Thus far, North Carolina voters don’t seem to be much troubled by discovering that Senator Kay Hagan and her family profited nicely from the massive Obama “stimulus” bill that didn’t stimulate anything except Democrat slush funds and the bank accounts of people with the right political connections. The Democrat incumbent remains 3.7 points up in the RealClearPolitics polling average despite stories like this from Carolina Journal Online:
Sen. Kay Hagan???s husband and son created a solar energy contracting company in August 2010, and then, using $250,644 in federal stimulus grant funds, her husband hired that same company to install solar panels at a building he owns.
Public records show that Green State Power was formed seven weeks before JDC Manufacturing ??? a company owned in part by Greensboro attorney Charles ???Chip??? Hagan III, Sen. Hagan???s husband ??? received the stimulus grant for the solar project at a 300,000-square-foot facility in Reidsville, N.C.
A story in late September on the Washington, D.C.-based website Politico revealed that JDC Manufacturing received ???nearly $390,000 in federal grants for energy projects and tax credits created by the 2009 stimulus law, according to public records and information provided by the company.???
Wait, it gets even sleazier:
Green State Power???s website claims the company was founded in 2008, before Hagan became a U.S. senator. But records from the Corporations Division of the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State show the company was formed on Aug. 10, 2010, under the name Solardyne.
JDC Manufacturing???s stimulus grant was awarded Sept. 29, 2010 ??? seven weeks after Chip Hagan filed papers with the secretary of state???s office creating the company. Carolina Journal has been unable to determine on what date JDC applied for the stimulus grant.
In May 2012, Chip Hagan filed papers changing the name of Solardyne to Green State Power.
You can see why none of this would matter to Democrat serfs – they think their rulers deserve great riches, especially if the loot is claimed in the name of something high-minded like “green energy.” But in this age of the Ineptocracy, with billions of dollars vanishing into thin air while Big Government delivers one fraud and catastrophe after another, you would think voters outside the hard Democrat base might find this disturbing, especially in light of Hagan’s connection to the biggest mixture of government incompetence and cronyism in the land, ObamaCare. As the North Carolina GOP points out, Hagan delivered the “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie as often as Barack Obama did.
Since national security is on everyone’s mind right now, maybe North Carolina voters will react to Hagan finally admitting something that conservative news organizations unearthed a month ago: she blew off a Senate Armed Services committee hearing on ISIS to attend a fundraiser. She really is Barack Obama’s Mini-Me, isn’t she?
As the Washington Free Beacon reports:
After weeks of avoiding questions on her whereabouts the day of the classified hearing, Hagan admitted to reporters in a post-debate press conference that she missed the Armed Services Committee hearing due to a fundraiser.
When asked about the hearing after the debate, Hagan said that she was unable to attend because the hearing was postponed till the afternoon.
???There was one and what had happened at that hearing, it was scheduled early in the day, and then votes were scheduled, and that hearing then had to be postponed later that day, so yes, I did miss that one,??? said Hagan.
Hagan???s office had previously refused multiple requests to set the record straight on whether she attended the hearing or the fundraiser.
It’s not hard to understand why her office wouldn’t be eager to discuss the matter:
On the night of the hearing, a cocktail reception fundraiser was held for Hagan on Park Avenue in New York City, with tickets to the event going for as much as $5,200.
Hagan officially began her campaign for senate earlier that same week.
The North Carolina Republican Party quickly pounced on Hagan???s admission, calling it a ???game-changer.???
???Senator Hagan has an embarrassing record of skipping important hearings at the Senate Armed Services Committee,??? said executive director Todd Poole. ???Now she has admitted the worst possible excuse is true: she skipped a committee hearing for a political fundraiser.???
???After weeks of hiding the truth, she owes the people of North Carolina, the people who sign her paycheck, an explanation???and an apology,??? added Poole.
Tillis has attacked her attendance record as a member of the Armed Services Committee, stating that Hagan has missed half of the committee???s meetings so far in 2014, and that ???while ISIS grew??? Kay Hagan kept quiet.???
Politifact rated the claim that Hagan has missed half of the committee hearings as ???Mostly True,??? finding that she had only attended 9 of 22 open hearings held by the committee in 2014.
“Mostly True?” If Tillis said she skipped half the meetings, and she actually missed 13 out of 22, shouldn’t the fact-check rating be “Even More True Than Tillis Thought?”
During the Tuesday debate, Hagan failed to name a single policy recommendation she would make to combat the rise of the Islamic State when asked whether there is ???anything President Obama is not doing that you would do.???
Local reports confirmed that Hagan admitted that she attended a fundraiser instead of the Armed Services Committee, and seem to agree that the comment could be a ???game-changer??? in the race. A reporter from ABC???s Raleigh affiliate said that ???of all the things said??? on debate night, Hagan???s comment made after the event is likely to have the biggest effect on the race ???in days and weeks to come.???
