Skip Stam's bigotry goes over the top -- again

During debate over an amendment to protect LGBT students in charter schools, North Carolina's bigot-in-chief Skip Stam decided he would embarrass himself, the general assembly and our state:

During debate, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake) took objection to the addition of "sexual orientation" as a protected class for students, stating that "pedophila" and "masochism" are one of 30 sexual ” orientations” he claimed exist. Stam went on to circulate a misleading handout to fellow House members on "What is Sexual Orientation?"

Rep. Tricia Cotham tweeted a copy of Skip's horrible handout that claims 30 "sexual orientations" such as arousal by feces. No kidding

Comments

Mind boggling

I'm not often speechless. Can't find the words that go far enough in condemning Stam's words and actions.

But then, the Skipper's words and actions speak for themselves. At a deafening volume.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

A House built on hate

It doesn't say much for Stam's District that they would continually vote him back into office. I'd like to think they're just not paying attention, but I fear the majority of his constituents are assholes, too.

We're still waiting

for the Skipper's GOP colleagues to condemn his hate speech.

We expect we'll be waiting a long time. When is hell scheduled to freeze over?

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Tillis: "Not helpful"

That's right, "Divide and Conquer Thom", pressed for a statement on Stam's public bigotry that was on full display during an official session of the NC House of Representatives over which "Traditional Thom" presides,

described Stam's comments as "not helpful."

Thom didn't say that such comments, along with Stam's misinformation handout, have no place in a House session. Thom didn't say that Stam's hate speech was disgusting, or wrong, or hurtful or shameful. Thom didn't say that the remarks from his second banana, the #2 leader in the NC House, did not represent the views of the party or House leadership.

Thom didn't even say that he doesn't agree with the Skipper. All Thom had to say was that his right-hand man's remarks are "not helpful".

Because that's all Thom cares about -- what is helpful to Thom. And Thom won't even condemn Stam's bigotry, because that might cost him votes from his "traditional" base.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

My only questions are ....

a) When is Skip up for re-election?

b) Who is running against him?

c) Is his opponent breathing?

d) Where do I mail the check to his opponent.

Stam is unopposed because Democrats are incompetent

Skip Stam is running unopposed in his Wake County district.

This is precisely why you file someone for every seat. When lightning strikes, you can take advantage of it.

But even the vaunted Wake County Democrats couldn't field a candidate.

Pitiful.

 

It is pathetic

Gerrymandering has resulted in about 1/3 of legislative candidates running unopposed.

http://thevoterupdate.com/2014/candidates/ncsenate/index.php

http://thevoterupdate.com/2014/candidates/nchouse/index.php

Not, as you point out, that there's any excuse for that.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

A mockery

Jesus H. Christmas on a cracker.

This isn't "pitiful" or "pathetic" - it's unconscionable.

There's absolutely no excuse - none at all - that there is no candidate running against this clown.

It's just dollars and cents...

Wisely or not, the Wake County Dem's made a pocketbook decision in the face of the redistricting brought to us by the Republican State Leadership Committee and our dear old friend Art Pope.

If only the N&O's Quarles and Barnett weren't so afraid of Pope. Imagine all the good they'd be doing if they didn't let Pope get away with his whining each and every time they rarely publish something critical of him. If the electorate knows the truth about Pope, they'll be so pissed off that they'll spit fire and venom all the way to the polls in November. It's a shame the Fourth Estate is failing us so miserably.

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"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

Damned excuses

I don't want to hear the "dollars and cents" excuse.

If you don't put a dog in the race - any kind of dog - don't expect anyone to give you money to build your party.

Perhaps the Dems would have the money to be competitive if they didn't keep rolling over in front of Art Pope and saying, "Oh, please, f**k me some more."

I've had it with the Dems in NC. Completely and utterly had it.

I agree on some level but...

Someone has to put themselves out there. And I wouldn't want to do it.
Anyone actually into politics wouldn't want the "perennial loser" label and anyone not really into politics would be unlikely to be interested. Although NC-22 just had or is in the process of having the Rep primary winner DQ'd because no one can find him so maybe being a placeholder candidate is not all that much trouble.

I'm not making excuses...

I don't agree with their decision either. But, if you read the probublica article, you'll find my point to be that in light of the shovelful of shit Art Pope flung at our democracy, the Wake County Dem's considered the cost and acted as they saw fit.

The Wake County Dem's isn't the bogeyman here. Rather it is our local news outlets, the N&O in particular, for failing to inform the public about whats going on under our noses. If they had the journalistic integrity, the more pressure we voters could exert on both parties. We can't rely solely on voter registration drives.

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"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

I've considered the cost ....

... of remaining in North Carolina.

Considering how Pope seems to have bought himself a whole state government for a generation and the Democratic party can only see fit to raise money and care about getting Kay Hagan elected, there's not much point in staying here.

This state has no future.

No excuses

I usually just read these conversations but I should make a few things clear:

First, no one from Wake is making any excuses. We tried and failed to recruit a candidate to run against Stam. That falls on me as Chair. We have 45 races in Wake County and we fielded candidates for all but Stam's.

Second, this was not a decision by the county party to give Stam a pass. We cycled through a large number of solid candidates that were not interested in running at this year. Sometimes, people that you expect to run or recruit to run simply decide not to run for any number of reasons. We also cycled through less-than-solid candidates; they also declined. Stam has run against a series of strong contenders but his district keeps sending him back.

The districts as drawn do present a challenge, but there are other dynamics are challenging as well:

Most candidates worry about spending money and time in a contested primary; I can't "clear the field" for a primary nor should I. Most candidates worry about funding; I can't commit resources prior to a primary, and even after the primary, it's difficult to fund one race without funding them all, and I probably shouldn't do that either. When the party -- whether at the county level or the state level -- goes too far in pushing candidates before a primary, we typically run into trouble.

Candidates are generally ripped to shreds, both inside and outside of the party, and that often keeps newcomers away. Stam's district is not progressive or liberal or anything of the sort... it will change over the next 5-10 years, but right now the most logical candidate with either be more conservative or will be tasked with persuading a lot of conservatives to be more moderate.

Most groups with money--including our House and Senate Caucuses, the Pope machinery other outside groups--recognize that it is usually less expensive to win a seat in a swing district outside of Wake County than it is to fight against Skip Stam in his gerrymandered district, so they put their money into those races first. We have our hands full with our countywide races and the county party is the only appendage of the party that focuses on the county-level playing field (as opposed to Congress, statewide offices, or the General Assembly).

I'm not sure how Wake became the bogeyman in this, but just remember that while you get to read about Stam's embarrassing rants in the news, we get to enjoy him as part of our county legislative delegation. This is not new behavior for him. We want him out of office just as much as you do, if not more.

Dan Blue, Chair
Wake County Democratic Party

Thanks, Dan.

I kinda figured it wasn't a complete abandonment of Stam's seat on your part. And I know it's easy as hell to sit back and complain about him not having a Dem opponent. But considering he's one of the worst bigots in either House, we (by we I mean you :)) simply have to try harder in the future to find somebody.

Some things just need to be done, regardless of the demographics or likelihood of success or any other consideration.

The criticism is warranted

The criticism is warranted and again, I am reminded by the steady stream of comments, emails, posts and messages from friends out of state (i.e., "Isn't that guy in your area?") that the one candidate that went uncontested in Wake is the one that is served up as today's main course.

If you want to help, send a check to Lisa Baker. She's running against Nelson Dollar, who doesn't have the same foot-in-mouth problems as Stam but has similarly comfortable district and votes the same way. Her victory would put the Democrats one seat closer to a majority and Wake County one seat closer to its recruiting requirements for 2016.

Didn't Ed Ridpath run against Stam?

I know some here supported Ed - some may have given money and some time - but I imagine most of those lobbing bombs at Wake Co. didn't give one thin dime or volunteer once to help Ed Ridpath. I realize that was back in 2008, but if we aren't going to get behind the candidates who do step up to the plate, we lose the right to bitch when nobody wants to run.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Yep, he ran at least once

against Stam, and I think he may have run a second time, but I may be wrong about that.

I gave him a little money, if I remember correctly. I should have given him more and Larry Kissell and John Edwards less (or none), but I was a brand new Democrat back then, so I have an excuse. :)

Just wanted to add:

I don't regret going to Larry's Charlotte thing. I met you and Linda Cockman and a few other great people there, so it was worth it. :)

:)

We don't live in Raleigh...and I'm fairly certain we would be excused for keeping our money and volunteer efforts local. (In other words...I wasn't talking about you.)



