The economy is in shambles. We are still coping with record unemployment. And the political class in Raleigh is FASCINATED with who will be on Pat McCrory’s transition team as well as WHO will be the next speaker pro tem and majority leader in the state House.
The governor-elect is already talking about a “bipartisan” relationship with Democrats in Raleigh. Remember all that bipartisanship and love that Jim Black, Marc Basnight, Jim Hunt, and Mike Easley showed the Republican minority? (Well, Jim Black’s deal with Richard Morgan can technically be called bipartisan.)
Gov.-elect Pat also announced his transition team. The presence of Art Pope on that team makes it clear that we will not hear ONE critical word about the McCrory administration from Civitas and John Locke over the next four years. Reviewing the team roster, I don’t see anyone — other than Pope and a couple of his employees — who screams conservatism. It’s the same old crowd that’s been calling the shots while the NCGOP spent its decades in the wilderness as a political minority.
Last year, we had GOP-run state House that failed or refused to pass significant tax relief on gasoline or income or anything else. The House majority TRIED to shove reparation payments to sterilization patients down out throats. Thanks to common sense in the Senate, that went nowhere. There was a lot of talk about streamlining the budget. The left talked about “draconian cuts” to public education. Instead of taking a stand on the idea of austerity in the DPI bureaucracy, the GOP majority responded by saying their education budget included “ONLY ONE PERCENT” less than what Bev wanted.
At the end of the last session, a number of principled conservative legislators threw up their hands in frustration and retired, rather than spending two more years shaking their heads in dismay over their caucus colleagues’ Democrat-lite behavior.
The departure of Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell, a conservative stalwart and dependable voice of common sense, leaves a leadership opening in the House. The clique is scrambling to fill that seat by rearranging the deck chairs on the HMS Titanic. Majority Leader Paul Stam is making it clear he wants to be speaker pro tem. A deal is being floated to split the majority leader position into TWO jobs — which will be filled by Reps. David Lewis and Ruth Samuelson. NONE of these people — including Thom Tillis — are acceptable. NONE of them are deserving of a promotion. What’s conservative about creating a new House position with staff?
(Attention GOP House members: Remember when Tillis bragged that he had a lot more GOP primaries to meddle in? Yours could be NEXT.)
Ratifying this backroom, sweetheart deal is a clear sign that the Raleigh clique is in control. It makes it clear that legislative Republicans care more about enriching themselves and their friends than saving the state and providing relief to their constituents. This crowd is setting the table to keep the gravy train rolling — not to reform the government and right this sinking ship.