You know things are bad when the Prince of Puppets folds his cards before the first round of betting, but that's just what John Hood does in today's column on legislative races:
It’s a Democratic year in North Carolina.
Not surprisingly, though, he goes on from there to weave a tapestry of excuses and explanations for Republican failures that only a true-believer could find convincing. The fault, he argues, lies in structural problems like how districts are drawn and lack of sufficient funding.
Thus, Republicans will do better in races for North Carolina legislature when three things happen: 1) a reduction of gerrymandering and other advantages of incumbency, 2) an improvement in candidate recruitment, and 3) the identification and recruitment of new donors, including entrepreneurs and others whose commitment to free enterprise and liberty outweigh any greed for government largesse.
There's some obscure logic in these observations, but it doesn't explain what's really going on. Because once you get past issues of incumbency, recruiting and fundraising, you run into the hard questions of public policy and governance. And the fact is, Republican policy in North Carolina can be summed up in two words: cut everything. Cut taxes. Cut education. Cut economic development. Cut salaries. Cut staff. Cut services. Cut healthcare. Cut the ability of the legislature to deliberate. Cut personal freedom. Cut. Everything.
To be sure, there are plenty of North Carolinians who buy this happy horseshit and faithfully vote for Republicans year-in and year-out. But as the pure red blood of the Party of Greed gets more and more diluted by damn Yankees moving south, the NCGOP is sliding into a schizophrenic tailspin that's going to get worse before it gets better. The free-market wing of the party, led by Art Pope, is running smack dab into the theocratic wing of the party, and the resulting conflict is proving hard to reconcile. Even intellectually dishonest Puppets must have a hard time looking in the mirror when their brethren on the religious right try to drag god into schools and root out queers and atheists.
So while there may be a few surprises tomorrow in state legislative races, the overall picture is pretty clear. The people of North Carolina seem to have more confidence in Democrats to operate the machinery of public policy for the common good. And with good reason. Republicans hate government, which explains why they're so bad at it.