“Hunt criticized the Democratic controlled General Assembly for raising taxes in 1991 during the recession, saying the budgetary shortfall was ‘sheer government mismanagement.’”[i] Rob Christensen, News & Observer, The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics Twenty-five years ago, in Washington DC, U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican, was beginning his third term in the
“Hunt criticized the Democratic controlled General Assembly for raising taxes in 1991 during the recession, saying the budgetary shortfall was ‘sheer government mismanagement.’”[i] Rob Christensen, News & Observer, The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics
Twenty-five years ago, in Washington DC, U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican, was beginning his third term in the world’s greatest deliberative body.
In Raleigh, former two-term Governor Jim Hunt, a Democrat, was returning to the practice of law. He had lost to Helms in the 1984 epic battle of political titans in the US Senate race. Hunt was all washed up; a mere single-entry footnote in the annals of state political history. Wrong.
Jim Hunt, today’s patriarch of the North Carolina Democratic Party, went on to serve a third and fourth term as Governor, a first since 1776. He achieved an extraordinary and unprecedented list of accomplishments … not the least of which was the exalted partisan political triumph of becoming the state Republican Party’s worst nightmare of the past two-and-a-half decades.
As News & Observer political writer Rob Christensen pointed out in his book, The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics, “Hunt kept the Democratic Party from going under during a Republican tide by his political skills, ideological nimbleness, and the fact that he never stopped working.”[ii]
Jim Hunt has become the Michael Jordan, the David Thompson, and the Christian Laettner of modern-day North Carolina politics … that player that is simply better than everyone else on the court. You know the one … the one with the most wins.
This report examines the teachable personal qualities of Jim Hunt, such as “ideological nimbleness” and work ethic, along with the political skills that have made Jim Hunt the extraordinary winner that he has become. What if Hunt had gone to Washington DC in 1985 and Helms had stayed in North Carolina? Is there a Republican Jim Hunt?
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Part V: Liability 10 “What’s disappointing to me,” said Stupak, “is learning that Toyota seems to have focused more on discrediting its critics than on solving the problem.” Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, May 20, 2010, U.S. House Commerce Committee Hearing on Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems[i] Obama: Walking on Oily Water in a Sea of Disappointments
Part V: Liability 10
“What’s disappointing to me,” said Stupak, “is learning that Toyota seems to have focused more on discrediting its critics than on solving the problem.” Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, May 20, 2010, U.S. House Commerce Committee Hearing on Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems[i]
Obama’s inspiring oratory and hopeful message of change during the 2008 presidential race moved tens of millions from every walk of life to believe that he would be different; that he would be far greater than his predecessor.
And certainly President Obama would be able to manage a disaster better than the way President Bush handled Katrina. But now, in the aftermath of a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf, what we see is a vulnerable and defensive leader with approval ratings plummeting to new lows.[ii]
North Carolina Democrats were counting on President Obama to inspire the winning difference in 2010 as he did in 2008. Instead, what they have is just another bumbling president betrayed by his gift for gab … a mere mortal walking on oily water in a sea of disappointments.
Obama Disappoints: Average Weekly Job Approval Reaches All-Time Low in June
The great hope for change in Washington has been reduced to great disappointments following political disaster after political disaster. It’s little wonder that President Obama’s job approval rating is only 44%, a 52-week low. According to Gallup, Obama’s weekly average job approval has reached a new low as well, 46%, from a weekly average of 65% this time a year ago.[iii]
- He ran as a man of great courage but has become a defensive scapegoater
- He ran as a friend of the environmentalists but authorized more offshore drilling
- He ran as a dove but has morphed into a hawk on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
- He ran as a uniter but has become a partisan wrecking ball with his legislative agenda
- He ran as a centrist but is governing as a liberal surrounded by liberals
- He ran as a man of the people but put his priority, healthcare, ahead of their priority, jobs
- He ran as a man who would close Gitmo and would not hire lobbyists … ha!
- He ran as a leader committed to fiscal responsibility but is overseeing a doubling of the national debt (projected at $19 trillion by 2015); “unsustainable” said Bernanke 6/10
- He ran against Wall Street but recapitalized their bonuses with taxpayer money
- He ran as an economic and jobs stimulator but unemployment/underemployment is still at 20%,[iv] with almost all of the new jobs in May being temporary with the Census Bureau
- He said his would be the most transparent administration in history yet he manages the news media with connivances, stonewalling and defensive double-speak
Obama would be well served to closet himself for a while at the White House and ponder Ralph Waldo Emerson’s sage caution, “What you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.”
