The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

July 17, 2013

No punches thrown from Gov. McCrory

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 — RALEIGH – Within North Carolina political circles, stories abound regarding the hard lessons doled out by the political enforcers of earlier governors.

Not too long ago, most governors understood that they needed a tough-as-nails enforcer to ensure that they got their way with legislators and policy-making boards. It was part and parcel of being a strong governor.

For Jim Hunt, the job was handed to his executive assistant, Raleigh businessman John A. Williams.

A few years ago, former Charlotte Observer columnist Jack Betts relayed a tale regarding “John A,” as he was known and the flexing of his political muscle.

According to Betts’ story, based on the recollections of Raleigh lawyer Jack Nichols, a panel had been formed to figure out the state’s response to a lawsuit related to the treatment of mentally ill children.

After the head of the panel had asked that each of the 20 or so members introduce themselves, Williams chimed in, “And tell us whether or not your position is exempt.”

By exempt, Williams meant not subject to state personnel protections. The message was clear: For those in exempt positions, they would be voting how they were told to vote.

I’ve heard “John A” stories regarding Hunt’s push for gubernatorial succession that make the implied threat from that meeting look downright polite.

Jim Martin’s chief teeth-rattler was Brad Hayes.

It is easy to forget now that Republicans wielded some power at the legislature even before their current majorities and their four-year run in the 1990s as the majority in the state House.

In 1989, GOP House members were part of the coalition that ousted Democrat Liston Ramsey as House speaker. For the next two years, those Republican House members enjoyed more influence than they had in almost a century.

They also started to give their governor some problems, at least until Hayes called them to a meeting at the governor’s mansion.

According to someone who was there, Hayes pulled out a notebook. Each page included the name of the lawmaker present and a list of all the favors – appointments, road projects, jobs – that Martin had done for him or her.

Hayes read each page. When he finished, he set the notebook aside and said, “There are no more pages and I don’t have another notebook.”

The message was sent.

I suppose it could be argued that we live in a different time, that politics in the age of the Internet must be waged with more nuisance.

But North Carolina, even after giving its governors veto power, has had two straight governors whom history will likely judge as relatively weak.

Now, another governor, Pat McCrory, moves down a similar track, with a legislative freight train continually bearing down on him.

That a former Charlotte mayor, unfamiliar with legislative politics, failed to understand that he needed to do some teeth-rattling of his own is not so surprising.

Failing to understand it after the last six months would be.



Scott Mooneyham is a syndicated columnist for Capitol Press Association and covers activities of the N.C. Legislature.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 11, 2014

  • Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?

    Research shows most people can follow a regimented eating plan for a short time. That's not the challenge. The challenge is finding a healthful eating plan you can follow day after day and achieve your long-term health goals. At this point, it doesn't appear that the paleo eating plan meets these objectives for most people.

    April 10, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 10, 2014

  • Hospice of Stanly County should be the one we support

    Regarding your recent article about Community Hospice relocating its offices from one location in Troy to another, let me point out a few things.

    April 10, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content