The AP has a thorough story this morning  on Rep. George Cleveland’s’s statement that “We have nobody in the state of North Carolina living in extreme poverty.” In it, reporters Martha Waggoner and Gary Robertson shine a little more light on what lies behind Cleveland’s weirdly distorted view of reality.
They quote Cleveland as follows:
“I’m sure there are hungry people in North Carolina, but to say they are living in extreme poverty in North Carolina, I think that’s an overstatement.”
This actually explains a lot. According to Cleveland, even if you’re poor enough to be going hungry (as thousands upon thousands of North Carolinians — many of the children — are ) you do not live in extreme poverty. Apparently, unless you’re collapsing in the street from starvation, you do not live in extreme poverty in Cleveland’s warped and troubled view of reality.
Meanwhile, you’ll be happy to know that rather than censuring or criticizing Cleveland, the North Carolina Republican establishment appears to be embracing him. This morning, a lawyer for Senate GOP leader Phil Berger  tweeted the following in reponse to the AP story which also reported on an underemployed low-income fellow in Cleveland’s home county who’s been trying to work his way out of poverty by attending community college classes when he has the resources to do so:
“Only in the mind of a Democrat could someone who is going to college be facing ‘extreme poverty.””
You got that? Not only is this guy not taking Cleveland to task, he’s putting down a person trying to work his way out of poverty (and by implication) dismissing the obvious and numbing poverty that afflicts hundreds of thousands of innocent children in our state.
Come on Senator Berger and Speaker Tillis (and Mayor McCrory) — you guys can’t really be this mean-spirited. Speak up and repudiate these crazy people now.