Tag Archives: Republicans

2010 Election – A Boon to North Carolina Repulicans?

Republican vs Democrat

Prior to 2010 North Carolina was a strange state – reliably democrat in state politics and mostly republican in Presidential elections.

But then 2010:

WASHINGTON — The 2012 election should have been a good one for Democrats running for Congress in North Carolina.

They received a total of 2.2 million votes — about 81,000 more than their Republican opponents. But when those votes were divvied up among the state’s 13 House districts, Democrats came up short. Way short.

Republicans won nine seats and Democrats only four.

How did Republicans pull off this unlikely feat? State lawmakers set the stage when they redrew the boundaries of congressional districts following the 2010 Census.

Before redistricting, North Carolina’s congressional delegation was closely divided. Democrats held seven seats and Republicans held six. In any given election, three or four races could be competitive.


But is there a reason?

But the 2010 election was historic for Republicans in North Carolina, and the ramifications are still being felt. In 2010, Republicans won control of North Carolina’s entire state legislature for the first time since 1870, giving them control of the redistricting process.

North Carolina still had a Democratic governor, Beverly Perdue. But in North Carolina, the governor has no say over the congressional map. The entire process is controlled by the legislature.

To be sure the maps would e different after more than 140 years in the dark – but did the republicans go too far?


Guns And Abortion

Spy vs Spy

If you wanna listen to a debate on policy that is all about form but is specific policy agnostic, listen to republicans and democrats debate abortion and guns.

  • Both sides feel that their cause is protected by the constitution
  • Both sides feel the others cause isn’t, as currently represented, protected by the constitution.
  • Both sides advocate policies that would eliminate the right.
  • Each side has taken to regulation, citing safety, to restrict access to the right.

Guns or abortion, the debate is the same.

And the true wacko’s are the loons on the extreme of both issues.

Are Libertarians Taking Over The Republican Party

Libertarian.LogoWhatever the outcome of the recent debates in Washington, I think that the message is pretty clear.  There is a growing movement within the republican party that is decidedly Libertarian.

And to be sure, the methods they are using and the message they are spreading may do them more harm than good.  But I’ve come across two recent articles showing that the trend is steadily growing:

A new poll confirms a libertarian renaissance in 2013.

FreedomWorks commissioned a national survey of registered voters last month, shared first with POLITICO, that finds 78 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate.

It’s not that Republicans are suddenly self-identifying as “libertarians” and devouring Ayn Rand novels, but more that they seem to be embracing underlying libertarian priorities and views about the role of government.

The GOP dominated politics for a generation with a coalition of libertarians, social conservatives and defense hawks that Ronald Reagan successfully cobbled together in 1980. The tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks argues in a 23-page report that the so-called three-legged stool has become lopsided.

The poll asked Republican voters what they are most interested in: 40 percent said “individual freedom through lower taxes and reducing the size and scope of government,” 27 percent picked “traditional values” and 18 percent chose a “strong national defense.”

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, who ran the poll, said she’s seeing a spike in voters who feel the government is too expensive, invasive and expansive.

“The perfect storm is being created between the NSA, the IRS, the implementation of Obamacare and now Syria,” she said. “People are looking at the government more suspiciously. They’re looking with deeper scrutiny and reasonable suspicion.”

It’s my hope that this decidedly libertarian push continues.  Partly, mostly, because it’s the right philosophy.  But also because it resonates to more people and will thus generate more of a movement to support the policies.  How many votes has the GOP lost due to Gay Rights or Immigration?

Finally, consider the growth with these two graphs:

Libertarian Graph.1

Freedom Works used Gallup data to generate the trend.  Below is Freedom Works using data from American National Election Studies:

Libertarian Graph.2

Good stuff.

North Carolina Education – This Isn’t What We Want Either


North Carolina is making national headlines with voter ID, with capital punishment, with tax reform and even educational priorities

Much of that change is being portrayed negatively in the press, though I do believe that much of that reporting is the result of a definite left leaning bias.

One of the priorities of the republicans has been to reform our educational system here in the state.  And part of that strategy has been to limit spending:

The Senate’s budget, which passed last week, would freeze public teacher salaries for the fourth time in five years and spend $50 million less on K-12 education in 2013-14 than Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposal.

Funding for teaching assistants and professional development for teachers would also be slashed under the Senate plan, as would the 10- to 15-percent pay bonus for incoming teachers with master’s degrees.

