NCDP Clips September 25, 2013


Dome: Morning Memo: Democrats hit GOP on education in new ad campaign
The headline "Republican leadership has failed teachers in North Carolina" is hitting newspapers across the state this week in full-page advertisements paid for by the N.C. Democratic Party. The ads target 17 legislative districts (eight Senate, nine House) and criticize Republicans for not increasing teacher pay, forcing class size increases, eliminating some teacher assistants, ending the back-to-school tax holiday, cutting money for textbooks and supplies, taking away the graduate school bonus for (future) teachers and allowing private school vouchers. "We’re putting Gov. McCrory and Republican legislators on notice that their assault on public education is not going unnoticed," said Robert Dempsey, the party’s executive director.


Mount Airy News: Another day, another McCrory supporter gets high-dollar state job
Another recent questionable hire by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services drew the ire of some because of the person’s politics — mainly because she was an open and ardent anti-abortionist — and because of the circumstances of her hiring. Margaret “Mardy” Peal began working last month as a senior policy adviser for the department at an annual salary of $95,000. A hue and cry went up from some quarters because Peal recently served on the board of the anti-abortion Carolina Pregnancy Center, a group that emphasizes Christian scripture and encourages abstinence. Quite frankly, for those who oppose her hiring on that basis, we say tough. There should never be a political litmus test for someone being hired into a professional position, or into a policy making or advisory post. A person should be hired based on qualifications, without regard to her political leanings. The media as a whole would never stand for a pro-abortion activist’s hiring to be questioned based on that fact alone, why should someone from another point on the political spectrum be treated differently?

Daily Advance: Scott Mooneyham: Forest not facing the facts on budget, teacher pay
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest might want to consider one of the lessons that Gov. Pat McCrory has been learning since assuming the state’s top political job back in January. In Raleigh, politicians who go around making off-the cuff remarks that aren’t backed up by facts tend to get a little dinged up. The media and interest groups aligned with the opposing political party usually hold you accountable for what you say. That Forest doesn’t quite get that was evident when he recently said he wants North Carolina to have the highest-paid teachers in the country, and that we can get there without raising taxes. The Greensboro News & Record quoted Forest saying, “I think there’s plenty of money in government. We’ll figure out a way to do it.”

Politics NC: Ad Man
There’s no denying that Mayor Pat made a great ad man. Unlike Walter Dalton, he looked loose and likeable in front of the camera. He delivered lines like “we need a trustworthy government that treats us like customers” like the uncle you wished was your father. Nor has he lost his touch. McCrory, who sometimes golfed at Myer’s Park Country Club (join-up fee: $40,000), really does seem like the he’d shun the fashionable set to talk to middle-class parents. Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, this compelling actor has made a remarkably bad governor. He’s let bureaucracies run out of control. Like Ronald Reagan, he struggles to distinguish fantasy from reality, fudging the facts to make them a fun story. He contradicted a previous casting to become a new, “family” (“values”)-friendly character. In the McCrory administration, the cinematic collided with the real, and real people lost.

Talking About Politics: Wos-ectomy
That’s what one TAPster suggests Governor McCrory needs. The question is whether the legislature will perform the procedure. When the legislature adjourned, the Governor worried that the honorables were dragging down his approval ratings. So he vetoed a couple of bills. That didn’t work out. Now, GOP legislators worry that the Governor and DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos are dragging down their approval ratings. After all, they face the voters next year. They will have to answer for 24-year-olds getting paid $87,500 while teachers got no raise. And why the chief of staff quit after a month. And why he got $37,227.25 in severance pay. And why the highly touted $210,000-a-year Medicaid director left after eight months. Legislators will examine the patient on October 8. The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services will meet and, WRAL’s Mark Binker reports, “is expecting to hear information on the computer systems, salaries and well as the administration’s Medicaid reform plans.”


Daily Tarheel: Foushee To Be Sworn In Today
Valerie Foushee will be sworn into the N.C. Senate at 2 p.m. today following her official resignation from her N.C. House of Representatives seat — as five candidates vie to replace her as representative. Foushee hand-delivered her resignation letter to the House clerk and the N.C. Democratic Party on Monday. Judge Beverly Scarlett will swear Foushee into office at the Chatham County Courthouse after her resignation takes effect at noon.


