What are they thinking?

I don't like it when people I believed in and voted for break the law and get busted on ethics charges. It makes me even madder than when the "other side" does it because I feel betrayed. But I'm also a realist about human behavior and I know hubris is a powerful force. I understand how it happens. But this? To back off from the chance to publicly lead the charge for stronger ethics -- and possibly turn the tide of public opinion -- while also doing the right thing? I don't get it. It's unnecessarily stupid. The huge percentage of new NC voters who choose to go on the books as Unaffiliated would indicate a problem that needs addressing.

From Democracy NC's Link of the Day:

News stories and a blitz of editorials in the past week have called for tougher campaign finance and ethics laws in North Carolina. Make money laundering a felony, not a puny misdemeanor; change a law that hides violations by lobbyists; tackle secret spending by unions and corporations; adopt a raft of ethics reforms to undermine a pay-to-play culture. The News & Observer’s “going deeper” site features links to a series of memos reflecting the evolution of Governor Perdue’s recommendations for reform, dating back to December 2009. The General Assembly's "short session" begins Wednesday, but Democratic leaders in the state Senate remain resistant to many of these proposals and are reluctant to promote even better ones, including expanding the Voter-Owned Elections program to cover more offices. What’s their plan? It looks like the ostrich stance: Stick your head in the sand and hope the pending indictment of Mike Easley and voter disgust with special-interest politics will magically disappear in time for the November election. That position could yield a plunge in Democratic turnout and mass shift of Unaffiliiated voters to the Republicans.

Comments

As a real-live Unaffiliated

I agree with what you say right up to one twist on the conclusion. I can't predict what Dems will do, but those of us that are unaffiliated have our own list (we are not all alike) of things we are dissatisfied with in both parties. Hence, our choice. I don't see this making many think about becoming Republican. Nothing has changed with Republicans, unless you thought their peccadillo was not being far right enough. But I suspect an unaffiliated with that bent would lean Republican in voting regardless.

However independents that normally consider Dems on a split ticket are more likely to leave races blank when they don't like both major party candidates or vote a protest third party vote. We don't want to be rubberstamps for bad candidates. Independents that are even more cynical may consider Dem inaction on corruption to be a contributing factor in not bothering to turn out to vote at all, or skipping the local races. Some younger independents I know mark votes only in races they can research candidates thoroughly, meaning they often leave the bottom local half of the ballot blank barring personal knowledge of a candidate on a race. That fear of possibly making a vote they would regret will intensify.

It's only my second post, do I have to leave the blog now? ;)

It's only my second post, do I have to leave the blog now? ;)

Very funny.

You rightly draw distinctions within the independent movement, which as a whole is tilting more left than right these days.

I was unaffiliated for a couple of years and rejoined Dems last year in hopes of pulling them into the light. In many ways, they're already what I want ... but in some very practical ways, their operating model is offensive. My main objections are (1) corporatism and (2) corruption. Those are two of my three main objections to Republicans too. The third is their general insanity in the direction of free-market fantasy.

Welcome!

I, too, prefer no corruption or corporatism...

My main objections are (1) corporatism and (2) corruption. Those are two of my three main objections to Republicans too. The third is their general insanity in the direction of free-market fantasy.

Yes, I much prefer a command economy where there is no corporatism or corruption :-)

I see

You're one of those guys who likes to see businesses slopping at the public trough on their way to the bank. Nice.

Not sure I follow...

I'm not sure I follow you...I detest controlled economies, so I must be for the bailouts?

In a true free market, corporatism doesn't exist. Broadly speaking, corporatism is what has caused basically every bubble in our recent history. I am 100% AGAINST corporate welfare...I'm just also not for a controlled economy, which is basically a breeding ground FOR corporatism and corruption.

In a true free market economy

Assuming you don't operate under the illusion that the US economy ends at our borders, there is no such thing as a "true free market economy." Like it or not, there is a world out there and we are part of it. Do you think China or Europe are going to shift to a true free market economy, whatever that means?

Being or not-being a "true free market" is like being or not being in control. You either are or you are not. There is no such thing as "partly in control." Partly in control is exactly the same as not being in control. It is a matter of undeniable logic.

So it is with "true free market economy." In an interconnected world where the US economy is completely and inextricably tied to other national markets with significant government intervention, the idea that "true free market" can exist is nothing but delusion.

That is, of course, unless you are completely isolationist, a position that would stand in diametric opposition to your free market mania.

Again...

I think you got too hung up on my use of "true free market". Of course I was talking in the theoretical sense. An international "true" free market is unachievable, just the same as a completely controlled economy is (not that I believe that that is what progressives want...).

Just because we interact with other countries that don't operate in totally free markets doesn't change my opinion that the freer the market, the better. Businesses are never going to be allured to command economies.

It's kind of like evolution...whether or not you believe in it has no bearing on whether things (businesses in this case) conduct themselves in accordance with it.

Theoretical sense

Okay, I guess I confused about the meaning of "true free market." In a theoretical sense, I agree with you. Unfortunately, the only world we have available is not theoretical.

:)

Thanks for being a good sport.

As a real-live younger independent

I don't have any facts to back it up but I wouldn't be surprised if younger voters are more likely to skip voting or vote third party, especially in an election cycle like this one when neither party seems particularly organized. I'm personally unaffiliated because I don't see either party as easily fixable and couldn't stand being associated with much of the bullshit that goes on.

I won't be personally skipping the vote, I'm pretty excited about voting in a general election for the first time. I definitely could vote 3rd party though. And it's only a protest vote if you're positive that the 3rd party isn't the actual best choice, a requirement that isn't always fulfilled.

Sadly you won't have that choice very often

3rd party candidates have a really hard time getting on the ballot in NC. Mike Munger, candidate for Governor, did it in 2008.

Prior to May 2008, the North Carolina Libertarian Party and Munger gathered 100,000 signatures of voters in order to qualify to appear on North Carolina's ballot.

That's a high bar to cross but I believe that's a situation worth working to change, just don't expect it to change without work.

I appreciate your thoughtful reply

Thanks, Hechicera, for that thoughtful reply. It was very much appreciated , especially as it gave me some things to think about I had not considered before.

Katy Munger,
Progress North Carolina Action
www.progressncaction.org

Lead, follow or get out of the way....

Using our influence?

Can the Democratic parties in some of the counties let our elected officials know how we feel?

would citizen "encouragement" be successful in getting the elected reps in Raleigh to reconsider?

Can you tell us who the ring leaders are who are dragging their feet on this?

We can try to put pressure on them if we and others let them know we are paying attention?

TurnNCBlue

Thanks for this question,

Thanks for this question, Turn -- I'm trying to find out who it would be best to approach and will get back to you a.s.a.p.

Katy Munger,
Progress North Carolina Action
www.progressncaction.org

Lead, follow or get out of the way....

Who to pressure:

Okay, TurnNCBlue and any others willing to take action: under the theory that none of us have time to waste on unproductive effort, I tried to track down what action would do the most good in getting party leaders to get out ahead of this thing before an Easley indictment comes down.

1) I really liked your idea of having county parties pressure elected officials, maybe with an official resolution adopted at an ExCom meeting (although I would not count on the state party to pass the message along; I'd contact the district reps directly). One reason I like this idea is that I think it's the county parties and grassroots that suffer the most when ethics dominate the headlines. The big dogs and inner circle don't seem to miss a beat; for them, it's politics as usual.

2) In addition to that, it looks like the hurdle for getting a solid package of reforms through the General Assembly this year is the state Senate, where Democratic leaders think voters don’t really care that much about tackling special-interest influence (and expanding Voter-Owned Elections, which I think is central to getting new leaders in who are not tied to special interests). It seems like they hope to just pass a few minor changes, call them “ethics reform” and be done with it. So, it would be very helpful for people to contact their state Senator especially and urge them to be leaders for a strong reform package (hopefully one that includes expanding Voter-Owned Elections to address the heart of the money in politics problem). People can call the General Assembly switchboard at 919-733-4111 and ask for their Senator, or ask for Majority Leader Martin Nesbitt or Senate leader Marc Basnight to make their feelings known. You can also get contact information here.

Katy Munger,
Progress North Carolina Action
www.progressncaction.org

Lead, follow or get out of the way....