Christensen: Has been?

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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.


Since When ...?

Since when is John Edwards a liberal? I did not know this. He must not be very good at it or I would have noticed, don't you think?

(your links aren't working for me, A.)


Links fixed.

The cheap shots about

The cheap shots about Hackney's personality were pretty uncalled for too, and I believe unwarranted. He may not be effusive but he is always friendly and respectful at least to constituents.

Also, when folks talk about Hackney being a 'Chapel Hill liberal' and shifting his ideology, they ought to consider the fact that for the last four years he has only represented a very small sliver of Orange County- currently just five precincts across the far southern part of the county. He is primarily Chatham County and to a lesser extent Moore County's representative, and a shift in his priorities is just as likely to reflect a shift in his constituency as it is an attempt to be a House power broker. He is quite progressive but he is also very responsive to the people he represents, and the fact is that his average constituent is more likely to be a Siler City farmer than a Chapel Hill liberal activist now.

Anyway, doesn't really matter what anyone says. He's going to be Speaker, he's going to be as good a one as we've ever had, and he's going to help lead the state in the right direction.


Joe's a great choice and he'll do a great job. And he's going to show North Carolina what a competent, progressive leader can do for a change.

Art Pope A Chapel Hill Liberal too?

I'm not expecting Christensen to be a cheerleader for my political sympathies, but neither do I expect him to be regurgitating right-wing talking points ad nauseum. When the messenger is carrying pre-packaged propaganda originating from the Art Pope Puppetshow, I'd say shooting is entirely in order.*A

A couple of years ago, somehow I ended up sitting next to the Lt Gov at a UNC game in the Dean Dome. I can't remember which game it was, but Art Pope was sitting behind us and cheering like hell for the Nifong Dukee Law School Liberals. Don't you just hate hypocrites and closet Liberals when it is confirmed by Rob?

Shooting Hell A! Why don't you and I go slammed dunked Rob at half time to make him think he is a Chapel Hill Liberal at the next UNC home game to make those Liberal fans really have a half time show.

And since when

is Bev Perdue a Chapel Hill liberal? She lives in New Bern fer crissake. She hosted a reception for the DWNC at her house a couple years back.

It's sad, really. I used to think Rob was a decent (i.e. even handed) journalist, too. He just took a big plunge in my book. Using rightwing talking points is bad enough, but he jumped hell-bent into the neo-con netherlands of outright lying.

Has ANYBODY ever heard Bev Perdue called a "Chapel Hill liberal"? EVER? Heck, I've never even heard anyone here in Johnston county (where a goodly number of Democrats proudly call themselves "conservative") refer to Perdue as "liberal"-- not the regular (D) voter or the political oldYellaDogs.

What's Christensen's deal? Does he have a new agenda? Is he trying to get a better paying stint with JLF?

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Most excellent, Leslie

I almost commented on the Perdue thing, but I thought maybe I'm losing my mind. That's one of the weirdest things I've ever read.

Christensen and Stagemanager Hood spend a lot of time on the same circuit. You might be right. Hood definitely needs a new mouthpiece.

Perdue does have her primary

Perdue does have her primary residence in Chapel Hill now, but still, it's a joke to peg her as a Chapel Hill liberal.

Can't blame her

For falling in love and moving to town. Did it myself.

From a 2003 CHN feature story:

"We're trying to be involved not like a political couple, but like members of the community," Perdue said.

Mostly, though, Chapel Hill is a refuge from the political world and the endless receptions and meetings that are required attendance for a top state executive.

"One of our favorite things to do is walk Mason Farm," Eaves said.

"It's where I got my first kiss," the lieutenant governor confided.

Oh. Didn't know she had moved.

I do remember her saying something about as Lt. Gov. the drive btw Raleigh and New Bern and not being home as much as she liked had gotten old.

Still, calling this woman -- who is more often than not labeled "good old boy" -- 'liberal' only because she now resides in CH is like calling me a conservative because I reside in Clayton. Or, more simply, it's like calling a dog a cat because it sleeps on the couch. In a word ... silly.

But since it was Rob C. who wrote it, and you and I can and should assume that a man who covers NC politics for a living knows who Perdue is politically, labeling her as he did was just a plain lie. He knows better.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."



im ignoring this

too much anger in the air the past few days.

"Keep the Faith"

Sorry, Blue

I do know what you mean, though. I feel like Luke Skywalker being tempted by the Dark Side. This too shall pass.

Go outside and take a hike. That's my plan this afternoon.

Oh...I quit reading Christensen

after his column a couple weeks back where he patted his own back and tooted his own horn about his success at political predictions. Christensen predictions....oooooo let's all rush over and see what he has to say.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

if i predict

that the presidential race will be over before north carolina's primary can I replace him? Or does my prediction have to be something like, "By the end of the year the Democrats will have at least one nominee for Dole's seat."?

