Charlotte Observer endorses “progressive” Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory for the Republican primary for governor

It’s sort of like the NYT’s endorsement of McCain earlier this year – it’s not an endorsement a true conservative desires, but then again, Charlotte’s 7-term mayor isn’t really a true conservative. He just plays one on TV. On their editorial page this morning, the Observer opined:

But the leading candidate in this [Republican] race is Charlotte’s seven-term mayor. Pat McCrory has followed a pattern set down decades ago for progressive leadership in the state’s largest city. Though he too often detours into boilerplate rhetoric for political consumption, in fact he has shown an ability to get things done. His support for a half-cent local sales tax to pay for mass transit, including a commuter rail line that is now getting rave reviews, mark him as an effective leader who’s willing to invest in the future. He would bring a unique perspective on urban needs to the campaign. Now he must persuade voters that his vision for a fast-growing city will translate into a more comprehensive vision for a fast-growing state with pockets of economic stagnation. While he has campaigned against what he perceives as the indifference of Raleigh to Charlotte, he must be nimble enough to demonstrate that he can work across party lines outside Charlotte and serve the state in the tradition of another Mecklenburg Republican, former Gov. Jim Martin. We recommend Pat McCrory for the Republican nomination.

Uh … I would think that his support of the half-cent local sales tax to pay for “mass transit” is quite enough to show how he is willing to reach across party lines while presiding over one of the biggest budget busters in Charlotte history. Not has he shown he can reach across party lines, he’s also shown he can reach across and stab voters directly in the back, as he did over the arena issue, which I discussed at length here.

McCrory, while personally a likeable guy who has his moments where he rides against the political winds here in Charlotte, has earned the distrust many Charlotte-area conservative have with him over the years, primarily due to his push for unnecessary, expensive “mass transit” and the “privately funded arena” he promised after voters voted down a bond package deal that included a new arena to replace the then-perfectly fine now-demolished Charlotte Coliseum. When all was said and done, Bobcats Arena was built with 65% of its funds coming from Charlotte taxpayers.

As much as I would love to see a Republican governnor again (it’s been a while), if McCrory gets the nomination I would find it very, very hard to support him based on, in part, the issues I just mentioned. The person I support for governor of North Carolina is strong conservative Fred Smith, who I’ve written about before. Unsurprisingly, while the Observer devoted two full paragraphs to the top two Dem contenders for the nomination, they gave Fred Smith, who is close behind McCrory in the polls, a mere three sentences:

Sen. Smith is a lawyer and successful businessman. He has a reputation as a tax-cutting conservative and has expressed a strong interest in making government work better. He has served three terms in the Senate.

Gee, I guess conservatives should thank the Observer for throwing out a few scraps on Senator Smiths’ record. Sheesh.

The Observer actually wrote a decent piece on Smith earlier this month as part of a series of profiles on all the candidate for governor. You can read his profile here.

Sunday afternoon links (OPEN THREAD)

Some links for your perusal:

—– What she said: The Rev. Al Sharpton is threatening to “close down the city” of New York in outrage over last week’s acquittals of three NYPD officers in the shooting death of Sean Bell. The race-hustling Sharpton is doing what he does best, accusing the NYPD and the court system of racism – ignoring the fact that the officer who fired the first shot of the near 50 shots taken that day was black. Malkin goes on a verbal smackdown spree here, going off on everyone from Sharpton to everyone who has ever propped him up including, sadly, some Republicans – even President Bush. Scott Johnson has related thoughts.

—– Matt Dupee at The Long War Journal reports on the Taliban’s assasination attempt on Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai, which killed three – a parliamentarian, a Shiite cleric, and a child – and injured several others. Karzai escaped unharmed. Gateway Pundit has more.

—– In case you missed it: Omar at Iraq the Model penned a must-read last week on how a determined AQ in Iraq continues to lose.

—– What’s Kim Jong Il up to these days? No good, as usual – Austin Bay has the story.

—– Mick Stockinger alerts us to the fact that Al Franken’s got a tax problem Specifically, the far leftie doesn’t like paying everything he owes. Imagine that …

—– Don’t miss The People’s Cube’s tribute to all things Green ;)

—– Related to “eco-friendliness”: Another global warming hypocrite has stepped forward. Van Helsing has the details.

—– One more agw note: Has the polar bear, the global warming alarmists’ favorite mascot, been replaced? Fellow NC blogger Jimmie at The Sundries Shack is on the case.

