07/22/09 — Facts of life: If Democrats want to maintain control, they had better focus

View Archive

Facts of life: If Democrats want to maintain control, they had better focus

There is an unavoidable fact about political life. If you are a politician, you have to get re-elected if you want to keep your job.

And right now, the prospects are looking pretty grim for the Democrats who are currently in charge of state government.

It is not just the burgeoning tax bill that is coming to North Carolina taxpayers or the fact that we still do not have a state budget. Those are really just insults that have been added to injury.

What really should worry those in power in Raleigh is that residents are starting to wonder if they can run anything efficiently -- or without some embarrassing announcement of another ethics investigation.

And that does not bode well for anyone who might have to run a campaign in the near future.

So, if you were in charge of winning back the confidence of the people who pay your salary across North Carolina -- what would you do?

First off, let's start with the proposed $1 billion in additional taxes that are about to come down the pike for hard-working and already-strapped families.

You are likely to get the money -- no one seems to be able to come up with another way to keep the state's schools and mental health agencies from taking such a severe hit that it damages the state's ability to attract new investment and residents.

But when you get it, start a blue ribbon commission whose sole job it is to ferret out any hint of waste in the system -- and start with your expensive "assistant state school superintendent." That battle is over -- the elected representative won -- so there is the first place to cut. We don't need two cooks in that kitchen.

After that, make sure that there will be no more ethics surprises this year -- none. It is time to make sure this kitchen is sparkling clean -- if you want anyone to believe that your party is capable of running anything without having two or three people arrested -- and money being wasted on perks for people who don't deserve them.

This budget battle has been anything but pretty -- or reassuring for anyone who pays taxes in this state.

Over the next few months, someone had better make some real leadership moves in Raleigh.

Or, prepare for an elephant stampede when re-election time rolls around.

Published in Editorials on July 22, 2009 10:50 AM