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Yes, excuses

This will be my last post on the matter and probably my last post at BlueNC.

Dan, it sounds like you're talking to candidates that are approaching a campaign like a business - an investment they'll only make if they get a return.

I can understand setting priorities for funding, but what I think is negligent is having one big empty space on the ballot.

Frankly, in a district like Stam's where the chances of winning are nil, you're talking to the wrong people and using the wrong approach. You should be talking to someone willing to be on the ballot and serve if called - to "take one for the team", so to speak.

If there's one fact of life anyone should learn, it's that things change. It's a long time between the filing period for candidates and the actual election.

What if Stam dropped dead and the Republicans had to field a bigger nutjob than Stam? What if he became embroiled in a financial or bribery scandal? Stuck his foot in his mouth and offended his supporters? Got caught having sex with a corpse?

As it stands, you would have no way to taking advantage of the situation.

Finding a candidate willing to loose in a "normal" election cycle, but capable of stepping in if a situation develops just seems like common sense - it's a small investment for what could potentially be a bigger payoff.

What you might find, by reaching out past the "usual suspects", is that it could turn up a candidate that can up up a good fight against a candidate like Stam, even in a "normal" election cycle. God knows there's enough "moderate" Dems from the Bill Clinton mold that are pretty much Eisenhower Republicans with a "-D" after their name that could appeal to Republican voters embarrassed by the extremism with the current crop of elephant clowns in Raleigh.

Dems in NC are still running campaigns as if it's 1980. Oh, we can't say this or that or do this thing or that thing because it might offend the guys with money at the country clubs, newspapers or law firms. Our campaign is just hopeless unless we can get them speaking at the VFW, the Lion's Club or the Chamber of Commerce.

Bullshit.

I'm sick of hearing the Art Pope money excuse. All it buys is loud talk through mass media for attack ads and blocks of voters that turn out through churches or business groups.

Well, believe it or not, Art Pope is running his campaigns like it's 1980, too.

The world has moved on. There's the Internet. There's alternative fundraising, other kinds of brand-building, and personal networking.

Dan, to put it bluntly, both you and Art Pope are running Woolworth campaigns in an Amazon.com world.

I honestly thought that the resounding defeat of the Dems in the last election would be the break-through that finally got the Dems doing some soul searching about the direction of the party in the state and how it's engaging (or not engaging) voters. I didn't expect a revolution, but I certainly expected more than just more campaign email spam from Kay Hagan and Roy Cooper.

The only energy, drive and creative thinking I'm seeing right now in NC is coming from the Moral Monday movement. It's impressive, but not enough. What I'm seeing convinces me that it's going to be "business as usual" for the Dems in the state and no thinking out of the box to move forward.

I fear that NC's going to be stuck with extremist nut-cases running things for the next decade, driving it into a great big sucking black hole of religious extremism, a crappy economy, and a crumbling infrastructure.

That's not the kind of place I want to spend the last few decades of my productive life.

Wish you would stick around, Teddy

Your contributions here have been much appreciated, and we'd hate to lose your input. If there's something in particular that's got under your skin, shoot me an e-mail or private message so we can talk about it, okay?

A final word

This whole issue has gotten me so angry that I forgot to make one point in my comment.

Simply it is this: If you are not running a candidate against a man that is distributing literature from a hate group on the floor of the legislature, you are not part of the solution - you are part of the problem.

The flyer Stam handed out is from Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition. Part of what they have advocated has included:

forcing AIDS sufferers into "cities of refuge," made the false claim that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children, and says the real purpose of marriage equality is to destroy marriage and replace it with group sex and polygamy.

And there's this:

The same document distributed by Stam and the TVC was also included in the 2009 book "Redeeming the Rainbow: A Christian Response to the 'Gay' Agenda" by Scott Lively, the president of Abiding Truth Ministries, a conservative Christian organization based in in California. Lively, who is also tracked by the SPLC, has called for criminalizing "the public advocacy of homosexuality" and was the target of a lawsuit by LGBT rights activists in Uganda over his involvement in that country's Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He is also the author of the discredited Holocaust revisionist book "The Pink Swastika," which claims that the Nazi party was full of gay men whose "savagery" enabled them to carry out mass murder.

Think about this for a minute.

