We’re now by my count on our third excuse for Bev Perdue expressing her wish for cancelling next year’s congressional elections. Excuse #1 was that it was “hyperbole,” which her comms staff condescendingly defined for everyone on her facebook page. That didn’t fly, so excuse #2 was that it was a “joke.” That excuse came from the media as it attempted to spin the undemocratic Democrat’s way out of the mess. That crashed, which brings us to excuse #3.
Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue has long had a reputation for shoot-from-the-hip remarks that leave her audiences shaking their heads, part of her folksy, I’m-just-a -coal-miner’s-daughter persona.
But none of her previous comments hit a political nerve like her startling suggestion this week that Congress suspend its elections next year to concentrate on fixing the economy.
In the connected digital age, her remarks – made in response to an audience question at the Cary Rotary Club and reported online by The News & Observer – leaped across the Internet and were soon the subject of a provocative headline on the Drudge Report, scathing commentary by Rush Limbaugh, and dark warnings in the blogosphere by the conspiratorial minded of the coming of a “Banana Republic.”
On Wednesday, Perdue continued to try to walk back her comments, which her staff initially described on Tuesday as hyperbole.
“My point was one of sarcasm,” Perdue told reporters in Thomasville. “We really just need to encourage our leaders who are elected to work together and solve America’s problems.”
She added: “It was taken out of context from my perspective. But honest to goodness, who would think something like that would be said seriously. It’s ridiculous to have this kind of discussion about it.”
Tell that to former Obama adviser Peter Orszag, who while he didn’t go as far as Perdue, has written of his hope to make our republic less democratic so that the country can get things done. That’s a difference with Perdue in degree but not in purpose.
Of secondary interest is how the media is treating Perdue now. Yesterday it made up an excuse for her. Today, it’s throwing her under the bus by suggesting that she’s a loose cannon.
Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue has long had a reputation for shoot-from-the-hip remarks that leave her audiences shaking their heads…
For Perdue this was not her first gaffe. In fact, it was not even her first gaffe that day. Earlier on Tuesday, at an appearance in Raleigh, she referred several times to Raleigh Denim co-founder Victor Lytvinenko as “David.”
Now that she’s a dummy and a liability, it’s time to bring up her older gaffes.
When Perdue is off script, it is often an adventure. While visiting SAS’s solar farm in Cary where sheep graze, she commented to co-founder John Sall: “If we only had that ram, John, we could mate and have fun.”
Or while appearing at a state employees health fare, Perdue talked about her decision to give up smoking cigarettes and eating a bag of Doritos at the end of each week when she thought she was having a stroke.
“My head popped open, and I said, ‘Dear God, if you let me live, I’ll quit.’ And I quit. I didn’t quit for me. I quit because I thought about my kids not having momma or a daddy.”
Or there was the time, when a television cameraman, offered a lascivious “All Right,” after Perdue said she would “undress” from the TV microphone that was clipped to her jacket. ” I’m an old woman,” Perdue said. “You are a pervert.”
She has publicly acknowledged in speeches – as she is about to go off script – that her staff has urged her to stay on script. And she runs through communications staff like water – David Kochman, Tim Crowley, Justin Guillory, Pearse Edwards and Chrissy Pearson are all former communications staffers no longer on the governor’s staff.