I guess we’ll have to see about that. Tillis is trying to climb out from beneath the kind of massive negative ad blitz Democrats treat as a political crime when it’s directed at them. The 2014 elections will feature several contests between the strategy of hitting the opponent early to define him, especially if he’s a challenger, vs. keeping your powder dry until the home stretch when voters are paying closer attention.
North Carolina voters have yet to meet a standard they weren’t willing to lower for Kay Hagan. Will an Obama-style focus on fundraising be the game-changer, or is that a feature of American political life the voters have accepted, at least for Democrats? (Any Republican foolish enough to think he can get away with attending endless fundraisers while the world burns deserves the media evisceration he will receive.) Will it matter that Obama is actually losing the war against the Islamic State, with the enemy poised to score a major strategic victory, unless last-ditch efforts to save the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani are successful? How’s that new wave of ObamaCare insurance cancellations going to sit with people who remember Hagan repeating Obama’s Big Lie about keeping your plan?
Maybe it’ll be all of the above, and then some, because last night’s debate was Hagan dispensing Democrat boilerplate like a vending machine, while Tillis linked her to Obama’s policies. From the Charlotte Observer debate recap:
The fast-paced and occasionally personal tone was set with Hagan???s opening remarks: ???Speaker Tillis has built a record of dividing our state, always putting the wealthy and big corporations first.??? Later in the debate, she called Tillis ???spineless??? for criticizing President Barack Obama???s handling of the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq while refusing to say what he would do.
She also accused Tillis several times of not answering Stephanopoulos??? questions. ???You want to ask him your question again???? she asked Stephanopoulos, who twice asked Tillis where he would part with Republican leadership in the Senate. (He later said he wouldn???t have supported shutting down the federal government due to automatic budget cuts under sequestration last year. She said she parted ways with Democrats on the Keystone oil pipeline and on the budget over military cuts.)
Tillis continued his theme tying Hagan to Obama, saying the November election will be a measure of the president???s policies, quoting the now-familiar figure that she has voted with Obama 96 percent of the time.
???I assume you???re proud you voted with him 96 percent of the time,??? Tillis said. ???I think it???s fair to make this election about his policies.???
Hagan???s response: ???One hundred percent of the time Speaker Tillis??? policies have hurt North Carolina,??? she said. ???He???s gutted education, killed the equal pay bill, no Medicaid expansion.???
She said Tillis was erroneously trying to paint her as part of a liberal Washington establishment, reiterating her ranking as a moderate. ???I am smack dab in the middle,??? she said. ???Smack dab in the middle is exactly where North Carolina is.???
Is there anything more hollow than a modern Democrat – a perpetrator of ObamaCare, no less – claiming to be a “centrist,” and citing something as transparently silly as claiming to be for the Keystone XL pipeline? Fat lot of good your alleged opposition to Obama’s agenda 4 percent of the time has done for America, Senator. The hard truth is that nothing will change if Democrats retain control of the Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is as much of an obstacle to American progress as President Obama is, so every Democrat is part of the problem. Tough break, guys, but that’s what you get for marching in lockstep with a disastrous Administration… unless, of course, you can trick some voters into thinking you’re a “centrist” who has been silently appalled by Obama’s policies for the last six years. I wish I could say it’s silly for them to try, but the polls don’t reflect that. Not yet, anyway.
Update: The part of the debate where Hagan, despite the loads of chaff she’s been dumping to distance herself from Obama, couldn’t name a single point of disagreement with the President was illuminating for several other reasons:
For one thing, Tillis just objectively looks more reasoned and statesmanlike here. Hagan is visibly shaken by the question then flings taking points and dodges the question, while Tillis lays out a sensible case and explains why Hagan’s fealty to Obama is out of step with North Carolina voters.
The exchange also leads one to think about the traditional balance between state and national issues during Senate campaigns, which can be an even livelier tango than what you see in House races. Obviously a candidate running in the shadow of an unpopular President wants to keep the focus local, but is that really the way voters should ever think about it? We don’t have anything resembling a federalist system any more. The lines between local and national issues have become blurred. We should all be used to the way national Party leadership lines up votes and cuts a few members enough slack to pretend they’re maverick renegades, for the benefit of state electorates who lean against the Party’s ideology. I suppose those simple tricks are still used because they work, and they work because too many voters don’t quite understand how these games are played in Washington. Neither party’s leaders and power brokers are eager to educate them, but conservative politicians serious about changing the way this decrepit system works should expose the games at every opportunity.
Update: The Drudge Report sums up the desperate attempts of Democrats like Kay Hagan to run away from Obama: