Having reported, discussed and written about North Carolina for 58 years I increasingly find myself responding to happenings by asking the question, "What's your end game? What are you trying to accomplish?
Consider this: Thom Tillis, a Republican conservative with a pedigree longer than my Boykin Spaniel, was censured by the North Carolina Republican Party because he dared work with Democrats -Democrats I say- seeking solutions for immigration, gay rights and other matters. Foolish me. I thought we elected people to go to Washington to get things done and Tillis has increasingly demonstrated he can and will, but it seems the end game of the state GOP is you get love ONLY if you sing from the GOP songbook.
NC GOP what did you expect was going to result from your censure? Did you think our Senior Senator was going to fall on his knees in contrition, beg forgiveness for "consorting with the enemy"
and, as penance, travel all around our state next year campaigning for your candidates? If so, you don't know Thom Tillis very well. Prediction: their petulant action will come back to bite state Republicans.
And what is the end-game expectation for all those folks running for the Republican nomination for President? I don't understand new math, but even I know that "The Donald"
is going to get upwards of 40 percent of the primary votes from his cult. Remembering my third-grade division tables, all the other wannabes will divide up the remaining votes, resulting in Trump winning state primary after primary and cake walking into the nomination. Is that what they all really want to happen? Sounds like good news for Joe Biden.
Ponder this: What's the end game expectation of all those (mostly on the right) doing everything imaginable to destroy our confidence and faith in just about every system imaginable? There are plenty wanting to take a wrecking ball to voting rights, our public schools, the judicial system, immigration, healthcare - you name it, they want us to lose faith in it. All of us can see flaws and things that need changing in almost every system, but what is the end game here? What will happen when people have no faith in anything? Chaos! Maybe that's what some want, but how we are going to function in chaos? Perhaps the end game is to totally wreck this country. That's a scary thought.
And lest you think my inquiries pertain just to those on the right, I want to ask both the national and state Democratic parties what is their end game? Outward appearances would convince you the Democratic Party is a train wreck, with no clue how to conceive, articulate and implement a strategy that wins for them in 2024.
Here's some unsolicited (and likely unwanted) advice. The abortion issue certainly has traction and is sure to get Democrats votes next year, but abortion alone does not a platform make. I was hopeful North Carolina's new regime of party leadership would actually get the party's act together, but when do they plan to start? We are almost at the end of June and the deadline for candidate filing in the 24 elections is December 15th. Primary elections will be held March 5th. Democrats, it's time to show your cards.
But the biggest puzzlement is what our legislative leaders plan to do when they take away every authority from the governor, the courts, all boards and commissions and just about everyone else? The power-hungry leadership appears to want the absolute and final running of our state in the hands of 170 folks - actually only the 102 Republicans. Lawmakers, is your end game that you want to make every decision in all operations of state government? Do you part-time legislators think you can run our schools, our courts, our transportation network, public health services, prisons and the many other functions of state government?
Many of us remember when the legislature decided that the State Health Plan was being poorly administrated and costing too much money, so they boldly took over its operation. They were going to show how it should be done, however after a few years, when things grew disastrously worse, they finally begged the State Treasurer to take over the State Health Plan. Lawmakers, think about this as you are dismantling and usurping complete authority of systems we spent many years constructing.
Dare I continue by asking what is the end game is for funding state government? The legislature keeps wanting to cut more and more taxes. Is there an end game strategy? Are they trying to starve government? This is like standing in front of a stove saying, "I will give you some fuel when you start providing heat."
I wish I thought there were end-game strategies, but ready, fire, aim is no way to run a government - or anything else.
Tom Campbell is a Hall of Fame North Carolina Broadcaster and columnist who has covered North Carolina public policy issues since 1965. He recently retired from writing, producing and moderating the statewide half-hour TV program NC SPIN that aired 22 1/2 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.