Apparently, when Democrats don't like the amount of power that voters have given to them, they just change the rules to increase the scope of their power. Two developments from the last week illustrate this point.
First, Senator Doug Berger (D-Franklin) introduces a bill to take authority away from the elected Commissioner of Labor when it comes to the state's occupational safety and health program. Could the fact that the current Commissioner of Labor is Republican Cherie Berry have factored into Berger's decision? Probably. Could the fact that Berger ran unsuccessfully against Berry eight years ago have something to do with his newfound interest in taking authority from her? It seems likely. Memo to Doug Berger: To borrow a phrase from President Obama: She won. That means voters wanted her to do the job, not for you to take her authority away and give it to Democrat Governor Beverly Perdue.
Where else do we elect positions only to give all of that position's authority to the Governor? That's right. Education. At least, as of last week we do. Last week, Governor Perdue "shook up" the educational establishment by appointing a chief educational bureaucrat, Cumberland County Schools head Bill Harrison, to manage the N.C. Department of Education. She said at the time, "This is the most important job in North Carolina. He literally has North Carolina's future in his hands." But that's precisely the point. We elected someone to have education in their hands. Thanks to the taxpayer-financed elections system, we actually paid for the election of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Now that person has no authority, nothing to do, and is reduced to the patronizing position of "ambassador." This comes just as a new report out today shows that North Carolina ranks just 30th in the nation despite increased spending over the last several years and as we continue to face down the problem of one in three North Carolina students failing to graduate high school. Someone will be held accountable for the future of education in North Carolina and that someone will be Governor Perdue.