I know it’s bad form to say, “I told you so,” but for years now I’ve written about Gov. Bev Perdue’s abuses of power, called for her resignation and predicted that she would not run for re-election. Now, amidst waning popularity and with Pat McCrory breathing down her neck, Bev finally did the right thing and announced she would not seek another term.
But her reason for getting out was vintage Perdue, saying, “The thing I care about most right now is making sure that our... schoolchildren do not continue to be the victims of shortsighted legislative actions and severe budget cuts.” Funny, but this is the same woman who did nothing to guard against future budget cuts when she had a Democrat majority, raided the Education Lottery funds and tried to replace an elected state superintendant of schools with a political crony.
It’s so like Bev to blame others for her failures and divert our attention away from her mistakes. Throughout her career in politics, Perdue has been the schoolyard bully used to getting her own way. As a state senator she wielded power over many agencies including the highway patrol. That power came in handy in July 1995 when she was involved in an alleged drunk-driving car crash. Instead of calling 911, she called a “friend” in the HP (believed to be trooper Randy Glover who, afterward received an unexpected 25 percent raise). She then filed a questionable claim with State Farm Insurance which got the attention of the FBI, but the HP’s Internal Affairs Division sat on the matter for nearly two months before filing a report. Meanwhile Bev had another of her “friends” transferred into IA, and the case was closed due to lack of evidence.
In 2008, Lt. Governor Perdue accepted more than 40 free, unreported flights while campaigning for governor. As a result she was able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from those trips, and the monies were used to buy TV ads that slammed her opponent Pat McCrory in the final weeks of the campaign, giving her the narrowest margin of victory in modern history. In other words, she won by cheating, and no one was the wiser until word of the flights leaked out in April 2010, prompting an investigation by the State Board of Elections. But never fear because Bev had appointed the SBE chairman Larry Leake to his job.
Not surprisingly, just as one of Leake’s investigators was about to call Perdue’s campaign manager to testify, Leake halted the proceedings and the governor escaped with a slap on the wrist.
Then, last October it was revealed that she had helped several of her biggest donors make a huge profit from a land deal. Bev approved incentives to lure a German tire maker to Brunswick County, and much of the incentive money came from the Golden Leaf Fund. Problem is, Golden Leaf board member David Stephenson (whom Perdue had appointed), was a major contributor to Bev’s campaign, and he co-owned the very land that the Germans were purchasing.
Stephenson and his partners now stand to make upwards of $7 million from the scheme.
The fact is that cheating, and obstructing is such a part of Bev’s nature that her behavior is suspect even when appearing to advance noble causes. Take, for instance, her creation of a task force to look into how we might help surviving victims of forced sterilization. For two years the task force did nothing but give the governor an occasional opportunity to show up at hearings and look empathetic. Finally, just this month, the task force decided to recommend that the General Assembly award $50,000 to each living victim. But that recommendation had been made by Larry Womble and others years ago, and now there’s no guarantee that state lawmakers will even act on the recommendation. In an interview with NBC’s Dr.Nancy Snyderman, Perdue said that reparations had been stalled because she was working with a Republican legislature. Oh really? Then why is it that she did nothing to help victims while she had a Democrat majority? As the old fella said, “Some people will lie when the truth would do better.”
And that brings us back to Bev’s statement last week that she was giving up the throne because of her love for school children. Not only was the content of her announcement duplicitous, but the timing of it was so self centered that it left untold numbers of potential Democratic candidates scrambling with just a couple of weeks left before the filing deadline. Bev may have surprised a lot of people with her decision, but she was arrogant and disingenuous to the end, and that was no surprise to anyone.
Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11am on WMYV (cable channel 15)