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@NCCapitol

Rucho rakes Senate Dems

Posted February 3, 2011
Updated February 4, 2011

The NC Senate can (and has) been called a lot of things. But “confrontational” is generally not one of them.

The Senate is a smaller body than the House, just 50 members who work together very closely for months on end. It’s not surprising that this closeness tends to breed a certain congeniality. Even when they disagree vehemently, senators rarely call each other out. They keep it civil, and they don’t get personal. They leave all that on the campaign trail.

Bob Rucho’s been around the chamber a long time. The Mecklenburg Republican and Finance chair is in his sixth full term in the Senate. His 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.

To put it in context, the Senate had been in debate for about 45 minutes. The minority Democrats had introduced an amendment to S13, the “Balanced Budget Act,” seeking to protect funding for areas they say are critical to state job development and business recruitment. Seven Democrats had already spoken on the amendment, admonishing the GOP for seeking to cut job-creation programs.

Rucho had had it.

Sen. Bob Rucho GOP lawmaker blasts '100 years of disaster' from Dems

The reaction in the chamber was interesting, to say the least. Freshmen’s eyes widened. Staff murmured. Dem leaders whispered to each other.

But Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt chose not to take the bait. In the spirit of cordial party relations, he said, “I am going to turn the other cheek. But I won’t do it again. We’ve got to stop this mess, the railing and fussing and the bickering over how we got here.”

The amendment was defeated, and the bill was passed, both on straight party-line votes, 30-18 (Forrester (R) and Graham (D) were absent).

After the session, Wake Democrat Dan Blue called Rucho’s remarks “inappropriate,” but “out of character” for him.

Sen. Dan Blue Blue: GOP senators criticism out of place

At a press conference later, Berger said he didn’t feel the remarks were inappropriate at all. When asked whether Rucho’s tone was conducive to bipartisan lawmaking, he said, “I think it’s at times conducive to healthy debate. Really, I didn’t see that anything got out of hand… Other people can form their own judgments.”

When I spoke with Rucho late this afternoon, he defended his remarks. “Everything I said was true,” he said. He talked about the state’s double-digit unemployment rate. “When are we going to care about those people, the working people?”

Did he think anything he said was over the top?

Rucho didn’t hesitate. “Not one bit.”

6 Comments

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  • jet2rdu Feb 8, 2011

    "He was right! The Democrats just about ruined this state."
    driverkid3

    You are right on the money about the Dems. However, I would have left out the "just about", since it is obvious except to those wearing their party's blinders.

    Just look at any lists of those states that are even in worse shape than ours. The majority of those states governments have a lot in common. They have been controlled for years by the party of spend and tax, the Democrats.

  • Bogged Down Feb 8, 2011

    Well good golly! Are we lucky this Yankee whiner moved down here to ignorant North Carolina to show us how to run our state!

    Mr. Rucho, if our state truly was a "disaster" before you moved here, why did you even move here? Were you unable to get a job way up there in the wealthy North (where you guys know how to do EVERYTHING better than we "ignorant Southerners"). Did no one want to hire you? Were you just annoying to be around?

    What this carpetbagger interloper Rucho fails to acknowledge is that our current economic situation is directly related to irresponsible "regulatory reforms" enacted by REPUBLICANS.

    Yankee go home!

  • 1 awesome Dad Feb 8, 2011

    North Carolina has been a wonderful place to live and still is but let's face it our jobs have been dwindling steadily since NAFTA was introduced. Our agriculture, textile, and other manufacturing jobs has packed up and moved on to other countries so now our citizens that lack necessary knowledge to hold the technological jobs are suffering and we are in perilous times for our state. So either we educate our workers and get them working or keep them on the payroll but never the less our state is in desperate need of jobs and that is a fact.

  • driverkid3 Feb 7, 2011

    He was right! The Democrats just about ruined this state.

  • Jackson711 Feb 4, 2011

    "100 years of disaster"

    Really? Is that really what Rucho thinks?

    In the last 100 years, North Carolina has gone from being one of the poorest states in the nation - a true backwater - to a true success story. RTP, our banks, our university system and other institutions have turned North Carolina into one of the fastest growing states in the nation. People want to come to North Carolina because it's great - not because it's a disaster!

  • lilybell Feb 4, 2011

    carpetbagger and rude