—– Bookmark this one: Another fellow NC blogger William Teach wrote a hilarious, spot-on post last month titled, “The 8 Stages Of Liberal/Progressive Discussion When They Are Busted” and noted in a post today that Barack Obama was engaging in #6, which is to “[w]hine about the discussion of the topic, proclaiming that it means nothing, and why aren’t we talking about X? This is usually the point where Liberals/progressives truly understand how bad the issue really is for them, typically when even the NY Times cannot ignore it….” :))

—– And yet another one of my fellow NC bloggers (they’re always on a roll), Bob Owens, takes on a Media Matters scribe who posted a bogus attack on me and a few other “warbloggers” regarding the release of the AP’s terrorist-friendly “photojournalist” Bilal Hussein under Iraq’s new amnesty law. Supposedly, his release meant our claims about Hussein Bob keeps it short, sweet, and too the point. Thanks, amigo :)

—– ST reader Karl at Leaning Straight Up catches The View’s Whoopi Goldberg hitting the trifecta by “using the race card, the gender card and the ageist card all in one show.”

—– Ending this post on a positive note: McQ reminds us of the 32 year anniversary of what some have called “the greatest play in baseball.” Thank you, Rick Monday.

Barack Obama’s interview on Fox News Sunday

After nearly two years of “the silent treatment,” Barack Obama sat down for an interview with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace a few days ago. Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters has a good rundown of the questions Wallace asked, which were a lot tougher than he gets from most reporters in the media, and notes how the liberals in the blogosphere are upset with BO for his civility towards Wallace.

Perhaps they were hoping for a puffy face and angry finger-pointing, a la Bill Clinton’s September 2006 interview on FNS.

The transcript is here, and video of the interview in full can be viewed here. The commentary from both sides of the blogosphere is starting to pile up here.

In related news, the LAT (surprisingly) goes after Obama on what appears to be a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” deal Obama made as a state Senator in Illinois:

WASHINGTON — After an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year. Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client — a longtime political supporter.

Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell’s firm that eventually totaled $112,000.

A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin.

Killerspin specializes in table tennis, running tournaments nationwide and selling its own line of equipment and apparel and DVD recordings of the competitions. With support from Obama, other state officials and an Obama aide who went to work part time for Killerspin, the company eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize its tournaments.

Obama’s staff said the senator advocated only for the first year’s grant — which ended up being $20,000, not $50,000. The day after Obama wrote his letter urging the awarding of the state funds, Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign received a $1,000 donation from Blackwell.

Obama’s presidential campaign rejects any suggestion that there was a connection between the legal work, the campaign contribution and the help with the grant. “Any implication that Sen. Obama would risk an ethical breach in order to secure a small grant for a pingpong tournament is nuts,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political advisor.

Uh huh. Ed Morrisey summarizes:

This looks like a rather obvious quid pro quo. Coming from someone who casts himself as a representative of a new brand of politics, the Blackwell connection — especially the campaign donation — reveals something much less new and much more Chicago about Obama’s politics. In exchange for $118,000 in salary, Blackwell received $320,000 in state taxpayer money and influence at the highest level of state politics.

And it recalls another Chicago connection for Obama, his relationship with Tony Rezko and the purchase of his house. When Obama wanted to buy his current residence, he needed another buyer to come in with him to purchase an adjoining lot. Enter indicted fixer Rezko, who despite having all sorts of legal and financial problems at the time, comes up with $125,000 in a down payment and qualifies for a $500,000 mortgage in order for the Obamas to get their home. It turns out that Rezko got the money from shady Iraqi financier Nadmhi Auchi, after meeting Obama at a reception thrown by Rezko for Auchi to meet the power clique in Illinois.

But this means nothing – you, see all this digging into Obama’s past is nothing more than a meaningless “distraction” from the “real issues” facing America

Prior/Related:

NYT’s latest McCain hit piece leaves out crucial bit of information

This is, what, the third or fourth attempt by the NYT to squeeze a scandal out of the Mc?

Given Senator John McCain’s signature stance on campaign finance reform, it was not surprising that he backed legislation last year requiring presidential candidates to pay the actual cost of flying on corporate jets. The law, which requires campaigns to pay charter rates when using such jets rather than cheaper first-class fares, was intended to reduce the influence of lobbyists and create a level financial playing field.

