Roundup: President Pat (Ha!), Immigration, Hagan’s Strategy, Bill James’ ‘Tell’

Plus, the petroleum dollars behind drilling in the Atlantic

A Friday morning assortment.

The N&O actually ran the following headline: “Will unemployment decline lead McCrory to White House?”

Given that Pat McCrory’s approval rating has hovered around 40 percent for the past year, and that he’s having a heck of a time with the Senate in his own state, it’d be more relevant to ask whether he might not be headed back to his house in Charlotte come 2016.

Rob Christensen’s analysis of the unemployment numbers essentially answers the question; as we’ve known for a while, the drop in the state’s unemployment rate is mainly due to people dropping out of the system rather than finding jobs. It’s a ludicrous basis for examining whether McCrory will win a second term as governor, much less contemplate a run for president.

But the question came from Fox Business News, Bloomberg for the Alternative Reality, so take it for what it’s worth, which is nothing.

Because “the difference is leadership,” as McCrory told us the first time he ran for governor. Here’s a shining example of his idea of leadership: Joining five other Republican governors, including leading lights such as Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Sam Brownback of Kansas, in writing President Obama a letter.

The letter’s condensed version: We’re worried about the immigrants; fix it. There’s no nod toward Congressional Republicans’ intransigence when it comes to immigration reform, nor is there a speck of constructive suggestion.

Some other governors at least are wrestling with the moral and practical implications of providing relief to refugee children fleeing the prospect of death. Some, like Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, appear pretty torn up about it. Not these guys. “[W]e need to have a plan to deal with this crisis in a humanitarian and practical way,” McCrory & Co. conclude.

Thanks, fellas. Feel free to offer suggestions–unless you really don’t want the problem solved at all and just want the record to reflect that you urged the president to solve it. Win-win. Leadership.

One action the Obama Administration did take recently opened up the Atlantic Seaboard to testing for oil and gas reserves, which you have to admit is a funny thing for an avowed anti-colonialist socialist to do.

Sue Sturgis at the Institute for Southern Studies did some valuable work recently on the amounts of money oil and gas companies have been pouring into the political machinery, in direct candidate contributions, lobbying efforts, and through so-called “independent contributions,” which Citizens United unleashed in 2010. It’s worth a close look.

Another in-depth look at money: The New York Times tracks the cash flowing into the joint Kay Hagan-Wake County Democratic Party campaign committee set up for the U.S. Senate race.

I wrote about the Hagan campaign’s decision in my piece on the N.C. Democratic Party in Charlotte in June. It was a highly unusual move, since state parties usually coordinate large statewide campaigns. But given the state party’s well-documented difficulties, it was the only reasonable move for the campaign to make.

Predictably, the statewide sales tax cap passed the Senate. If it becomes law, it would scuttle Mecklenburg County’s attempt to let voters decide whether to hike the county’s sales tax rate to pay for teacher raises, improvements to Central Piedmont Community College, and more funding for arts and cultural institutions.

It’s another in a long line of slaps that North Carolina’s rural representatives have taken at their urban counterparts’ jowls, as WRAL’s Mark Binker points out. But there’s more to it than that. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James is a pretty reliable indicator of the local and regional right-wing id, and he had this to say about the county’s plans for a referendum to hike the sales tax rate: “This was not about teachers or CPCC or the arts. It was the Democrats’ model to get out the vote and hurt Republican candidates.”

I honestly hadn’t considered the possibility that one goal of the sales tax cap was to suppress the Democratic vote in Mecklenburg County in November. Thanks to Bill James, there’s now no doubt in my mind.

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest