posted on June 14, 2012 10:23
The contrast between Walter Dalton’s and Pat McCrory’s messages to the NFIB this week alarmed one Democratic political veteran.
Rob Christensen wrote in the N&O that the two “painted sharply different portraits of North Carolina on Tuesday, with the Democrat saying the state was emerging from difficult times and the Republican saying the state was broken and needed fixing.”
McCrory: “We have got to fix this broken government; we have got to fix this broken economy, and we’ve got to fix the broken education system.”
Dalton: “I believe in these tough times we have to have a balanced approach. This is where some differences can be drawn.”
Here’s how my alarmed Democratic friend saw it: “More people agree with McCrory's view than Dalton's. This is going to be another change election and Dalton is staking out the status quo. McCrory is not a great candidate. He's thin-skinned and now pandering to his crazy base, but Dalton's campaign seems to be politically tone deaf.”
His critique echoes the fear Democrats nationally, like James Carville, express about President Obama’s message. They worry that Obama looks like he thinks the economy’s doing fine, which is not what Americans think.
Both Obama and Dalton have to avoid Incumbent Fever – thinking that, because they’re in office, they have to take responsibility for how things are. No; incumbents too can run for change and against the status quo.
They need a dose of what Bill Clinton used to do so well: I feel your pain, here’s why you’re feeling that pain and here’s my plan to help you.
That’s what North Carolinians and Americans are looking for this year. For all Democrats’ problems, voters are willing to give them a chance, if for no other reason that they don’t trust the extreme talk they hear from Republicans.