Here are more thoughts on two recent blogs, one on Roy Cooper’s political success and the other on the school-reopening debate. (Links below.)
The Governor has a Clark Kent demeanor; mild, deliberate and controlled. He takes a measured, cautious approach to issues. He’s careful about what he says and does.
Yet, he took part in one of the most celebrated rebellions in modern North Carolina political history.
It was 1989. Cooper had just been elected to his second term in the state House. He was tagged as a rising Democratic star.
Then he joined a group of 19 dissident Democrats in the House who banded together with Republicans and ousted four-term Democratic Speaker Liston Ramsey. The dissident Democrats and the Republicans had chafed at Ramsey’s control of the House. They forged a power-sharing coalition that governed the House for two years.
The coup bitterly divided Democrats. Rancor and resentment ran high. The 19 Democrats were denounced as traitors and turncoats. Some got “primaried” in 1990 – and got beat.
Cooper survived. He joined other Democrats to elect Dan Blue Speaker in 1991. That year, Cooper got appointed to a vacant Senate seat. In 1997, he was elected Democrats’ Senate majority leader. In 2000, he was elected Attorney General. You know what happened next.
Through five different decades, Cooper has moved smoothly from party regular to rebel to party leader.
- One of the Democratic rebels was Rep. Walter Jones Jr. Jones later switched to the Republican Party and ran successfully for Congress in 1994. He held the 3rd District for 12 terms before he died in 2019. Eventually, he broke with Republicans over Middle East wars and budget deficits.
- Former Governor Bev Perdue almost was one of the rebels. She had met with the Democratic dissidents. One of them said later that, as they walked into the crucial caucus, she said, “I’m with you.” She wasn’t. She voted for Ramsey.
The Carolina Partnership for Reform, a conservative group aligned with Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger, tweeted: “according to a staggering 73% of NC voters, Cooper made the wrong move” when he vetoed the school-reopening bill passed by the legislature.
Well, it depends on how you ask the question.
CPR’s poll asked:
“Do you believe the state should require all school systems to offer parents an option for in-person instruction in addition to the choice of virtual instruction, or not?”
The question didn’t mention Cooper, the bill or his veto.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, asked this question:
“Plans are currently being made for many teachers to return to the classroom. When it comes to in-person instruction, do you think teachers should be required to teach in-person before they have the opportunity to receive a coronavirus vaccine, or do you think teachers should have the option to wait to return until they have the opportunity to be vaccinated?”
PPP’s results: 56% of North Carolina voters said teachers should be able to wait for vaccinations; 34% said not.
A national Pew Research poll in late February took a deeper dive. It found that 59% of Americans believe K-12 schools that haven’t yet opened should remain closed until all teachers who want a vaccine get one. Just 40% said schools should reopen as quickly as possible.
But in a sign of how nuanced – or contradictory – opinions can be, 61% said that, in deciding whether to reopen, schools should consider the possibility that students may fall behind with online learning.
When reading polls, see what question was asked – and if the people asking have an agenda.