Governor Bev Perdue has never been the world’s greatest at ad lib speechifying. Eight dreary years in the dreadful and anonymous job of Lt. Governor probably didn’t help, but whatever the reason, all can safely agree that the Guv just can’t help herself sometimes when it comes to giving voice to a wacky thought or two.
In some ways, it’s almost endearing. For better or worse, one rarely has the sense of listening to a pre-programmed, automaton politician when Perdue speaks. Some of the things she says may be silly or cringe-inducing, but you have to admit Perdue is herself. She doesn’t pretend to be something she isn’t. No one ever has to call up her key staffers and beg that they ”let Perdue be Perdue.”
All of which brings us to this ridiculous flap that has developed in the last 24 hours with respect to a very Perdue-ish remark the Guv made yesterday. According to a story on WRAL.com, Perdue said the following at a Rotary luncheon:
“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said.
“The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines,” she continued. “You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”
Perdue was obviously not serious. She was trying, rather inartfully, to make a point that was a good one about the poisonous tenor of politics in Washington.
But, of course, it didn’t take long for gubernatorial candidate-for-life Pat McCrory and his de facto campaign staff at the Pope Civitas Institute to claim that the Governor was practically threatening to declare martial law.
Francis X. De Luca, head of the Civitas group (who, for some reason, has to remind us in every letter that he’s a retired Colonel from the Marine Corps Reserve) sent out a fundraising email last night claiming that Perdue was talking about “dictatorship.” McCrory claimed Perdue was ”ignoring the Constitution.”
The Governor was doing no such thing and you both know it. She was attempting to make a point about the paralysis that has afflicted government in recent months. It was clumsy, yes, but no more clumsy than when conservtive demigod Ronald Reagan “joked” about a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union prior to a national radio address.
In other words, Pat, if you ever want to get anywhere with this perpetual campaign, you might want to try taking the high road every now and then. Act like a grown up, Pat, and stop spending all of your days with low rung attack groups. Act like the quasi-centrist mayor you supposedly were instead of trying to be a political attack dog on the leash of the Pope empire.
There will plenty of time for very spirited debate in the next 13 months. For now, do everyone (including yourself) a favor and show a little class.