Making new problems solves nothing

Jul. 14, 2013 @ 05:19 PM

Apparently, we’re just not seeing the same North Carolina as Gov. Pat McCrory.

On Friday, just days after The New York Times wrote a scathing editorial about North Carolina’s descent from “a tradition of caring,” McCrory fired back with a letter to the editor in The Times, defending the track we’re on.

“The North Carolina I’m leading today is on a powerful comeback,” the governor wrote. “After just six months of problem-solving leadership and making the tough decisions that we were elected to do, there is significant movement on vital reforms to tax policy, energy, education, economic development and transportation.”

We’re not entirely sure why he seems so defensive. After all, the editorial published by The Times clearly laid the blame for our backward slide on the General Assembly. McCrory himself has had to step up on occasion to give a nudge to lawmakers, such as when Republicans first launched their surprise attack on abortion rights.

“While it may not be apparent to the very liberal worldview of The Times, North Carolina’s new focus on reform is paying off,” McCrory wrote. “Already companies have announced plans to create more than 9,300 jobs in the state and invest more than $1.1 billion in facilities. The jet engine manufacturer GE Aviation is bringing its advanced materials production to a new facility near Asheville.”

Those reforms aren’t paying off for the 70,000 jobless residents who have seen an end to their federal unemployment benefits. When 100,000 more lose their checks in a few months, how many will be able to commute to western North Carolina for those GE jobs McCrory mentioned?

Few, we expect.

In his letter, he fell back on his 14 years as mayor of Charlotte, touting collaboration between Republicans and Democrats.

“This collaborative, problem-solving, focused leadership transformed Charlotte from a regional hub into a leading national metropolitan center,” he wrote. “This focus on pragmatic problem-solving is now fueling North Carolina’s comeback to prosperity as well.”

If, by “pragmatic problem-solving” he means “legislative tampering in areas that don’t need it,” then maybe he’s right. Our lawmakers have sought to curtail reproductive rights, repealed the Racial Justice Act and went hunting for new methods of voter marginalization through ID laws.

They’ve angered people enough to spawn week after week of Moral Monday rallies.

McCrory and Republicans in the General Assembly may be unpopular with The Times, but they’ve earned kudos from Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason, who wrote in a Reuters blog post: “Heated rhetoric aside, however, close examination shows a vocal minority is overreacting to Republicans implementing the fiscal policies they ran on – and that a majority of voters agreed were needed to make the state economically competitive.”

Norquist and Gleason go on to compare McCrory and North Carolina with Scott Walker and Wisconsin, blaming Democratic predecessors for “a budgetary mess” inherited by Republicans.

“Two years later, it is clear that not only were Walker’s reforms good policy, they were good politics,” Norquist and Gleason wrote. The same, they argue, might be expected in North Carolina.

But we just don’t see it the same way they do.

Perhaps it requires special goggles?