If you don't run a candidate - any candidate - you're not giving voters in that district a choice.

You are not reminding voters in that district that they have a choice.

You are not calling out some of the most vile, disgusting and dangerous hate speech directed against many of the voters in his district.

By inaction, you are missing an opportunity to motivate voters in other races that can see some Democrats in the state that have a spine.

You have had an opportunity to seize the narrative from the Republicans and set a different tone and you have had an opportunity to throw away the timid "business as usual" liberal politics in NC.

No one thing has gotten under my skin. It's just the pattern I've seen over the past couple of years. Liberals and progressives can complain all they want about the corruption and cronyism in the McCrory administration. They can beat their chests and rend their garments crying about Art Pope's money. They can spout out all manner of little soundbytes about the latest racism, hate-speech, or cozy business relationship of Republican legislators.

It's all for naught if there's not a party to back them up and is just content to do the same thing its been doing since Skip Stam was in knee pants.

Change isn't easy. I'm seeing liberal leaders in this state that are not willing to make tough choices and are not willing to upset the status quo.

I'm nearing a point in my life when I'll have no family connections or obligations left in the state and can really go where I want to.

I don't want to live in a state where the political structure is willing to let any sense of progress or human decency go right down the drain simply because they're afraid of offending a big money donor, a party bigwig, or some reporter with the Hooterville Times or simply afraid to try anything new.

Now is not the time to walk away

The Democratic Party isn't the only avenue for recruiting candidates., anyone...and I mean you/we/bluenc....can recruit candidates to run. Anyone can file. They do not need the party's permission. If you are pissed off about the lack of a candidate, then don't leave....get busy! Start candidate recruitment here! (You think I'm kidding, but I'm not!)

Asking someone to be a placeholder candidate isn't as simple as it sounds. First, someone has to be serious about taking the job, if they wind up winning. This means it has to work into their day job and their employer has to be ok with it. This is a huge hurdle for most people who aren't wealthy or retired. If we are to recruit outside of our usual suspects as you say, then we aren't looking at wealthy or retired individuals. We are looking at people with jobs who may not be able to get their employer's permission or be able to work it into their work schedule. We do not pay our legislators a living wage.

If it is someone who really wants a future in politics they have to be willing to lose a race they may have never had a chance of winning. If they don't mount much of a campaign they have to deal with the fallout. Only a handful of people will ever remember this person was taking one for the team. Everyone else will just remember him/her as the person who lost and didn't run a very good campaign. They do this more than once and they are toast. I've seen it happen.

Small campaigns still cost money and nobody...I mean nobody wants to donate to a losing effort. If the party diverts money to a placeholder, then the party gets skewered by just about everyone...because...you know...hindsight. Every candidate who lost and their volunteers will look at money spent on an impossible campaign and claim they could have won if they'd had that money for one more mailer...etc.

I have no clue who you are, so I'm not picking on you - hard to pick on someone you don't know. I just don't agree with everything you are saying and I guess I'm looking at it from a different perspective. I don't think Democrats are incompetent as usernamehere claimed and I don't think Dan is part of the problem.

I enjoy your posts, so I hope you will hang around. However, if anyone understands the need to step away for a bit, I do.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

On being a candidate

I was a candidate for awhile and it was a daunting experience. I hated it, even though I barely even ran.

When I threw my hat into the governor's race last year, I did it for some of the exact reasons Teddy is talking about. But the truth is, the burden of running even a placeholder campaign is significant. The treasury and filing process required to keep up with the State Board of Elections is a total pain in the ass (not to mention being absolutely irrelevant in today's Citizens United world).

All that said, I hope you'll stick around, Teddy. It's hard to find a state that's not full of assholes and idiots.

Second that!

Teddy, I always look forward to and appreciate your contributions at BlueNC. Really, truly. I've learned things from your posts and they make me think. Including these recent ones. I understand the consternation but hope you'll stay in NC and at BlueNC.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Too much thinking...

...about Stam's comments leads me to the only possible conclusion. The list he presented are common Republican sexual orientations....

On NC Democrats -- everywhere -- being incompetent

In the entire state of North Carolina, not one Democrat filed for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

That means, that in this year when 4 of the 7 seats on the NC Supreme Court were up for grabs, Democrats ensured the NCGOP would retain a Supreme Court majority by not fielding a candidate for Chief Justice.

