At some point in the next two weeks the Democrats in Raleigh will hold a caucus to discuss the issues surrounding Speaker Jim Black. Four Democrats have called for Black to either resign his post or step down from his leadership position.
The caucus is not out of the ordinary. Julie Robinson, Black's Communications Director, said it is commonly held before every session. However, this caucus will probably be a little more heated than those held in the past.
The real question is below the fold
The Charlotte Observer has an article this morning and it's hard to tell which way the House Dems will go on this issue. First there's this quote:
"A lot of people are asking the question, `What will happen?' but almost nobody with a plan," said Rep. Bill Faison, an Orange County Democrat who said Black should stay in office. Faison said, though, that the controversies surrounding Black's office make it "improbable" that Black can win another term as speaker.
Nobody has a plan? That's encouraging. That was followed by a quote from another Representative.
"I've heard a variety of scenarios," said Rep. Lucy Allen of Franklin County, "but I feel like in the end, the caucus is going to come behind him."
Are you hearing a little uncertainty in the words of these two Representatives? Only four have called for Black to step down and that's not a huge number. There has to be something behind the lack of a groundswell in the numbers calling for Black's resignation. Do they know something we don't? I had expected a pile-on and for a few days that's what it looked like would happen. So far, it has not.
Don't expect miracles from this caucus. The article also goes on to say that some members fear a power void if Black steps down. For details on what that might entail just take a quick look at the complete disarray of the Republican Party in Washington since Tom DeLay stepped down.
EJ Dionne of The Washington Post has more on this. Read the article. It's a good one. Then step back and look at the men and women in Raleigh. Who would make a good speaker? Which of those serving now has shown a commitment to putting the citizens of North Carolina first? Who has already shown leadership qualities that make them stand out - not just in Raleigh, but in their personal lives. Who can fill that void and rally the other House Democrats to follow their lead? It isn't a question of who wants to lead in Raleigh, but who is best prepared for the job. Maybe that should be our focus before we oust Jim Black.