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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Words o' Wisdom 

Tom Jensen over at Public Policy Polling:
All three of these folks [current top GOP contenders Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee] reinforce the negative perceptions that much of the country holds about the Republican Party. The GOP needs a fresh face that challenges people's assumptions about who Republicans are and is visibly not just going to be George W. Bush under another name. I don't know who that person is, but he/she needs to emerge if the party is going to win back the White House in 2012.

Some conservative talking head the other day -- maybe it was Pat Buchanan -- uttered the name Bob McDonnell in reference to the above perception that something is dreadfully outta focus (rather than mavericky) about the current Republican field of presidential contenders. Which we think kinda proves Jensen's point, if you're turning to the man who just won a Southern governorship but hasn't even been sworn in yet.

McDonnell = a fresh face, yes. But "challenges people's assumptions"? Not so much.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

The New Poster Child of the NCGOP 

Apparently they couldn't get Michelle Bachmann nor Sarah Palin, so Tom Fetzer and the NCGOP will use under-informed and under-performing poor Doug Hoffman, fresh off his loss in the NY-23, as the headliner for a Raleigh fundraiser (Hall of Fame Dinner on November 21). Oh goody.

What were we predicting a couple of days ago about Hoffman's becoming the new face of the GOP?

Tom Jensen, reacting to this news over at Public Policy Polling, sez, don't underestimate the North Carolina Republican Party's ability to defeat themselves in an environment that might otherwise conventionally favor their electoral chances:
If the Hoffman model is what [Fetzer & Co.] want to emulate they may just find a way to screw it up in a political climate that appears to be very favorable for them. Democrats have kept power in recent years despite one corruption scandal after another because voters in North Carolina think the Republicans are just too extreme and incompetent. You'd think they'd try to learn from those lessons and put a different face forward that could actually appeal to voters in the center but I may have overestimated them.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

N.C. GOP Stands Tall for Bullying Gay Kids 

The School Violence Protection Act, Senate Bill 526, passed the N.C. Senate yesterday. Not a single Republican senator voted for it because it recognized gay and lesbian students as potential targets of bullying. Republican politicians don't want to get caught being "gay friendly," no indeedy.

So Public Policy Polling's discussion today deserves some attention. In March, PPP found that 69% of the general public support the sexual orientation provision in the bill, and even a 51% majority of Republicans support the bill. Writes Tom Jensen,
This is a pretty good example of how legislative Republicans marginalize themselves and why Democrats have generally been able to keep control of the legislature in election years that otherwise went very well for the GOP. The truth is that the issues they choose to lose sleep over are outside the mainstream of even much of the Republican base.

In other words, the Republicans in the state senate are considerably to the right of even their base, who don't seem all that concerned that protecting gay kids from getting beat up is going to lead to Sodom&Gomorra, right here in River City!

Anyone waiting for the "rebranding" of Republicanism in N.C. needs to pack several meals and a bedroll.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Under-Performing Republicans: Foxx & McHenry 

According to the Swing State Project (via PPP), in the last election only 23 Republican members of the House did worse than John McCain within their own districts. Two of those 23 were Virginia Foxx (NC-5) and Patrick McHenry (NC-10). McHenry's performance relative to the party's presidential nominee was the sixth worst of any member of the GOP caucus.

Tom Jensen at PPP has remarked before that these statistics suggest just how strong Roy Carter and Daniel Johnson were as challengers to Foxx and McHenry, even though they lost. Jensen also opines that the NC-5 and NC-10 are "completely unwinnable" for Dems, based on the "current configuration" of those districts.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Bev Perdue Names New DOT Top Dog 

Eugene A. "Gene" Conti Jr. will head the NC DOT for Gov. Perdue. Good choice.

Gene was a VISTA volunteer in eastern Kentucky back in the mid-'60s, and after earning his undergraduate degree in sociology and anthropology at Eastern Michigan University, he completed both a master's and his Ph.D. (in anthro) at Duke. I knew him back in those days for his work on cultural change in the Appalachian mountains, before he shifted gears, got another degree in Policy Sciences and Public Affairs, worked as a policy analyst with the North Carolina Department of Administration, and headed to D.C. as a Presidential Management Intern and then onto the staff at the Office of Management and Budget. After other distinguished service, he became Congressman David Price's chief of staff for several years.

He knows transportation issues. When he left Congressman Price's office, he served a couple of years as assistant secretary at the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, and from 2001-2003 he had the number two job in the NC DOT.

Massively and uniquely qualified, this guy. With a BIG job ahead of him, draining that particular swamp.

ADDENDUM: Tom Jensen says that Perdue's appointment of Conti is (as much as anything) a positive signal of gubernatorial independence from NC Senate grandee Marc Basnight.

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