Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- North Carolina Politics

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Absolute control breeds scandal and corruption

The Democratic Party has been in charge of almost every level of state government for what seems like forever. It is no truer than in eastern North Carolina where Democratic Party dominance reaches down to the proverbial local dog catcher. Even in non-partisan local elections, Democrats have been guilty of political favoritism, cronyism, nepotism and gerrymandering.

In the last 40 years, North Carolina has tended to vote conservative on a national level. Our current two U.S. senators and six members of our congressional delegation are conservative Republicans. Only twice since the mid-‘60s has North Carolina defected from the Republican candidate in a presidential election: in 1964 when they went with Lyndon Johnson, and in 1976 when the Tar Heel state supported Jimmy Carter.

Support for Republican congressional representatives and some statewide GOP candidates followed. In 1984 and 1988, when first Ronald Reagan and then George H. W. Bush swept to huge victories in the south, former Republican Congressman and then North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Jim Martin rode their coattails to victory.

When Republican presidential candidates do well here, there generally is a significant degree of success by Republicans all the way down the ticket. A big win by John McCain in 2008 could bode very well for the North Carolina Republican Party. That would be good news here for Republicans and Democrats. Here’s why:

Government at every level generally functions better with a two-party system. In Washington, the Republican majority in Congress was ousted in 2006 when it lost sight of its conservative roots, became reckless spenders, and had its own share of scandals. When one party holds the reigns of power with absolute dominance for a prolonged period of time, they’re ripe for unethical behavior and corruption. With minimal representation from the opposition, the party sitting on the throne of power can do as it wishes with only a muted response from the other side of the aisle.

Parliamentary procedure is often used to stifle voices of those with a dissenting view, enabling the majority to ram through its legislative agenda. There is little chance for a veto or an override to defeat a wasteful spending proposal or an excessive earmark. The minority party that could provide the necessary checks and balances of good government is emasculated by the party holding absolute power.

Nowhere is this truer today than in the North Carolina General Assembly. Democrats hold a 12 seat advantage over Republicans in the Senate and a 16 seat advantage in the House. In fact the only time in 100 years the Republicans have controlled the House was from 1994-98. In that same period of time Republicans have never controlled the Senate. As a result many of those from the “ruling party” have become lazy. Arrogant. They have little fear of being challenged. Their jobs are safe. It’s the people they purport to fairly represent that suffer. Contracts are given to cronies.

In Raleigh, a handful of Democratic politicians set the agenda and control how, when and where tax dollars are spent by keeping their fellow legislative minions in tow. For those counties without powerful representation in Raleigh, well, they get what’s left over – maybe.

And still the misconduct continues.

In January, three North Carolina Department of Transportation employees were convicted of accepting kickbacks from contractors. Former Democratic House Speaker Jim Black is serving five years in prison for political corruption and was ordered by the court to pay $1.1 million in fines and restitution charges. Former state Democratic Rep. Frank Balance is serving time for conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering.

Former Democratic Secretary of Agriculture Meg Scott Phipps, daughter of former Democratic Gov. Bob Scott, was released from prison last year after being convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges, including fraud, conspiracy and witness tampering. State Rep. Thomas Wright, a Democrat from Wilmington, faces six felony charges, including accusations that he took $9,000 from a charity he founded, claiming it was repayment for his “sweat equity.”

Conservative values that the majority of North Carolinians want represented in our state legislature are being tossed aside for personal political gain. Conservatives, both Democrats and Republicans cannot afford to let this cancer continue to go unchecked.

Polls have shown that fiscal restraint, traditional family values, smaller and more transparent and efficient government and above all honesty are what the voters of North Carolina expect from their elected officials. In November we’ll have a choice. We can either continue to reelect a majority of the incumbent Democrats whose absolute control of the General Assembly has led to corruption and scandal, or we can elect the best candidates from both parties to help insure that the interests of all North Carolinians are advanced and implemented with fairness and integrity.

While some may debate whether the two party system of government in America is still relevant and effective, there is one thing on which there should be no debate. One party rule has been bad for the people of our state depriving us the quality in government that honest tax paying citizens deserve.

This November let’s bring control of our state government back where it belongs – to the people.

The other result of this overwhelming control of government by one party is the bizarre reaction of people who believe the criticism by the party in power when it constantly blames the party out of control. Four years ago there was a gentleman on TV who was asked about our school system. His response was that we had to elect a Democrat because "the Republicans have destroyed our schools".

How can he think that? How did a party that has had only two governors and one 4 year period of control of a single house during the last 100 years do anything of significance to cause our numerous problems? Schools are politicized beyond belief by being dominated by Democrats. The problems in schools are caused by Democrats overwhelming support of the education unions. Yet many in the populace believe what this man believes. Somehow, without ever being in control, Republicans have caused the problems. Bizarre is the only word I can think of.


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