Political Wire: Democrats Stay United on Health Care
President Obama and Bill Clinton "took to the same stage Tuesday to promote the new health care law that Obama championed after Clinton’s own efforts to reform health care years earlier fell flat," the AP reports. "Joining forces under dimmed lights in a hotel ballroom in New York, Obama and Clinton laid out the law’s benefits and its connection to the economy while dispelling what they called disinformation about its downsides. Clinton, acting as host, lobbed the questions; Obama answered with the eagerness of a guest on a daytime TV talk show."

The New York Times: Obama Defends U.S. Engagement in the Middle East
President Obama on Tuesday laid down a retooled blueprint for America’s role in the strife-torn Middle East, declaring that the United States would use all of its levers of power, including military force, to defend its interests, even as it accepted limits on its ability to influence events in Syria, Iran and other countries. In a wide-ranging speech to the General Assembly that played off rapid-fire diplomatic developments but also sought to define what he called a “hard-earned humility” about American engagement after 12 years of war, Mr. Obama insisted that the United States still played an “exceptional” role on the world stage. Turning inward, he said, “would create a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.”


Washington Post: New debt limit deadline is Oct. 17
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned congressional leaders Wednesday that he will exhaust emergency borrowing measures “no later than Oct. 17,” leaving him with less than $30 billion on hand to pay the nation’s bills. In a letter sent to all members of Congress, Lew urged immediate action to raise the federal debt limit, which stands at $16.7 trillion. Without additional borrowing authority, Lew warned, cash on hand “would be far short of net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60 billion.” “If we have insufficient cash on hand,” the letter said, “it would be impossible for the United States of America to meet all of its obligations for the first time in our history.”

Politico: Steve Schmidt rants against GOP ‘asininity’
John McCain’s former senior adviser Steve Schmidt says he has “deep regret” for helping to create a “freak show” wing of the Republican Party when he had a hand in bringing former McCain running mate Sarah Palin to the national stage. Schmidt said Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball” that it’s time for the GOP to stand up to the “asininity” embodied by Palin and others. “For the last couple of years, we’ve had this wing of the party running roughshod over the rest of the party. Tossing out terms like RINO, saying we’re going to purge, you know, the moderates out of the party,” Schmidt said. “We’ve lost five U.S. Senate seats over the last two election cycles. And fundamentally we need Republicans, whether they’re running for president, whether they’re in the leadership of the Congress, to stand up against a lot of this asininity.”

The Washington Post: Wonkbook: Brace yourselves. This fiscal fight could be worse than 2011′s.

Much of Washington — not to mention the financial markets — is taking comfort in the fact that think they’ve seen this movie before. In 2011, House Republicans threatened to shut down the government and breach the debt ceiling unless the Obama administration made substantial concessions. Though the negotiations were tense, the two sides ultimately came to an agreement. There was no shutdown. There was no default. The lesson most everyone took away was that Washington always figures it out in the end. But this isn’t 2011. It’s potentially much worse.
What’s lost in the comforting analogy is how much the two sides agreed on in 2011:
1) Republicans had just won a massive victory in the midterm elections, so both sides broadly agreed that Republicans had a mandate to cut spending. 2) Both sides agreed that there should be negotiations over the debt ceiling. Indeed, by the time the debt ceiling hit, negotiations had been ongoing for months. 3) Both sides agreed that the aim of those negotiations was reducing the budget deficit.

Politico: Obama gets first openly gay appellate judge
Congress and the White House may look like they’re careening toward a shutdown, but the Senate took time Tuesday to confirm 98-0 another of President Obama’s judicial nominees–making Todd Hughes the nation’s first openly gay federal appeals judge. Hughes, who’s a deputy director of the commercial litigation branch in the Justice Department, has been waiting on his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the federal circuit since February. Hughes’ confirmation leaves 13 Obama judicial nominees still waiting–two for the D.C. circuit, and 11 for district courts. The White House points to the historic nature of several of these: New Hampshire, Montana and the Western District of New York would all get their first female district judges, and in the Northern District of Mississippi, Debra Brown would be the first African-American district judge.

