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Whenever I’m asked about the impact of bloggers on politics, I point to Joe (The Sledgehammer) Sinsheimer. This week, largely because of Sinsheimer, another protruding legislative nail got pounded.

A Wake County grand jury indicted state Rep. Thomas E. Wright, a Democrat, on five felony charges of swindling banks, corporations and campaign contributors out of more than $350,000.

Wright became a target for investigators after Sinsheimer raised questions about his campaign finances. The Sledgehammer happened on all that when he was raising alarms about Jim Black on his website.

Who is Sinsheimer’s next target?

It may be Speaker Joe Hackney. For political – not ethical – reasons.

As two Charlotte Observer reporters wrote in The News & Observer:

Sinsheimer wondered whether House Speaker Joe Hackney, a Chapel Hill Democrat, will show “the political courage and moral will” to try to expel Wright.

The Speaker’s response was tone-deaf: “I look forward to continuing to move ahead and doing the people’s business in a way that will make them proud.”

With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, that won’t cut it.

The scandals may not threaten Hackney’s majority in the House. But they could tarnish his legacy.

The hardest thing to do in politics is clean the nest when your friends and allies foul it.

That’s the leadership test Joe Hackney faces. And the Sledgehammer won’t let him off the hook.


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