Not that educational spending  has been a target simply because legislatures feel that education should be cut, but rather because the budget doesn’t allow that spending to take place.

For example:

“The idea that we can simply increase teacher pay with the money we have … reveals ignorance about the different things the state government does and is obligated to fund,” he said.

He added that North Carolina’s high school graduation rate — which hit 80.2 percent in 2012 — is the highest it has ever been.

“We haven’t seen any evidence that freezing teacher pay has had any negative consequences on student performance.”

And there are other changes to the system that are taking place that should award more money to the right educators:

The Senate budget also includes a provision that would begin to eliminate teacher tenure at the K-12 level and shift to a pay-for-performance model — which rewards teachers based on classroom evaluations and students’ standardized test scores, not years of experience.

A full merit pay system would not be funded next year, but the budget allocates $10.2 million in 2014-15 to start implementing pilot programs for merit pay, which McCrory has said he supports.

Starting in fall 2014, tenured teachers could opt out of their tenure status in exchange for a four-year contract and a $500 bonus.

All of which is a long version of me saying that I support fiscal responsibility and value based increases in pay.

However, that being said, this is unacceptable:

“I do the babysitting to help get money to buy toys and books,” said the North Carolina native. “I even had to buy shelves and a stool for the kids to stand on to wash their hands at the sink. I spent about $500 on supplies last year, and It definitely hurts my own pocketbook.”

With school budgets across the country slashed, Martin is part of a growing number of teachers spending more of their own money for school supplies, according to a recent survey from insurance firm Horace Mann, which focuses on products for educators.

The problem has reached near-crisis levels, especially in states like North Carolina.

There’s a not so fine line in the expectation that a professional purchase reasonable equipment for their jobs.  For example, at my office I buy my own notebooks, pens and pencils.  I buy my own clocks and calculators.  When I need to study for a specific technology, I buy the books and or course.  But I do NOT buy paper towels, or desk cleaner.  I don’t buy carpet scrubber or PCs for which I work company business.

I don’t buy my own desk phone or desk for that matter and I don’t contribute to the electric or water bills.

If these teachers are providing supplies out of their own pockets, the system is abusing them and we have to address that.  One way or another, these teachers can not be expected to:

The survey said that 26% of the 814 teachers participating spent $400 of their own money on supplies last year—that’s a 3 percentage point increase from 2011 in the number of teachers spending that much.

The teachers need to send notes home with their kids and explain that parents have to pick up the slack – items like books and tissues, wipes and books and pencils, they need to come to school with the kids.  I’ll tell you what, I get a note like that from my kid’s teacher and I’m going to talk to the principal and then the board.

Thankful Tuesdays

So, North Carolina is making headlines for their Moral Monday protests.  Typical liberal complaints about wars on various things, republicans hate the poor and kids and moms and baseball.  The normal stuff.

But added to the mix is the disbelief that when republicans take control of state government for the first time in 150 years, they are going to govern different than democrats.

Anyway, the Moral Monday protests are silly in the same way that the Occupy Wall Street protests were silly.  But now the right has countered:

Raleigh, N.C. — About 200 supporters expressed their appreciation Tuesday for North Carolina Republicans’ efforts to cut taxes, require identification before voting and make getting abortions more difficult.

Republican groups organized a “Thankful Tuesday” rally at the government complex in Raleigh to praise the GOP-led legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory for their work passing conservative policies.

Sigh.  The right.  So much less skilled at message crafting than the left; Thankful Tuesday.  They can’t even get the name right.  Who holds a Thankful Tuesday when Thankful Thursday is available?

Anyway, the republicans are going to  over reach, to be sure, and they’re gonna make mistakes – again, no surprise.  But the left needs to calm down when, for the first time in a dozen or more decades, things aren’t being decided by them.

Unemployment Benefits to End In North Carolina


The most recent recession has seen massive amounts of folks joining the ranks of the unemployed. Compounding that problem is that it is hard to obtain a new job in this economy.  In an effort to alleviate, or help alleviate, some of the pain, benefits have been extended.

But it doesn’t come cheap:

The new law is a response to the more than $2 billion the state owes the federal government, money that was borrowed to cover state-funded unemployment benefits after unemployment soared beginning in 2008.

While the state does get help from the federal government, they have to pay that money back.  And if that money isn’t paid back in time, there are penalties.

So what is North Carolina doing?

