Thursday, June 26, 2008

NCGOP E-Letter - June 26, 2008


"Freedom" -- featuring Ronald Reagan's wisdom, Fred Thompson's narration and John McCain's vision for our future -- lays out the stakes on Election Day and was the feature video for the 2008 National Republican Senatorial Committee President's Dinner.

Dole supports lifting ban on offshore drilling

By Mike Baker
The News & Observer
June 26, 2008

RALEIGH - Sen. Elizabeth Dole said North Carolina should have the option of allowing oil exploration off the state's coast, backing away from her long-held support of a federal moratorium on Atlantic drilling.

In a statement Wednesday to The Associated Press, Dole said she supports lifting a 27-year-old moratorium that has prohibited exploration off the North Carolina coast.

"Now, more than ever, responsible and practical steps are needed to increase our energy independence and strengthen economic and national security," Dole said.

The Republican, facing re-election for the first time, said the option should be available to states so long as the exploration is safe, clean and not visible from land. She plans to sign on to a GOP measure allowing states to open areas at least 50 miles off their shorelines to exploration that could bring in extra revenue for the states.

For years, Dole had supported the ban on oil exploration, saying it was necessary to protect tourism and marine habitat.

"There is no question that now, more than ever, we must work to end our dependence on foreign oil," Dole said in a 2005 floor speech. "But we cannot do so by ignoring the wishes and economic needs of the majority of the people of North Carolina, and many other coastal states, who oppose this exploration."

But as gas prices have passed $4 a gallon, Dole has increasingly softened her stance on offshore exploration. She said at a forum with Democratic rival Kay Hagan last weekend that she still opposed the idea but would consider a measure if it came across her desk.

Hagan, like fellow Democrats in Congress, opposes the offshore drilling plan.

Republicans, including presidential candidate John McCain, have said offshore drilling could help the nation ease its dependence on foreign oil and provide short-term relief to gas prices. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has opposed the idea. …

Click here for the full article…

Rating The First Debate

By John Hood
Carolina Journal Online
June 23, 2008

RALEIGH – Political experience differs as much in kind as in amount – a point clearly illustrated by the first candidate forum of the 2008 governor’s race. Beverly Perdue and Pat McCrory are both experienced politicians, but McCrory came to Saturday’s North Carolina Bar Association event in Atlantic Beach ready to speak, via television, to North Carolina voters. Perdue came ready to speak to the relatively small audience of lawyers, reporters, and dignitaries in attendance.

The difference was striking, and not to Perdue’s benefit. …

At Saturday’s forum, McCrory was comfortable, relaxed, smooth, and folksy. He led off his performance by contrasting the fantasy of speedy investigations and satisfying resolutions on CSI and Law & Order to the reality of overworked beat cops and underfunded crime labs trying to clear cases in North Carolina. He ended with an extended and funny Andy Griffth Show riff that also contrasted fiction and reality. (I felt like having a “big Orange drink” afterward.) …

At Saturday’s forum, Perdue at times seemed uncomfortable, anxious, and off-balance. She made joking reference to reporters and other individuals in the room that most of the audience watching at home wouldn’t have understood. She referred repeatedly to what “y’all know” about her record, a questionable choice given that most North Carolina voters probably don’t know much about her record. The assumed personal familiarity sounded odd and egotistical. In both the opening and closing statements, she also clumsily stated strident opposition to school vouchers, an issue that hasn’t come up yet in the campaign and didn’t during the forum itself. …

The fact that Perdue made her silly voucher attack Saturday told me two things: 1) she and her campaign team are far more worried about the McCrory candidacy than they let on publicly, and 2) she is a candidate largely unschooled in the art of televised debate against a capable opponent.

Perdue still has important advantages. Having spent the better part of three decades in Raleigh, she has a grasp of policy detail and will rarely be stumped for an answer to any question about state government. And the ability to perform in public forums and debates isn’t as critical in modern campaigning as performing well in broadcast ads and raising money to finance them, like it or not.

Still, it shows how experience in one political arena doesn’t necessarily translate well to another political arena. Pat McCrory actually reminded me, stylistically, of Mike Easley, minus the Eastern NC drawl and programmatic rhyming. Beverly Perdue came across as a state legislator trying to establish her credibility as a candidate for higher office. Shouldn’t she have already done that eight years ago?

It was a stumble, albeit in a race with a long, long stretch of track still to traverse.

Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation.

Click here for the full article…

Basnight, Boseman, Jenkins Lacking Moral Compass

RALEIGH—With new instances of Democrat corruption and conflicts of interest in the General Assembly making the news everyday, it is not difficult to see that the Democrat leadership in state government has lost its way.

“State Sen. Clark Jenkins, the primary sponsor of a bill that would allow wider boats and longer, heavier trucks on North Carolina highways, is an owner of a marina near Nags Head that claims on its Web site to be the fastest-growing new fishing marina in the state.

Jenkins, a Tarboro Democrat, said he didn't disclose his interest in Broad Creek Fishing Center & Marina when he shepherded his bill through two Senate committees because it wasn't necessary.

