Besse, Dalton, Dellinger and Cliffside

As most of us in the audience in Asheville presumed, this is the segment of the afternoon upon which the press coverage of the first Lt. Governors debate has focused. I think it's important for everyone to see the unexpurgated exchange.

Dan Besse coins a priceless term here: the "Twisted Incentive". Dan had the unenviable experience of watching this summer as the State Legislature overturned a law he wrote in 1982 which applied oversight to the financing of new power plants. The loophole opened by the missing statute provides a "twisted incentive" for new construction to proceed and thus: a new coal burning power plant for Cliffside.


Since I don't watch local media....

what was their take on this exchange?

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Great video, BD. Thank you.

We're in the electonics age, says Walter. Hmmmm. We're also in the Internet age, so how come you haven't stopped by the leading political website in the state?

The list of hot issues for statewide races could be a long one. Cliffside is now one of them. So is Blackwater.

Thanks for posting this

I wish they'd given Pat a chance to chime in on the Cliffside issue. I believe the College Dems are tweaking the debate rule that resulted in his exclusion.

Cliffside issue

Besse seems disappointed that he's not alone on this issue. Kudos to Dellinger for shining light on the Cliffside issue, and for highlighting Dalton's position (which, by the way, Dalton didn't do a good job of defending).

I can see how you might have gotten that impression

since it is so frustrating, as a candidate, to see another candidate raising his voice for the first time on an issue during the campaign, after he chose to sit out an earlier key decision point on that issue.

Hampton, Pat, and I express similar views on this important issue (Cliffside and new coal plants). In the context of a campaign debate, then, I believe that it's appropriate to raise the question of who has actively worked to put those policies into effect. I know that I have, and in the debate explained how.

Hampton's reply regarding the Clean Smokestacks Act does not answer the challenge I posed to him. If the Clean Smokestacks Act prohibited the construction of the proposed new Cliffside plant, we would not be having this debate today.

Instead, Walter Dalton's point about the Cliffside pollutants was technically correct. The new unit will emit substantially less sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides than the existing ones, which it will replace. Those are the pollutants that the Clean Smokestacks Act addressed.

Hampton's point that the new unit will double the carbon dioxide emissions is also correct, and is one of the principal reasons we should oppose the new unit. However, the Clean Smokestacks Act did not limit CO2 emissions--which is why his reference to that act in response to my challenge was factually irrelevant.

Instead, the passage of last year's energy bill was the most critical moment on this current issue of new coal power plant construction. That energy bill, with Senator Dalton's support, included changes to NC's utility financing laws which provide dramatic new incentives for coal and nuclear plant construction. I and other environmental advocates fought hard against the inclusion of those incentives in the bill. We predicted exactly this result--new impetus for the construction of unnecessary and polluting plants like Cliffside.

Hampton chose then not to participate in that debate. Either he did not understand the issue, or he simply chose not to get involved. He had the opportunity yesterday to explain which, and declined. He will have more opportunities to explain as the campaign goes forward.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse

Fair point, but

Mr. Besse,

First of all, thank you or offering yourself to the voters of North Carolina. That takes a lot of guts, for anyone, and I appreciate that. Second, let me complement you on your lifetime of advocacy for the environment. I appreciate that as well.

Now, having said that, please allow me the liberty of giving what blogging gives best - constructive criticism from quarters you didn't know existed and probably never expected to hear from. I met you last year at the JJ dinner in Wake County when Congressman Emmanuel spoke. I enjoyed speaking with you. So let me say this in the spirit of our common Democratic perspective:

"I was right first, neener neener!" does not make a very good campaign slogan.

Your criticism of Mr. Dellinger amounts to that. What you are in essence saying is that because Hampton did not focus last year on the exact issue you were focusing on, his current agreement with you is somehow insincere or irrelevant. By doing that, of course, you are belittling those efforts he was making - on elder healthcare, waste in government, public beach access, and protecting the Blue Ridge Parkway. By the same token, you seek to undermine his current positions on a number of issues, by saying that because you were vocal in your opinion first, you are the more sincere candidate.

I find that attitude intriguing, but not becoming of someone who wants to build a progressive consensus. Let's assume, for the purpose of argument only, that Hampton has changed his mind on Cliffside and now agrees with you when he didn't last year. I don't think that is the case, but let's assume it for argument's sake.

You are now in essence saying that the consensus you and he now have on the proper stance for Cliffside is illegitimate. How are you going to convince the rest of the state that your positions on various issues are correct if you show a willingness to delegitimize the opinion of anyone whose mind you change?

Although I do not know for certain, it is possible that Hampton's employment by a law firm had something to do with which issues he was publicly involved with over the last few years. Professional obligations and ethics can at times hamper a person's individual political efforts. It has happened to me as well. You're an attorney, I am sure you can appreciate that. It would be less than fair to assume a person is not telling the truth about his personal political opinion unless you had reason to doubt his sincerity. If you have such reason to doubt Hampton, then you should so state it. If not, then you need to reconsider your approach.

But, if you see your path to the nomination being blocked by Hampton Dellinger, then by all means, continue to do what you believe best to overcome him. We'll see if it works. But it's just odd that you would spend your time focusing on the guy who most agrees with you while leaving the architect of several heinous Senate budgets unremarked upon.



"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


Besse wasnt criticizing Dellinger's new found position. He was criticizing the arrogant attacks of Dellinger upon Dalton.

Lets go through this.
A bill comes up.
Dan works hard for the best environmental standards possible.
Dalton votes the wrong way.
A year later, Dellinger attacks Dalton for said vote.
Dellinger says that he is a better choice because Dalton voted the wrong way, and he is right now.
Besse says, you were silent when you had the chance to affect the vote. Why didnt you say something when you could have had an effect?