Where’s the Unlimited Money? The Paid Staff? The Enthusiastic Volunteers?
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Part IV: Liability 9 “The Toyota affair emphasizes some basic points of management. First, any company, no matter how large and how famous for its merits, can stumble into grave error. Second, damaged pride and nervous fear make it difficult to correct the error in good time. Third, management decisions should normally never be taken
Part IV: Liability 9
“The Toyota affair emphasizes some basic points of management. First, any company, no matter how large and how famous for its merits, can stumble into grave error. Second, damaged pride and nervous fear make it difficult to correct the error in good time. Third, management decisions should normally never be taken on the basis of profit forecasts alone.” Edward de Bono & Robert Heller, The Toyota disaster – and what we can learn from it[i]
This is Part IV in a series of reports suggesting that the North Carolina Democratic Party is much like the Toyota Motor Company in that they are both among the great organizational successes in American history, and both are losing market share because of sloppy standards and corrupt leaders. Parts I, II, and III can be found at www.johndavisconsulting.com.
The 10 premises in the series, all political liabilities, lead to the following conclusion: Many believe that the only way North Carolina Republicans can seize power in 2010 is to raise the political bar closer to that of Democrats. Well, what if Democrats lower their political bar closer to the GOP? Republicans win. And that is what is happening in this state.
The following paragraph is restated from the last report for emphasis: What makes 2010 potentially catastrophic for North Carolina Democrats is that the 10 political liabilities are unfolding at the same time. Any one or several of them would not be politically catastrophic. Many times down through the decades, Democrats have weathered eras of corrupt leaders; they have overcome Republican-friendly years, weak governors, high turnover of incumbents, unpopular presidents, budget problems, economic slumps, anti-establishment voters, third party movements, low turnout, declining party loyalty, high unemployment, unpopular wars and a surge in opposition strength … but not at the same time like we are seeing today.
In Parts I, II and III of the series, I wrote about liabilities including:
#1: A Weak Democratic Governor Will be a Drag on Democratic Candidates
#2: Basnight’s Cash on Hand Down by 30% with a Tougher Hill to Climb
#3: Democrats have all of the Power and Get all of the Blame
#4: A Nation and State of Voters Fearing Financial Collapse Due to Spending
#5: Corrupt Leaders: Toyota the Safety Automaker; Perdue the Ethics Governor
#6: The Issue is the Economy, and Democrats Own the Economy
#7: Regnat Populus! Dissatisfied Voters View “Ins” as Dismissive and Un-American
#8: Enthusiasm + Internet = Turnout; Party Infrastructural Advantage Threatened
Here is number nine:
#9: Protective Wall of Silence Exposed Revealing Power-over-Principle Imperative
Those who make the laws should abide by them. Those who would be leaders should lead by example. These two moral imperatives have been overshadowed in the North Carolina Democratic Party by their #1 moral imperative: Partisan power at all costs.
North Carolina Democrats offer protection for their errant leaders behind a wall of silence. If one among them breaks the law (quid pro quo deals, Cannonsgate, quid pro quo deals, illegal flights, quid pro quo deals, tax evasion, and more quid pro quo deals), or compromises principles and values (Law Enforcement Associates’ no-bid contract, university job plus 88% salary increase for Gov’s wife, a judicial district for your DA buddy who lost his election, using the “N” word in front of your six-year-old child, $27,012 for limo services in France), the first sense of moral obligation for North Carolina Democrats is to keep quiet and bide their time.
Keep Your Mouth Shut Long Enough, and the Problem will Go Away
Toyota handled its problems with defective accelerator pedals on millions of its vehicles the same way North Carolina Democrats have handled their problems with defective leaders: they stonewalled the public. “They did try to hide it — that’s what we accused them of — and they’ve agreed to that,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the Associated Press, upon announcing the largest fine in department history in April of this year. Toyota put profit over principle. They knew parts were defective and kept it under wraps. If it were not for whistleblowers forcing exposure, people would still be dying in runaway Toyota automobiles.
Democrats know that they can use their unchecked power to muscle everyone with a legislative agenda to be a stone in their protective wall of silence. From lobbyists and governmental agency heads, to members of boards and commissions, education officials … even some news reporters; all are aware that you better protect the leadership at all costs or you don’t get access.
No access means no money, no new buildings, no inside scoop, no road contracts … no nothing.
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