North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue recently announced she would not seek the reelection voters would have likely denied her anyway. Her resignation is a fitting capstone for a failed term, but is hardly a just cause for celebration among conservatives.
It’s easy to cheer Perdue’s resignation as a victory, and it is a victory, but her absence from the race takes her disastrous record out of the campaign. The North Carolina gubernatorial race is now open for an Obama style candidate, i.e., a liberal contender without a clear record who speaks only in vague platitudes and lets voters fill his empty suit with rosy projections.
Unlike Slick Willie, Perdue left herself no room to shift to the right and moderate her positions, instead becoming increasingly combative with the Republican legislature. With her out of the way, the path is clear for a Democrat to run from the center, or even center-right. If you don’t think that’s plausible, just rewind to the 2008 Obama campaign when the most liberal senator of 2007 suddenly began “emphasizing centrist – even conservative – positions on hot-button issues.”
By pulling out of the race, Perdue has destroyed, or at least severely diluted, her would be opponents’ most powerful ammunition: her abysmal record. The replacement Democrat in the race will be able to deny support plausibly for the most unpopular portions of the Perdue legacy. Perdue claims she’s dropping out of the race so the fight over school funding won’t be politicized. Given that she’s responsible for politicizing the issue, I think it’s more likely her 10 point polling deficit in the host state for DNC’s recoronation of Obama was bringing plenty of pressure from state and national Democrats to step aside.