When you're supposed to be top dog in the pack of North Carolina political reporters, expectations can run pretty high. For example, you probably should have something that's actually interesting to say every now and then. Especially in your high-profile Sunday newspaper column the week after a majority Democratic caucus chooses its candidate for Speaker.
Okay, I admit it. I was looking forward to Rob Christensen's column this Sunday morning. Right up until I read it. With a collection of warmed-over right-wing talking points, Christensen has joined the Party of Greed echo chamber, parroting the same old same old that Republicans have been trying to scare people with for months.
The knock on Hackney can be summed up in what has become a red-state epithet: "Chapel Hill liberal." Former Sen. Jesse Helms is often quoted as saying -- wrongly attributed to him, Helms says -- that Chapel Hill should be fenced off and declared the state zoo.
But these are halcyon days for Chapel Hill liberals. One, John Edwards, is a serious candidate for president. Another, David Price, is one of the cardinals of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. A third is about to become state House speaker. A fourth, Beverly Perdue, is a leading candidate for governor.
Will Crook's Corner become the new power restaurant? Will lobbyists displace anti-war protesters on Franklin Street?
Hackney's liberal proclivities can be seen in his pro-environmental stands, his pro-choice views on abortion and his skepticism about the death penalty.
Jesse Helm's cliche about Chapel Hill being a zoo? Caring about the environment is something reserved for "liberals?"
Amidst all the right-wing hysteria being pushed by reporters in the main stream media these days, only one point has any merit at all. Joe Hackney is solidly pro-choice. If that makes Joe a liberal, then it also means that liberals outnumber conservatives in North Carolina, as you can see here.