And what is Dellinger's response? "But but I was busy with all these other issues". If he cant multi-task why should I vote for him?

As for leaving Dalton untouched, Dellinger already said Dalton was wrong. What else was Besse supposed to say? Yeah, I agree with you, Dalton was wrong. Oh wait, he did say that, because he brought up why he worked so hard to try and get the senate to vote differently.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

The very first part of this video

The very first part of this video is the reason why I have put Dellinger as my distant third choice.

I dont believe in building myself up by putting others down

That is what he says. Except he has come here multiple times, and even in that very video, built himself up by mentioning the faults of Dalton. Personally I think that is great, because Dalton's record certainly has enough to criticize. But to take a holier than thou attitude about it, well, thats old school politics at its worst.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

For crying out loud

When did Democrats in this state forget how to run campaigns? You don't get to run for office unopposed. You don't "earn" your nomination by past service. You earn it by beating other candidates. And you don't beat other candidates by playing nicey nice "I agree with you more than you agree with me."

And comparing records is not tearing down. Tearing down is negative campaigning. Personal attacks and innuendo. Jesse Helms politics. Comparing and contrasting records is the way it is supposed to be done. Hampton has been respectful and very patiently polite with Walter Dalton. But he hasn't backed off. Nor should he. If a candidate is ashamed of his record so much that having that record mentioned amounts to an attack, then perhaps (a) he shouldn't have voted that way, (b) he shouldn't be running or (c) he should grow a thicker skin.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I agree

When did Democrats in this state forget how to run campaigns? You don't get to run for office unopposed. You don't "earn" your nomination by past service. You earn it by beating other candidates. And you don't beat other candidates by playing nicey nice "I agree with you more than you agree with me."

I agree with you. If his campaign's actions are any indication, so does Hampton. But his words make it seem like he is going to be 100 percent positive and only talk about why he is the right choice. Those words do not match up with his actions.

You can quible over what it means to tear down another candidate. I dont care how its defined. He looks like a big giant hypocrite in the video.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

There is nothing wrong with Hampton attacking Dalton's record.

But, Blue is absolutely correct to say that first coming out saying he wasn't going to attack, then attacking, made him look hypocritical. I like how Edwards handles this, saying that they all deserve to have their votes and positions scrutinized because they are running for a very important office.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Democrats in this state

have "traditionally" decided who was going to win the primary behind closed doors. Then they quietly got the word out to all the county and precinct chairs who knew that if they didn't bring home their precinct or county for the chosen one, they wouldn't get state jobs to hand out for the next four years.

Democrats have never known how to run a real campaign. At least not in the 17 years I lived there. I've seen more energy put into bullying the other guy into not running than in any actual campaigning. That's why Democrats better watch out for the Graham/Fezter/Stephens/McHorny gang coming up on the inside.
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Looked like the end of an old western on TV

You know when the cowboys get real tall because they're squeezing the picture to fit the widescreen titles onto your TV set? It's supposed to be widescreen. It'll be back shortly...

And actually, Luke Hyde won.

I see great things in moderator Luke Hyde's future. On task, with the insightful transition statements, keeping things flowing...

Wayne Goodwin? Are you watching this? Don't bring no weak game to the Fayetteville debate...

Again, here is Dan Besse's closing statement and Luke Hyde's send-off.

"I believe that we need someone with experience both in the growing urban regions of our state and the rural areas. Hands on experience in addressing the very different problems that you deal with in the areas of our cities where the economy is booming and the areas of our countryside where businesses are closing and we're falling further behind.

I have the real-world, hands-on experience in both...We need that combination."

Dan Besse

Game on, Bullydoc ...

Bullydoc, in response to your friendly challenge to me for the Fayetteville debate: Do know that Luke Hyde is a good friend of mine, and he did a very good job as moderator for the Asheville debate (as many of us would expect). ... I'm ready for Fayetteville and the 8th District's version of the Lt Gov debate in my own special way, and I'll stake my years of moderating debates and town meetings over the last 15 years on it. Time to rock and roll!

Seriously, though, I reiterate my pride and appreciation for the work done by the College Democrats (and YDs) in making all these 2008 debates possible. The College Dems should be heralded by all of us for being leaders in educating voters about the candidates for Lt. Governor. With the impetus of the College Dems' debates, each Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor is able to make his case to the people and do so more than they could in a 30-second TV or radio commercial.

I hope you and many others will join us in the 8th District both at the Fayetteville debate and then a couple of days later in Hamlet for the Jan 26th State Exec Committee meeting!

Excellent, Wayne!

I was thrilled to hear that you were moderating the Fayetteville debate! The College Dems sponsorship of this series is truly remarkable and their great work keeps revealing itself, including in their choice of moderators.

I seriously can't imagine what this little ol' race would have done without them...

Break a leg!


(Aside to Betsy: "Break a Leg" is an old stage term. I am not, in fact or inference, encouraging our 8th district Chair to fracture any bones during the process of the execution of his duties as moderator of the aforementioned debate.)



and I thought things were just beginning to get interesting around here!'s refreshing to see a moderator praised. I think local media personalities do a pretty good job during our little televised debates here in Charlotte, but I find myself complaining about those moderating the national debates.

(Just so ya know...I'm familiar with the phrase....but I think you knew more cup of coffee should help me figure that out)

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

having Wayne as the Moderator

is just another reason I'm excited to be going to see the debate in Fayetteville. I haven't seen him moderate a debate, but I'm betting he'll have a good handle on the issues and be able to steer the conversation in a productive way.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi