So I was about halfway through my interview with Marge Carpenter, candidate for NC's House District 119, when I realized that I had heard some version of her answers and ideas just two days before, from Ken McKim, candidate for the NC Senate District 50. Both are Republicans.
Then I saw this article (http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061003/OPINION03/61002046&SearchID=7325934...) in the AC-T. It is by Eric Gorny, Republican challenger to Asheville Rep. Bruce Goforth. Same basic talking points.
Really there are only two of them -
1. N.C. is the highest-taxed state in the Southeast. The tax-and-spend liberals are putting undue burden on our small businesses and struggling middle class.
There are a number of problems with this statement. First, N.C. may be the highest-taxed state in the Southeast, but in the country, it is one of the lowest. Also, where is all this assistance for disaster relief, low-income housing, education, broadband development et al going to come from if we cut taxes? Inquiring minds want to know.
2. Immigration, immigration, immigration. Here's where it gets really curious - both Carpenter and McKim used the phrase "Big heart, heavy hand" in some variation when speaking about what N.C. can do about the massive problem of illegal immigration. I later saw it in one of Carpenter's promotional mailings, so McKim could have conceivably picked it up from them, but I think that mailing was sent out after our interview.
And, even though I said there were only two, here's a third, which didn't pop up in Gorny's article, but which was shared by Carpenter, McKim, and the curious Chris Gowan.
3. Nobody cares about the mountains in Raleigh.
For evidence of this statement, our candidates cited flood relief, which they said was too slow in coming and not enough for what was needed. The only problem with this statement is that it is flat wrong - Haywood County alone got $46 million in relief, and the whole of WNC got something close to $500 million. Politicians, be they Republican or Democrat, were falling all over themselves to bring checks West after Ivan struck in 2004. And by and large, they succeeded.
1 and 2 can be traced here - http://www.jwpcivitasinstitute.org/ The conservative Civitas Institute has decided, from its research, that immigration and high taxes are the issues du jour for the upcoming election. I bet you could hear Republicans from Bryson City to Pasquetank talking up the same stuff.
Personally, I think these are "scare" issues. The fact is, immigration is a federal issue. What little can be done on the state level has already been done (deny driver's licenses), and that was done by Democrats, and personally I think that was a bad idea to begin with. Taxes - come on. We live in an age of ballooning deficits and social programs being slashed down the middle. This is not the time or place to talk tax cuts.
This isn't to say that Carpenter or McKim don't know what they're talking about. McKim even has a good chance of winning - the 50th is a gerrymandered Republican district, though incumbent Dem John Snow has been particularly effective as a freshman. Both Republicans are good people, interesting to talk to, and highly knowledgeable. I just think its interesting that they're saying the same thing, and feel it should be brought to light.
For the record, Marge Carpenter denied any such agenda. She said she's done her own research, using Civitas and the John Locke Foundation, among other things.