‘I don't have a conflict of interest, in my opinion,’ Jenkins said in an interview Tuesday. …

Sen. Marc Basnight, president pro tem of the Senate, said he agrees with Jenkins and added: ‘I don't see how it benefits him. It benefits the person pulling the boat.’” (Stith, Pat, “Boat bill sponsor is marina owner,” The News & Observer, June 25, 2008

Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:

“Apparently, Marc Basnight doesn’t see a lot of things. He didn’t see a conflict of interest when Clark Jenkins introduced legislation that would directly increase his profit margin for his privately-owned business. He didn’t see a problem with being a guest at Julia Boseman’s fundraiser at the home of a convicted felon this week. He didn’t see Republican opposition to the Democrat budget because he silences Republicans before they can even engage in meaningful debate. The myopia of Marc Basnight and the Democrat leadership in North Carolina has caused enough problems for our state and its citizens. We need new and better vision in state government. Basnight and the Democrat leadership have consistently failed their eye exams.”

FROM THE BLOG: On the issues: Windfall profits tax

By Chris McClure
Executive Director, North Carolina Republican Party
June 23, 2008

Not one dime. That is how much savings you can expect at the pump if Democrats succeed in implementing a windfall profits tax. Not one dime. In fact, we already have tried a windfall profits tax implemented during the Carter administration. How did that work out? Well, it resulted in less domestic production and an energy crisis. There were long lines and higher prices at the pump. In short, it was a disaster. It is no wonder why North Carolina hasn’t voted for a Democrat for President since then.

If it is a proven failure, why propose it at all then? Because by doing so you give the appearance of doing something without actually doing anything to lower prices at the pump. Democrats don’t want lower gas prices. They never have. For the sake of forced conservation or increased revenue, Democrats have consistently opposed decreasing taxes on gas. Just ask Kay Hagan and the Democrat leadership in the General Assembly what they have done during her stint in office to lower gas prices for North Carolinians paying the price at the pump. As gas prices go up, so do taxes and nothing has been done to stop it. So now Democrats go back to the tried and true class warfare rhetoric and attack Big Oil as the evil entity guilty of ruining American lives and bottom lines. You’ll notice there is no talk of how much the government is taking in from taxes on each gallon of gasoline. There is no offer of giving up a little bit of their share to make the lives of North Carolina families just a little easier this summer. Punishing big oil companies might seem just or feel right but it won’t lower gas prices one dime. In fact, it will almost certainly cause us to pay even more at the pump. This is truly a “solution” we can’t afford.

Meanwhile, Democrats are united in their opposition to finding any way to increase domestic production and exploration. The new Democrat talking point is, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem.” Of course, no one is saying we can. Republicans have advocated drilling in places like ANWR as a temporary solution while we release American industry and ingenuity to make us completely independent from foreign oil forever. Democrats say we won’t be able to get oil from these places for five years. Well, we won’t be driving cars that use only alternative fuels in five years either but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start working on the technology. Barack Obama’s proposal for lowering energy prices is the familiar windfall profits tax and suing OPEC. So let me get this straight. We can’t drill our way out of this problem, but we can tax and litigate our way out of it. This is utter nonsense. Here is the truth. Democrats are against increasing domestic production because they are held captive by powerful environmental lobbies and special interests. They will put their agendas over the needs of North Carolina consumers no matter how desperate times get. Democrats want high oil prices. They always have.

Rally lures 1,000 conservatives

By Ryan Teague Beckwith
The News & Observer
June 26, 2008

RALEIGH - A group of nearly 1,000 conservative activists vowed Wednesday to "take back" North Carolina in this fall's elections at a rally in front of the Legislative Building.

Sponsored by the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity, the rally promoted a mix of conservative and libertarian causes, focusing on reducing state spending, protecting private property rights and adding to the state constitution a ban on same-sex marriage.

The keynote speaker, former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, mostly eschewed politicking to share folksy anecdotes about Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. …

Dole briefly mentioned the re-election campaign of his wife, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, while reminiscing about his own career in the Senate.

"I've never been before the Ethics Committee, and, I can guarantee you, Elizabeth's never been before the Ethics Committee," he said to loud cheers. Later, he added, "I know this is a nonpartisan event, but I do hope you'll take a good look at Elizabeth."

Other Republican candidates for state office were not as shy in their turns at the podium.

Robert Pittenger, a former state senator who is running for lieutenant governor, said the Democratic majority in the state Senate has essentially overruled the GOP minority, especially during recent budget negotiations.

"There's less freedom of speech in the North Carolina Senate than there is the Russian Duma," he said, referring to that country's lower house of parliament.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory vowed to change the culture of Raleigh -- even

In a 10-minute speech, McCrory pledged to address the problem of "local, national and international gangs," direct transportation spending to congested roads, and reduce the state's high school dropout rate.

Most of all, he promised to "change the culture" of Raleigh, saying it's been ruled by "four or five power elites."

"You've got to have a governor that you see -- not just at election time, but after the election is over," he said.

Click here for the full article…