"Keep the Faith"

Anglico, I agree.

You said: And how screwed up do you have to be to think that caring about the environment is something reserved for "liberals?"

Except, I'd add: How screwed up does one have to be to think that being skeptical about the death penalty is something reserved for "liberals?" Maybe I'm living in the TheMinstrel bubble world, but how many conservative republicans seriously take the position that the current state of the death penalty should not undergo some serious questioning--especially in light of the scheduled and delayed execution of mentally incompetent, Guy LeGrande, not to mention three more executions in North Carolina on the horizon, and states across the nation staying executions after the terrible, terrible incident in Florida. Are there really folks out there--besides Ken Honeycutt--in this modern era, who aren't shocked and appalled at the conduct of the State? I pray not.

Any politician, conservative or democrat, who says that we shouldn't give close scrutiny to the current state of the death penalty in North Carolina shows both academically dishonesty with himself and his constituents, and flagrant moral depravity regarding the sanctity of human life. For shame.

i don't get this

Wow ya'll. Hackney is a liberal. Chapel Hill is one of the most liberal places in NC.

Christensen is accurately reporting this and accurately reporting that conservatives will use "Chapel Hill liberal" as an epithet against Hackney. Do we really think he is going to be able to raise as much business cash for the House Caucus as Jim Black did? Obviously, business was more comfortable with Black and Basnight than they will be with Hackney. That isn't a bad thing, but it will be an added challenge for progressives.

Let's not shoot the messenger here. Do you really think that most North Carolinians think of Chapel Hill as a place representative of their state? Many, many people see it as an elitist, liberal place. It's not much different than a liberal arts college town in any other state.

A politician is going to get a lot more mileage statewide if they can claim to be from a small town or from the country.

Christensen is reporting the political situation accurately. Even if it isn't what we want to hear -- that Hackney's liberalism and location are going to be a challenge in some ways -- it's still accurate.

I just don't understand the bashing of reporters here. Do we really expect them to be cheerleaders for our political sympathies? It seems out of touch with the political reality of NC. I fear it could earn this site and its community a bad reputation.

"Repealing the estate tax is like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics". - Warren Buffett

"Repealing the estate tax is like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics". - Warren Buffett


My main point was this: this "Hackney is a Chapel Hill liberal" story line has been beat to death twenty ways to Sunday over the past week. Every half-assed pundit in the state has already weighed in, and then some. I expected Christensen to have a second- or third-order insight about Hackney's role as speaker - but he didn't even try. He wrote the old same thing that he (and everyone else) has been writing for months.

By the way, I've found zero clear evidence of Joe Hackney being anti-business. Just because he's not on the take the way Black was doesn't make him a communist.

I'm not expecting Christensen to be a cheerleader for my political sympathies, but neither do I expect him to be regurgitating right-wing talking points ad nauseum. When the messenger is carrying pre-packaged propaganda originating from the Art Pope Puppetshow, I'd say shooting is entirely in order.

I Get It

These labels are a crutch for folks who want to take shortcuts. Joe has an office in Chapel Hill on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. He lives in Chatham, represents that entire county, a small piece of Moore and a small peice of Orange. I live in Chapel Hill and he is not my rep, BTW.

How about, "a liberal who has an office in Chapel Hill?"


What Makes you say this -

"Christensen is reporting the political situation accurately."

You must have a reason; try to convince me because I don't see it.

I didnt realize

Speaker of the House was a statewide office. I wish someone had told me.

"Keep the Faith"

Just to be clear where all this is coming from . . .

The Rocky Mount paper at least reports the source of the talking points

If there's one trait observers like to point out about Hackney, it's his commitment to openness in the legislative process. Those who have worked with and followed the legislator speak of his willingness to allow for debate and make sure all voices are heard.

"He's going to be very conscious," said N.C. Rep. Lucy Allen, D-Franklin, who originally supported N.C. Rep. Jim Crawford for speaker. "He's going to set himself a goal of objectivity and fairness in how members are treated in putting forth their legislation."

It's an assessment shared even by Hackney's ideological opposites. John Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation, said the legislator's history shows him to be a fair hand in dealing with competing viewpoints, despite leaning to the left on most issues.

"Hackney is a liberal who most conservatives will disagree with, but he's also a smart and fair-minded legislator who conservatives can work with," Hood said. "Under Hackney, the House will be a place of deliberation again, which it should be."

At least John Hood gives Joe credit for fairness. Funny, I never heard Hood complaining about the Party of Greed running the show in Washington for the past six years.