Thursday, November 10, 2011
North Carolina no longer matters. At least, that's the storyline gaining steam with the national press.
The Tar Heel state narrowly voted for Barack Obama in 2008, redrawing, with Virginia and Colorado, the electoral map that had been set in stone for decades. It was the first time North Carolina voted for a Democrat for president since 1976.
Suddenly, we were the hot state in presidential politics. We were back "in play" and so would draw attention from both parties. Obama's decision to hold the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was widely seen as reflecting the importance he put on North Carolina for his re-election.
Now, suddenly, we're supposedly out of favor. Alec MacGillis at the New Republic writes a piece this week called "The end of Obama's Charlotte strategy?" MacGillis suggests that Ohio's repudiation Tuesday of an anti-union law backed by Republican Gov. John Kasich shows that Obama wrote off Ohio too quickly and should be focused on that state more than on North Carolina.
That echoes what the New Republic's Bill Galston said earlier this week: That Obama would be smarter to go after the independents in the Midwest than running "a campaign that amounts to 2008 on steroids," including a focus on North Carolina and other "new majority" states.
The Washington Post's Dan Balz reports on Galston's analysis and seems to endorse the thinking.
And Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., flatly states that Obama can't win in North Carolina in 2012. "He's done here," Burr told Roll Call. "The decision to go to Charlotte (for the DNC) will probably be the worst decision that the Democrats make in this election cycle."
Our take? November 2012 is a long way off, polls put Obama even or better with the Republican candidates in North Carolina and either party would be foolish to write North Carolina off or assume they have it in the bag.
What do you think?
Posted by The Observer Editorial Board at 12:47 PM