Real Clear Politics: What Tea Party Voters Don’t Understand
Tea Party voters are a pretty self-assured lot. They’re 100 percent certain that if they stand by conservative principles (as they define them), scorning any compromises, a minority can rule the world. They’re also pretty good at discerning apostates. They’re the keepers of the one true conservative faith. Anyone who deviates a hair from their prescribed policies — or even expresses qualms about their political tactics — is a traitor and a squish, which covers all but a few Republicans in Washington. Those exceptional few are the only politicians they listen to, as they generally prefer the advice of talk radio hosts who don’t have a responsibility to govern, only to make money for themselves and their advertisers. Even the pols they respect have to be watched closely for signs of incipient complicity in the disgrace of incrementally fixing what’s wrong with government rather than burning the whole thing down and starting over. That’s how Sen. Ted Cruz found himself in hot water with his Tea Party supporters. For weeks he had demanded House Republicans stand fast and pass legislation to fund the government only if it denied funding for Obamacare. When his like-minded lawmakers in the House forced their leadership to send the Senate a bill that would effectively kill the 2010 law, Cruz congratulated them on having the courage of their convictions. Then he promptly explained that they couldn’t expect much help from him. He’s just one guy. Harry Reid runs the Senate, and there are too few non-squishes in the Senate Republican caucus to stop Reid from doing his worst.

Politico: Hillary Clinton defends Obamacare, slams defunding efforts
Hillary Clinton made a forceful case in support of Obamacare’s implementation and slammed the “noisy minority” of Senate Republicans advocating defunding the program, saying a government shutdown will be blamed on Republicans and “we’ve seen that movie before.” “I find the debate over the issue to be quite unfortunate,” Clinton said at an afternoon panel at the Clinton Global Initiative in Manhattan, two hours before her husband and President Obama were set to take the stage to discuss the health care initiative. The remarks represented some of Clinton’s most political commentary since she left the State Department early this year, including her passionate defense of the Voting Rights Act at the American Bar Association.

Politico: Senate GOP regroups on shutdown strategy
Senate Republicans huddled on Tuesday afternoon to get back on the same page: Attack Obamacare, not one another. The regrouping came during a closed-door session amid a high-stakes Republican fissure over strategy on how to fight the president’s health care law and keep the government open. “We’re talking about we can get back in a position where we’re talking about how harmful Obamacare [is] instead of disagreeing over tactics,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah want Republicans to oppose ending debate on a House-passed spending bill later this week before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can strip out the defunding component, a tactic opposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). The leaders say they won’t vote procedurally against a bill that they support because it defunds Obamacare.

Dome: Brad Miller: Debt Default Consequences ‘Far Worse Than Congress Knows’
Former North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat, says "he consequences of default on the national debt may be far worse than Congress knows. In fact, it’s hard to tell what Congress knows." In an op-ed for Politico, Miller continues: "Congress must know that a default will most likely result in a credit downgrade and increase the interest rate on government borrowing, a needless increase in the cost of America’s debt service by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade or two. But there is so much more that could go wrong in a dimly understood and still fragile financial system."


WRAL: Former NCGOP Staffer To Helm Harris Senate Bid
Another member of the state’s Republican establishment is backing Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte for the nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan next year. Mike Rusher will serve as campaign manager for Harris’ primary bid, Harris consultant Tom Perdue said Tuesday. "Mike’s got respect with lots of audiences, and he’s very knowledgeable about North Carolina politics," Perdue said. "He and Mark just hit it off."

News and Observer: Former top GOP operative to manage Mark Harris’ Senate campaign
Rev. Mark Harris won’t officially enter North Carolina’s U.S, Senate race until next week. But he’s already snared another former official of the state Republican Party to run his campaign. Harris announced that Mike Rusher will manage his campaign. Rusher, former chief of staff for the state GOP, joins former state party chairman Robin Hayes, who will co-chair the Harris campaign. Harris is pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. He plans a fly-around announcement tour on Oct. 2, starting in Wilmington and ending in Charlotte. Rusher headed the national GOP Victory Campaign in North Carolina until early August in 2012. Before that he was an aide to state Senate Leader Phil Berger. The announcement of his position with the Harris campaign comes a day after Berger formally bowed out of the Senate race.