But over a seven-month period beginning last summer, Mr. McCain’s cash-short campaign gave itself an advantage by using a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife, Cindy McCain, according to public records. For five of those months, the plane was used almost exclusively for campaign-related purposes, those records show.

Mr. McCain’s campaign paid a total of $241,149 for the use of that plane from last August through February, records show. That amount is approximately the cost of chartering a similar jet for a month or two, according to industry estimates.

The senator was able to fly so inexpensively because the law specifically exempts aircraft owned by a candidate or his family or by a privately held company they control. The Federal Election Commission adopted rules in December to close the loophole — rules that would have required substantial payments by candidates using family-owned planes — but the agency soon lost the requisite number of commissioners needed to complete the rule making.

Make sure to read the rest, as the NYT uses quotes from several “experts” to show how “his campaign’s actions, while keeping with the letter of law, did not reflect its spirit.”

What did the New York Times not mention in this story that would have raised questions about the man who may be McCain’s fall opponent? John Fund wrote back on April 15 (emphasis added):

The Federal Election Commission, down to only two out of its six required members since January, suffered another blow Monday. A Democratic nominee for a vacancy announced he was withdrawing. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it will “most likely” take several months to find a replacement for Robert Lenhard, who said in a statement he couldn’t wait any longer in limbo.

Leaving the FEC with only a skeleton crew means the agency can’t open new cases, hold public meetings or even issue advisory opinions. Michael Toner, a former FEC chairman, says the inability of the White House and the Senate to agree on nominees “hurts the ability of parties and candidates to comply with the law.” The commission does not have the legal authority without a quorum to release the public financing funds that may be vital to John McCain’s fall campaign – a situation that perhaps suits Barack Obama, who has declared that his large haul of private Internet donations represents a new kind of “public financing” and who seems intent on reneging on his previous pledges to abide by the public financing system.

Democrats created the FEC impasse last year when they balked at confirming Hans von Spakovsky, who had served on the FEC for two years. Ironically, it was Sen. Obama himself who put the nomination on hold because Mr. von Spakovsky, as a Justice Department official, had supported laws requiring voters to show photo ID. Those laws have since been upheld as Constitutional by several federal courts and the Supreme Court is likely to follow suit in a decision it will hand down this June.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote about this as well, in February, which I noted here.

So when the NYT wrote with phony concern, “The Federal Election Commission adopted rules in December to close the loophole — rules that would have required substantial payments by candidates using family-owned planes — but the agency soon lost the requisite number of commissioners needed to complete the rule making,” the left out the main reason why the commission didn’t have that “requisite number” to “close the loophole”: because of Senator Barack Obama.

And the NYT wonders why it’s losing money and having to cut back on its staff?

It will be interesting to see if the Obama campaign tries to use this “issue” against McCain, considering Obama’s own role in keeping the FEC from having enough commission members to enforce existing laws and “close those loopholes” in others.

James Joyner writes in response to the story:

MyDD’s Josh Orton calls the story a “blockbuster” which “exposes two more broken McCain pledges: to not to fly on corporate jets, and to not exploit his wife’s wealth for campaign advantage.” Amanda Terkel of Think Progress agrees. But McCain objection to corporate jets was that said corporations might thereby gain undue influence; surely, that’s not a consideration when the corporation is owned by his wife? And it’s rather different to use your wife’s airplane or another existing, durable asset than to accept millions in cash, no? The jet, after all, remains an asset whereas cash is spent.

And speaking of Think Progress, let’s take a look at what their comments section on their post about this non-story looks like this morning. A few bravely ask “where’s the story?” but most of the feedback, as of this writing, looks like this:

Zooey Says:

Would that be “C*nt Air?”

April 26th, 2008 at 9:05 pm

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dbadass Says:

UrineAir?

April 26th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

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99Luf Balloons Says:

Flipflop air

April 26th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

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Zooey Says:

“Trollop Travels”

April 26th, 2008 at 9:18 pm

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EtherealStrife Says:

Bah stop dancing around it.

Con Air.

April 26th, 2008 at 10:20 pm

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Vanthomas Says:

The “Geritol Jet”?

April 26th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

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Xisithrus Says:

Teresa Sidney Heinz McCain.

April 26th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

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Shayne Says:

Jet Cranky. Air Alzheimers.

April 26th, 2008 at 10:23 pm

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Xisithrus Says:

Vicodin Express

April 26th, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Ahhh! Nothing like a little far left peace, love, understanding, and “tolerance” to get your Sunday morning started off right, eh?

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.