Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rucho: We'll fix "100 years of disaster"

Plenty of politicians excel at hyperbole and condescension. But there's always one guy in the room who takes it to a whole other level. These are excerpts from a speech state Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, gave today on the Senate floor during a Senate debate on cutting business development incentives:
"I'm overwhelmed by the passion from our colleagues in the back row about their interest in jobs. Where were you last time when we debated this during the budget? ... Here we are, a situation where we've got double-digit unemployment ... and, yet, last debate, where were you? You said, "We just gotta keep spending." ...

I want you to take responsibility for the way you've all led this state in the past 10 and 12 years because of the fact that you spent us to death. And now, when we have to make some tough decisions, you're crying about $75 million. ... What this is, is the first step to a pathway that the majority party in this senate is going to show you and the rest of the state in the business environment which way we're going so you really understand how to put an economy back together again.

Pay attention, this is what y'all should have done when you had the turn. And unfortunately you didn't, and the people are distressed about it. And they were distressed in the election ... Now do you take full blame for the recession? No. But you sure aggravated it. When you added, what, a billion dollars in new taxes? ... You punished the people that are working. OK? You made it harder for the businesses to expand and grow and maybe even survive for that matter. You also used $1.6 billion in stimulus money. One-time money for ongoing expenses. How many of you said no to that?

Let's put the blame where it needs to be. Don't come back now and (be) crying about jobs. ... You will see over the next period of time a continuation of a policy Sen. Berger, Sen. Apodaca and all the leaders in this Senate will bring forward that will put this state on the pathway to prosperity.

Hang on, it's going to take us a little time to recover from 100 years of disaster. But guess what? We're going to go ahead and we're going to show you how to do it. You're welcome to join us, or you can cry about it.
Friendly guy, huh? But he leaves me with questions.

Why would someone live in a state that he believes has been a disaster for a century? How has North Carolina managed to do so well in Forbes and Site Selection rankings for business friendly states? Why does Georgia, where the Republican-run legislature didn't implement a $1 billion tax increase to help balance the budget, have an even higher unemployment rate than North Carolina?

And since Sen. Rucho is chairing the Senate Redistricting Committee, should we expect a man who clearly feels Democrats are very bad for North Carolina to oversee the "fair" redistricting process Republican leaders have promised?

Update: WRAL has video of Rucho's speech on its @NCCapitol site. And WRAL reporter Laura Leslie, a veteran at the state capitol, notes this:
(Rucho's) comments tend to be fairly pointed, but I’ve never heard him go off on a tirade like he did today. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone in that chamber go off like that.

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