Lead with Mind, not Chin | Beaufort County Now | Roy Cooper is an experienced and capable politician. So far, his approval ratings are fine | Governor Cooper,Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Lead with Mind, not Chin

    Publisher's note: This article appeared on John Hood's daily column in the Carolina Journal, which, because of Author / Publisher Hood, is linked to the John Locke Foundation.

    Roy Cooper is an experienced and capable politician. So far, his approval ratings are fine. But he's hardly made of iron, or even Teflon. Inviting easy attacks on him is foolish. And in recent weeks, foolish is precisely the right description of the strategy the governor's political team and partisan allies have pursued.

    Understandably giddy about recovering the governor's mansion in 2016, the North Carolina Democratic Party has been looking for "good news" stories to characterize Cooper's first year in office. "NC sees recent flurry of economic expansion thanks to Gov. Cooper," a party news release claimed in late December. "The 'Jobs Governor' has been hard at work advocating for our state and its citizens and our local economies since taking office."

    Oh? If Roy Cooper is our "Jobs Governor," why has job creation slowed down under his administration?

    According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, North Carolina added 75,000 net new jobs in 2017. Every new job is welcome, naturally, but North Carolina added 94,000 jobs in 2016, 101,000 jobs in 2015, and 95,000 jobs in 2014.

    Expressed as an annual rate of employment growth, North Carolina's gain of 1.7 percent in 2017 is a drop from the 2.2 percent rate in 2016. In fact, it is the lowest growth rate since 2011. Employment growth rates for the nation as a whole and the Southeastern region were also lower in 2017 than in 2016, but the drop wasn't as pronounced as it was in our state.

    Another standard measure of economic performance is gross domestic product. The data lag a bit more, but through the first nine months of 2017, North Carolina's annualized, inflation-adjusted growth rate was just 1.6 percent, compared to an average of 2.4 percent for the nation and 2.3 percent for the Southeast.

    Once again, that represents a markedly lower rate of growth during Cooper's first year than the rates North Carolina experienced during Pat McCrory's tenure as governor, when real GDP growth usually outpaced the national and regional averages. Indeed, in 2016 North Carolina's real GDP surged by 2.9 percent, vs. a national average of 1.8 percent and regional average of 1.9 percent.

    I'm not saying McCrory was personally responsible for all of North Carolina's superior performance in past years, or that Cooper is personally responsible for all of North Carolina subpar performance in 2017. Governors aren't that powerful. What I am saying is that there is no justification for the claim that North Carolina is growing faster and creating more jobs under Cooper.

    Another unforced error came last week when the governor announced, finally, that his administration would issue permits to allow the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through Eastern North Carolina. Because the process took so long, hard-left opponents of the pipeline had reason to hope Cooper would say no. They were furious when he decided (correctly) to say yes.

    In an attempt to placate them, however, Cooper made the ludicrous claim that his "goal for North Carolina is complete reliance on renewable energy" but that "[d]uring the time it takes to get us to a full renewable energy future, we will still need to rely on other fuels." No sensible person, and I mean no one, truly believes North Carolina households and businesses can be fully powered by renewables at any time in the foreseeable future.

    What's worse, the governor accompanied the pipeline permit and his flight of fancy with a "memorandum of understanding" that the power companies would pay $58 million into an escrow account - out of which the Cooper administration will spend funds, by executive order and discretion, on "mitigation," "economic development," and "renewable energy projects" outside the General Assembly's constitutional authority over appropriations.

    Back in the 1990s, when Roy Cooper was a powerful state senator, legislative leaders abused the budget process with slush funds. Coercing private companies to finance a new slush fund is recklessly foolish. The governor and his team should be leading with their minds, not Cooper's chin.


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Mairead McArdle writes for National Review Online about one high-profile Republican senator’s response to the second impeachment of Donald Trump.
A Texas man who took part in the Capitol riots earlier this month has been hit with new charges related to him allegedly threatening to “assassinate” the radically liberal Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Today, America's second Fake Impeachment of Donald J. Trump, just days before he leaves office, may speak more about those Impeaching the President than he who is indicted.
Days after leaving office, former President Donald Trump has reportedly floated the idea of forming his own political party.
On Monday night, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that his battle to keep the Senate filibuster in place had been won.
We will offer this allotment of three with more to come; some old, most new, but all quite informative, and, moreover, necessary to understanding that in North Carolina, there is a wiser path to govern ourselves and our People.


Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Republican Senator John McCain, has broken her silence after being censored by the Arizona GOP for supporting Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the last presidential election.
In a letter the local directors spell out the shortcomings of the state's mismanagement of the supply of vaccines
N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein wants lawmakers to use millions won from a settlement with Dish Network for violating telemarketing laws to expand internet access for students, but legislative leaders are so far non-committal on the proposal.
Vivek Saxena reports for BizPac Review about the reaction among unions to President Biden‘s first actions in office.
The Supreme Court tossed two lawsuits accusing former President Donald Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution on Monday, ending a roughly four-year legal battle over the former president’s businesses.


So much is made of the Cancel Culture, which is as real as Trump Derangement Syndrome; however, the Impeachment Culture, as an offshoot of this Cancel Culture, has NOW won the day for the religiously Woke.


Back to Top