12/29/11 — To be, not seem: N.C. has no time to waste on insubstantiated mudslinging

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To be, not seem: N.C. has no time to waste on insubstantiated mudslinging

Sound the all-clear -- at least for now.

It looks like North Carolina voters are not going to have to endure another round of he said, she said when it comes to the upcoming gubernatorial election -- at least as far as campaign shenanigans from 2008 are concerned.

Charges of campaign fraud levied at long-expected, but newly announced, Republican candidate Pat McCrory have been discovered to be unfounded. The charges of misuse of campaign resources came from a Democratic party chief and were levied months ago, but only surfaced for investigation recently -- just after current Gov. Beverly Perdue was hammered for problems with her campaign financing.

Coincidence? We will leave you to decide about that.

Truth is, this upcoming gubernatorial election is critical. It is a chance to set a new direction for this state and to ensure that it is able to grow and develop well into the future.

It will be about everything from education spending and the size of state government to tax policy and business incentives.

And it could make or break us.

So, the bottom line is, we do not have time for the shenanigans that go along with the usual campaign. We do not want to wade through finger-pointing and insinuation that suggests misdeeds, but is not really proof they occurred. We do not have the time -- or patience -- for that.

So this election should be about questions -- and tough ones -- for the man who wants us to give him four years as governor and the woman who wants four more.

Here are just a few:

For Gov. Perdue:

• How can we be sure that your administration is not simply a continuation of the scandal-ridden mess that was the Mike Easley administration? Are you prepared to clean house and to say no to party leaders if they try to put politics and influence ahead of what is best for North Carolina?

• How will you let the country know that North Carolina is open for business? Are you prepared to do what it takes to attract real, sustainable jobs or is your plan to boost government employment? Can you stand up to the unions if necessary and reject policies that cater to your traditional avenues of support if that is what it takes to make North Carolina No. 1?

• It is easy to say you are pro-education, but not so easy to actually come up with the sort of reforms that make success possible for students from all sorts of backgrounds. Can you come up with the tough calls that need to be made as it relates to improving the quality of the state's schools -- even if they are not what the state's education bureaucracy wants to hear?

For candidate McCrory:

• How do we know we are not exchanging one evil for another? Are you prepared to ride herd on the Republican Party and to make certain that those who let power and politics, and perhaps self-interest, rule their decision-making will not be the ones in key roles in your party or your administration?

• It is easy to say cut education, but how would you make smart decisions and strategic changes that might actually make our schools better? What are your priorities and what are your specific goals for North Carolina's schools in the coming years? Can you back up your call for lower spending with actual examples of how a new administration could function better?

• You are from the big city. How can the rest of North Carolina be assured that you know that there is a state beyond the environs of Raleigh, Charlotte and Winston-Salem? What is your plan for job growth and infrastructure improvements across the state? And how will you pay for them?

Those are just a few of the answers we need. There is no time for mudslinging. The next governor will have a clear, articulated plan for what he or she would do to improve the lot of the citizens of North Carolina.

The rest, frankly, is a waste of our time.

Published in Editorials on December 29, 2011 11:04 AM