Someone from out of state asked today for opinions about NC state legislative races. Here's what I have so far:
As near as I can tell, there are three dynamics going on in legislative races this year.
One sad piece of news is the high-level of corporate money likely to be poured into a handful of key races by Art Pope. He’s the CEO of a retail chain, and seems hellbent on buying seats so he can further his radical tax-cutting agenda. He’s also supporting theocrats who work hard to break down the separation of church and state. Pope's not running for office himself (he ran for Lt. Gov. years ago and lost). But he is putting his Puppets in place. He orchestrated the ouster of several moderate Republicans in the primaries, and is now trying to do the same against Dems in the general. He's our own little Karl Rove wannabe, but fortunately he has more money than sense.
The second dynamic involves Jim Black(D) who has been Speaker of the House for years. Progressive Dems have beat the drum for Black to resign because he is a shady, back-room dealing sleazeball – and everyone knows it. Worse, he’s become a cause-celebre for the lunatic fringe to concentrate their attacks. The Dems in the House have been disgustingly silent, and progressive Dems are outraged by their abrogation of ethical responsibility. There is a risk that Black and his legal troubles will pull down the whole House, though that risk appears to be small because of the third dynamic. (If Black gets reelected, which he might, and the Dems maintain a majority, he could very well be speaker again. That would suck.)
The third dynamic is the complete incompetence and corruption of the GOP at all levels of government. They are bereft of ideas beyond the mantra of Cut Taxes, Create Deficits, and Allow Torture. We are doing everything we can to make sure the meltdown nationally helps shape state races. Republican candidates need to be put on the spot by asking ask why they support a national party platform that is suspending the Constitution and condoning torture. Why they are supporting a party that has created the largest budget deficits in history.
And given Congressman Foley(T) and his recent libido troubles, we should also ask North Carolina Republicans them why they support a party that turns a blind eye when one of their own proposes gay sex to teenaged boys.
Does that sound about right? What else should I have said?