamacare, it is really really dumb to run a candidate who has championed the very similar Romneycare or has called Obamacare ”a great idea” and pushed legislation creating a state Obamacare exchange through the NC House

  3. The ultra-conservatives in North Carolina do not seem to be doing too well. They have a lot to say about Tillis but they did little to nothing to support Brannon. The ultra-conservatives did not even get Brannon into a runoff.

    If the ultra-conservatives in North Carolina had put forth the same effort they have in bashing Tillis into electing Brannon then Brannon would be cruising to victory.

    Don’t tell me, it was Rove’s fault. No fault on the part of North Carolina’s band of merry ultra-conservatives. Did Rove outsmart the ultras? Or did he have more money? Or were the ultras merely lazy? Or dumb?

    Oh well, defeating Tillis and reelecting Kay will give us some closure.

    If we only had Lt. Dan on the ticket. “I coulda been a contenda!”

    1. Perhaps Brannon did not run the best race, however with seven opponents it really muddied the water. It’s clear Brannon is not a politician, exactly what voters claim to want except when it comes time to vote.

      Since when did embracing the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence make one ultra conservative? Have we sunk so low as a nation that decency is no longer a viable platform?

      1. The Republican Party today sits ideologically just about where John F. Kennedy sat in 1960. Both parties have moved considerably to the left since then. The extremists today are the Obama Democrats.

        Indeed there was a great TV ad that Scott Brown put out in the special Senate election in Massachusetts. He took a clip of a speech by JFK that covered a range of issues. The ad started out with JFK speaking and then morphed into Brown finishing the speech. All of the issues covered by JFK were right on the money for GOP positions today, and now the Obama Democrats are far far to the left of that.

      2. I can’t say it often enough. If you’re a conservative and you don’t like the way the NCGOP is acting than all such conservatives need to take over their respective local Republican Parties and begin dictating how its going to be to the Establishment drones currently occupying Hillsborough Street.

      3. I think you hit the nail on the head-Brannon didn’t run the most effective campaign, sure it came close in and with a few week more he probably would have pulled it off, but by the primary it was too little too late.

        1. Alice said it best in “Alice in Wonderland:”

          Alice: Well, when one’s lost, I suppose it’s good advice to stay where you are, until someone finds you. But who’d ever think to look for me here?
          Alice: Good advice. If I listened earlier, I wouldn’t be here. But that’s just the trouble with me. I give myself very good advice.
          Alice: But I very seldom follow it. That explains the trouble that I’m always in. Be patient, is very good advice, but the waiting makes me curious. And I’d love the change. Should something strange begin?
          [begins to cry]
          Alice: Well… I went along my merry way, and I never stopped to reason. I should’ve known there’d be a price to pay, someday… Someday… I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it!
          [cries harder]
          Alice: Will I ever learn to do the things I should?
          [continues crying]

          I think many of the ultras cannot get past what “might have been.” The reality is that North Carolina will send Hagan or Tillis to represent us in the US Senate. There is the long shot chance that I will win the lottery or that Haugh or one of the twiddledee or twiddledum candidates will win but I have my doubts.

          When the first string quarterback gets knocked out of the game then you send in the second string guy. Or if you do not want to consider anyone but the first string guy I guess you could concede the game and take the bus back home.

          1. The analogy to this Senate race, is that you suggest that if George Washington is out of place, you turn the army over to Benedict Arnold instead.

            If a candidate does not have the party loyalty to follow party principles as set down in its platform, what use are they to the party or its voters?

      4. Nancy said, “Have we sunk so low as a nation that decency is no longer a viable platform?”

        It appears to me that Establishment Republicans have sunk that low.

      5. “Since when did embracing the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence make one ultra conservative? Have we sunk so low as a nation that decency is no longer a viable platform?”

        It seems to me that Obama has taken little notice of the Constitution during his terms. And Kay Hagan voted with him 95% of the time. And Kay Hagan is leading the polls for the US Senate seat in North Carolina. So it looks as though the voters of North Carolina are not too concerned with “embracing the Constitution.”

        Reelecting Kay Hagan says to the nation that we support the Obama administration and their trampling of the Constitution.

    2. In the 21st century Republican Party, if what used to be a conservative is now an ultra-conservative then what is a conservative? Progressive and liberal: I’ll not even go there.

      Hey Coop, I’ll bet you know Larry Britt.

      1. The difference between a conservative and an ultra conservative:

        The conservative is an ultra who has paid off his credit cards.

        1. You use the terminology of the far left.

          What we really have in the GOP is a split between the Big Government Republicans (aka establishment) who are really undocumented Democrats, and the Limited Government Republicans who hold tradition American and traditional Republican beliefs.

  4. He just doesn’t know OUR state very well. It’s the fact that Thom Tillis has been afraid to run on conservative policy positions, (and to define Hagan as outside of the mainstream on most policy-as she is).

    1. Dionne’s spew is usually clueless drivel, and this column is par for the course.

      Calling Big Government Republican Tillis an ultra conservative is beyond laughable. Tillis has no ideology beyond a lust for power and money. He is a rent boy for the special interests and would not know a political principle if one jumped up and bit him.

      In the legislature, Tillis was always a wet blanket on conservative issues, and often sought to destroy conservative legislators. As a candidate for Senate, he runs away from conservative issues instead of running on them, and that is largely because his own record in too close to that of Hagan on many of them.

  5. Greenville’s Daily Reflector endorsed Tillis in this morning’s editorial.

    Now ain’t that something!

    1. When liberal newspapers start to endorse ”Republicans” it does really start to make you wonder. The fact that this happened right after Big Government Republican John McCain came in for Tillis make speak volumes about why it happened.

      1. If memory serves me correctly the Daily Reflector also endorsed Romney for President and McCroy for Governor.

        1. Which supports Raphael’s early post:

          “What we really have in the GOP is a split between the Big Government Republicans (aka establishment) who are really undocumented Democrats, and the Limited Government Republicans who hold tradition American and traditional Republican beliefs.”

          1. “……..and the Limited Government Republicans who hold tradition American and traditional Republican beliefs.”

            But do these Limited Government Republicans ever have any candidates who can win the election and take a seat in government?

            Is there anyone you guys love? It is all well and good to complain about Tillis, McCain, Romney, Elmers, McCrory, Burr, et al, but to win you must put forth candidates who can actually carry the mail.

            I’m pretty sure either Hagan or Tillis will be representing North Carolina for the next six years in the US Senate. I am more concerned about the next six years than I am who is going to run in 2020. That sounds like a long way off to me.

            While you are sitting around waiting for the perfect candidate to amble into the room the world is still spinning.

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