News and Record: Berger ducks out, leaves Tillis as GOP’s main man for Senate
The way Phil Berger was going after Kay Hagan lately, I thought he might run against the Democratic U.S. senator next year. He still took a shot at her in his statement today, but he’s not running. That’s playing it safe, which is not a bad idea considering his present position. As leader of the state Senate, he’s become the most powerful politician in North Carolina — even more so than the governor. He’s all but guaranteed to keep that job for the 2015-16 legislative session. Why risk it for a long-shot bid to upset Hagan? And first he’d have to win the Republican nomination. I think he would do that, but he’d have to spend a lot of money and trade some hard shots with principal adversary Thom Tillis. So, that makes Tillis the happiest man in North Carolina today. The speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives now becomes the man to beat in the GOP primary. The remaining field is notable only by the better-known Republicans who have said they’re NOT running: Cherie Berry, Renee Ellmers, Virginia Foxx, Patrick Murphy, Berger.

The Washington Post: Democrats see GOP shutdown threat as opening for 2014 election gains
Democrats are working hard to exploit massive unrest in the Republican Party over the looming government shutdown, which many see as one of their best chances of holding the Senate or even gaining the House in next year’s midterm elections.White House officials and other Democrats have been content to watch in recent days as Republicans have torn into each other over strategic disputes and are in no rush to launch negotiations on how to avoid a shutdown. Instead, they have attacked Republicans as reckless, pressuring them to decide whether to keep the government open with no strings attached — as Democrats favor — or shut it down.


CNN: Food stamp cuts a cruel proposal
We are in the middle of a fight to preserve the dignity and grace that makes all of us Americans. We have big hearts and great souls. I know. I have seen them, felt them and watched them in wonder when my family was lost and unreachable in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I cried, worrying for those I loved, heartbroken by what happened to our beloved Louisiana. And in the middle of that tough moment, the decency of people shone through in e-mails, phone calls and in person. Everybody was saying the same thing: "How can I help?" This is what we do in times of struggle. We offer our hand and our love to pull someone up who’s been knocked down by hard times and despair. It’s just a fundamental rule in life and in any fight; you don’t kick people when they’re down.

Washington Post: Texas senator is Cruz-ing for a bruising
A couple of hours before Sen. Ted Cruz launched his doomed filibuster, his Republican colleagues staged an intervention. They called him to the Strom Thurmond Room off the Senate floor, named after the late lawmaker who was famous for his filibusters against civil rights. They pleaded with their junior colleague to reconsider his plan to block a vote on legislation that would keep the government open. The filibuster, ostensibly in opposition to Obamacare, would do nothing to halt the hated health-care reforms, they said. It would make Republicans look foolish. It would leave House Republicans with too little time to avoid a shutdown. And it could cause Republicans to be blamed for that shutdown.

The New York Times: How Did Conservatives Get This Radical?
Whether they did so out of conviction or fear, House Republicans bent to the will of the dominant Tea Party faction of their party and voted 228 to 1 on Sept. 20 to make continued financing of the federal government contingent on defunding the Affordable Care Act. Whatever you think of this strategy, the tactics are radical. How can Republicans, courting a full-fledged fiscal crisis, claim to be conservative? Peter Wehner, who held key posts in the last three Republican presidential administrations, declares that they cannot: This is not conservatism either in terms of disposition or governing philosophy. It is, rather, the product of intemperate minds and fairly radical (and thoroughly unconservative) tendencies.

Politico: The twilight of appropriations?
As Congress refocuses its attention on the looming fiscal battles, with both sides steeling for a fight over the debt limit and a potential government shutdown, a development with greater implications for our nation’s future is unfolding with far less notice. The appropriations process — that hallmark of Congress’s constitutional authority and wellspring of our power to conduct oversight and set national priorities — is on life support and in danger of total collapse. With just four legislative days left before the end of the fiscal year, not one of the 12 funding bills required to keep the government open has been enacted into law. House Republicans have struggled to pass even a continuing resolution to keep the government running for a few weeks while appeasing their red-meat conservatives. This is hardly the first time Congress has failed to conclude its annual budget process in a timely and orderly fashion, but this year’s implosion offers the most vivid example yet of the reason behind the process’s demise: the surrender of Congress’s constitutional power of the purse to the politics of a polarized, hyperpartisan House.


Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @Micah4NC

Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.