Incredible. After reading today’s editorial in The N&O, I predict a massive outbreak of ANAL POISONING in “The Ol’ Reliable’s” newsroom / steno pool:
Republican Pat McCrory has a large fundraising advantage in his encore campaign for the governorship. He has been ahead in the polls. However, McCrory’s first debate with his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, showed that he is up against someone who by all rights should be a tough customer.
Actually, it’s their SECOND debate. Remember the bar association meeting in Wilmington? You guys covered it. Read on:
McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor, sounded familiar themes as he and Dalton squared off Wednesday evening. He decried North Carolina’s high unemployment rate as signaling a “broken economy,” which he vowed to fix. He’d do that by cutting taxes and reducing regulations on business that he said get in the way of job creation. And as he did in his unsuccessful run against then-Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2008, he pledged to change a state government culture marked by good-’ol-boy favoritism.
Dalton, a veteran legislator before winning the lieutenant governor’s post four years ago – not on a ticket with Perdue, as he is careful to point out – does fit the description of a state capital insider. But he used the debate to showcase why familiarity with the details of governing and with the hard policy choices that must be made are important things for voters to consider.
His agenda for putting North Carolinians back to work is more specific than McCrory’s and more persuasive in drawing the connection between education and jobs. And in keeping with his pitch to the debate audience that the state’s investments in education are critical to getting its economy back on track, Dalton steered clear of the tax-cutting, budget-shrinking refrain so popular with McCrory’s backers.
“You don’t improve education by being near the bottom of education spending,” Dalton said, referring to North Carolina’s spot in national rankings. It was not a point McCrory could effectively counter.
There is ZERO evidence of a positive correlation between spending a lot on education and student performance. Spending a lot of money on your schools does not guarantee excellence. This is the Goebbels ‘Big Lie’ strategy — repeat a lie so often that people begin to accept it as true. New York City, Los Angeles, DC, and Chicago spend more money on their public schools than just about any other locale in the US.
Can anyone claim — with a straight face — that those systems are chock full of academic excellence? The average public school spends TWICE per pupil what the average private school spends per pupil. The academic performance of private school alums blows away that of your typical public school graduate. Read On:
McCrory, as the front-runner, didn’t need to land a knockout punch, and with his tried-and-true Republican generalities he didn’t.
Dalton’s come-from-behind mission requires a more aggressive approach, and in the debate he was the one playing offense.
His presentation was forceful, articulate and well-grounded in the realities of governing a state where what many families and their children need most is opportunity – the opportunity that comes from being well-prepared to start school, or from having excellent teachers, or from having access to job training at a community college. This debate highlighted that Dalton has what it takes to be a good governor.
Articulate? I counted at least TWO instances where ol’ Wally was babbling so badly that no one in the studio could understand what he was talking about. Walter Dalton has been walking the halls of power in Raleigh since 1996. If he knows what needs to be done, why hasn’t he done it already?
He headed the Senate Finance Committee with Kay Hagan. Dalton willfully pushed through all of the spending and taxing that got us in the mess we’re in.
Being in state government doesn’t make you an excellent candidate for governor. Just like hanging out in a newsroom doesn’t make you an excellent journalist.
(By the way, Rob Christensen is STILL refusing to report that Dalton’s daughter has been paid since 2002 to lobby the state legislature. This all occurred while Dalton was serving in — and presiding over — the state Senate. *Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.*)
I will be the first to admit that Pat McCrory is not exactly an inspirational figure. As governor, I predict he will be a composite of the governor from the old sitcom “Benson,” and the mayor from the sitcom “Spin City.” If Pat’s record in Charlotte is any indication, he will be far from a conservative revolutionary. But I do believe that — with conservative pressure from Jones Street, and a conservative majority on the Council of State — Pat’s feet can be held to the fire and he can be kept on the “right” side of the road.