Everyone in the state shares blame for this incompetence.

That said, and with the hard reflection of reality staring us in the face...

Candidate recruitment need not wait until after the next election -- in fact, it shouldn't. Future candidates can learn from campaigns they watch during this cycle.

 

And then there's Robert Pittenger

Granted, it's a gerrymandered Congressional race as opposed to a statewide Court seat, but still. He should have to face a Dem opponent before waltzing back to his seat in DC.

I see that more as a DCCC fail than a NCDP problem, but one of those two should have been all over finding a candidate to run against him.

I wish Jennifer Roberts had been up for another try

She's in the position I was in a few years ago - final years of the kids being home. She's running for Mayor in Charlotte.

The 9th is a very unfriendly district for Dems, but running in a high profile campaign is a great way to build name recognition for a run for local office the following year/cycle. I was sad to see we didn't field someone against Pittenger.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Food for Thought

Just some food for thought... in North Carolina for the General Assembly:

  • In 2004, there were 9 Senate seats and 36 House seats without a Democratic challenger.
  • In 2006, there were 10 Senate seats and 31 House seats without a Democratic challenger.
  • In 2008, there were 10 Senate seats and 21 House seats without a Democratic challenger.
  • In 2010, there were 11 Senate seats and 28 House seats without a Democratic challenger.
  • In 2012, there were 11 Senate seats and 26 House seats without a Democratic challenger.
  • In 2014, there are 8 Senate seats and 23 House seats without a Democratic challenger.

If you google "uncontested races," you'll find that this is a national problem affecting both major parties, largely caused by gerrymandering but also influenced by other factors and it goes back far enough to outlast party regimes, campaign tactics, and most of the other variables that affect candidate recruitment. For that reason, I would suggest that it is more the result of systemic issues than the competence or lack thereof of a county or state party.

And, I would also point out at least one of the GOP candidates that is running in Wake County right now: Senator Josh Stein is running against Jason "Molotov" Mitchell. Molotov is willing to take one for his team but does that help his team? Would the GOP have been better off leaving that seat unchallenged? I don't have any Molotovs on my slate but I wouldn't have much leeway even if I did.

More food for thought

Picture it. North Carolina. 2010.

Democratic-drawn districts are once again up for election.

By February 2010, the NCGOP fields candidates in all 50 Senate districts.

This enables them to take advantage of forces -- some foreseen, some unforeseen -- sweeping the state and country. But most importantly, the forces sweeping every last local district.

The Senate not only flips control from solid Democrat control to solid GOP control, but it did so with Democratic-drawn maps.

Or take Wake County's excellent work in the county's school board races of 2013. The GOP drew new districts to make it hard for Democrats to win, but the Democrats swept every last race (considering Bill Fletcher wasn't supported by the GOP).

The fault is not in gerrymandering, but in our selves.

 

Lets think about some

Lets think about some contested races where Democrats have an uphill fight but fighting chance. Wouldn't we all like to replace David Lewis in House District 51? How about Ronald Rabin in Senate Dirstrict 12? How about Mike Stone in House District 53? Retired educator Susan Byerly from Erwin stepped up and threw her hat into the ring. She is a first time candidate that isn't a placeholder. She is pouring her heart and soul in an attempt to unset Lewis and restore sound thinking to the 51st. Joe Langley who previously challenged Lewis is going after the District 12 Senate seat currently held by Rabin. He is an Angier business owner while also working in the field of medical administration. In the 53 District attorney Brad Salmon who lost an extremely close race to Rabin back in 2012 is trying to unseat Mike Stone.

Each of these candidates are serious challengers to extremist GOP office holders. The lack of a candidate in the Stam district is water under the bridge. THERE ARE RACES THAT CAN BE WON! Everyone needs to focus on what can be done, not shoulda, coulda, woulda. I'm sure there are other races where similar situations to these exist. The State House and Senate aren't going to be flipped in one or two election cycles, but if we can chip away at the super majorities that we currently see there is hope on the horizon.

http://www.electbradsalmon.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BradSalmonNCHouse
https://www.facebook.com/JoeLangleyforNCSenate
http://www.electsusanbyerly.com/
https://www.facebook.com/susanbyerlynchouse

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Agreed.

Agreed. Let's all get some good candidates elected.