About 70,000 people will stop receiving federal extended unemployment benefits June 30 – the result of a state law that goes into effect July 1. (See the state and Triangle jobless rates, and the rates for all 100 counties, in the interactive graphics at the bottom of this story.)

The law, one of the first passed by the legislature this year, reduces the maximum state benefits a laid-off worker can receive by roughly one-third. It also reduces the maximum weeks of benefits funded by the state.

Those changes triggered the end of the federal extended benefits because federal law requires states to maintain current benefit levels. Extended benefits, which kicked in after the unemployed had exhausted their 26 weeks of state-funded benefits, have provided as many as 47 additional weeks of benefits for those unable to find a job.

We’re reducing the unemployment benefits.

This, of course, is one of the reasons for Moral Monday protests here in Raleigh.  It’s an example of an extremist legislature dominated by republicans to wage a war on the poor and middle class of North Carolina.

Never mind the fact that this money is going to have to be paid back.  Never mind the fact that, at some point, the benefits are going to end.  Never mind the fact that data suggests that people begin to look in earnest for their next job 2 weeks before their benefits end.

It’s time.  It’s long past time to return to a state of things where benefits are a simple and short bridge to the next job.  No one envisioned nearly two full years of unemployment benefits when the program was instituted.

Obama and the Fiscal Cliff

Obama is confused.

Today he’s remarking that the republicans aren’t negotiating seriously:

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Obama told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Republicans are responsible for the stalemate that brought lawmakers back to Capitol Hill on a Sunday afternoon.

“They say that the biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way. But the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected,” Obama said. “That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme,”

To be clear, there is only one party in these negotiations that have, as their entire offer, a single overriding theme.  And that is the President himself.  The President’s entire offer, the whole of it, consists of raising taxes on the wealthy.

And that’s it.

No spending cuts.  No entitlement reforms.  No talk about any effort to reduce the deficit or attack the debt.

Just tax the rich.  And he knows that this isn’t going to address any of the problems we face, on the contrary – it will only make it worse.

But if that was the only aspect of Obama’s confusion, he could be forgiven.  We know that he’s nothing more than a class warrior who hasn’t an inkling of a clue on anything economic.  But he should know how bills make their way through Capital Hill:

Obama said the Senate should vote on legislation to make sure middle-class taxes are not raised and that 2 million people don’t lose unemployment benefits .

The Senate doesn’t initiate financial bills; the House does.  And they have.  Two of them.  Both waiting for Reid and the democrats to take them up, amend them and vote on them.  The pressure is squarely on the Senate right now.  Not the republicans.

Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street

Ted Cruz

‘nough said.

The Upside To Obtructionist Congress

The upside to congress getting nothing done?  It’s obvious, the answer is that congress does nothing.  And in this case, I actually can’t fault the democrats for slowing down the republicans:

A second typo is slowing down House work on a bill aimed at limiting federal regulations.

Work stalled after Republicans made a typographical error in a measure that had been quickly developed to replace an earlier measure that included an embarrassing typo.

The bill, H.R. 4078, was intended to prevent new federal rules until the unemployment rate falls to 6 percent, but instead referred to the “employment” rate.

To fix that, the House Rules Committee approved a rule that, once passed by the House, would deem the bill to be corrected to say “unemployment.” But that rule incorrectly refers to the main rule for the bill as H.Res. 783, when it should have said H.Res. 738.

One typo is just that, a typo; fix it.  Two typos on the same bill, where the second one is in response to fixing the first?

Slow down.  Or better yet, stop.

Government Spending: Obama And The Rest

We’ve all seen or heard about the Market Watch piece by Rex Nutting:

Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.

But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.

And the graphs that follow made it through Facebook like a wildfire:

Pretty startling.  If true, and Politifact says it mostly is, it paints a significantly different picture than most people have come to accept.  And to be sure, there have been some herculean efforts to point out that Nutting, Obama and Politifact may not be explaining the whole reality.  For example, the stimulus is charged to Bush but the repayment of that stimulus is credited to Obama.  At the very least, the two actions should be charged to the same guy, either one seems fair.  Then there’s the fiscal activities that took place during Bush’s fiscal year but that Obama passed.  Those should not be given to Bush but rather to Obama.

However, there’s been something gnawing at me during this whole debate and until I read a piece this morning by Dan Mitchell.

He makes a great case that while Obama IS a big government big spender, it’s not as if the Republicans are innocent.

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