When Allahpundit wrote about North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue’s suggestion that we skip the next Congressional election because the country really can’t afford democracy at the moment, he noted that the News-Observer reported that Purdue was “joking.” Was she? The News-Observer produced the audio of Purdue’s remarks, and it doesn’t sound as if she’s aiming for a spot on HBO’s next comedy jam:
Perdue faced almost instant national criticism on Tuesday after she recommended suspending elections until the economy recovers.
“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, N.C., according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I really hope that someone can agree with me on that.”
Shortly after the controversial comments made national headlines, Perdue’s press team began claiming it was a joke. Until the audio of her comments was released, though, there was no way to know if she was serious.
Perdue spokeswoman Chris Mackey, who originally told TheDC that it was a joke and “hyperbole,” told TheDC the Governor and her press team are sticking to their statement, even after this new audio came out.
Clearly, this was no joke. I’m sure it wasn’t a preplanned proposal, either, but Perdue didn’t pause for a laugh, didn’t provide any sort of set-up with this as a punchline — and as the audio demonstrates, was used to underscore the seriousness of the current economic condition. Perdue’s office has to stick with the “joke” spin, I suppose, but only because the alternative should be disqualifying to Perdue as a politician.
Let’s put this in perspective. We have had a number of depressions, including the Great Depression, in our history. We fought two world wars and a decades-long Cold War against an existential threat. During all of these times, the US held its normal Congressional elections. In 1862, Republicans lost 22 seats in the midterm elections, and in 1864, Lincoln faced a tough challenge to continue his role as Commander in Chief. Both elections took place in the middle of the Civil War, while hundreds of thousands of Americans were dying on battlefields. Comparatively speaking, this is just a rough patch in the road.
We don’t put aside democracy in tough times. In fact, the tougher the times, the more accountability we need from our government, not less. As my friend and radio partner Mitch Berg wrote, “The dumb part? That a bunch of politicians, relieved of the pressure of having to justify their political existences to voters, would “solve” anything.” Any politician arguing that our government needs less or no accountability to its constituents and citizens is a politician whose constituents should send into ignominious retirement at the first possible moment.