The backfires and blue smoke emanating from N.C. Democratic Party headquarters are a treat for Tar Heel Republicans, but for the Democrats they mean taking time for some tricky repairs. Thats time and energy the party certainly could put to better use, what with high-stakes elections on the near horizon.
State Party Chairman David Parker of Statesville was finding the situation especially unpleasant, with party figures from Gov. Beverly Perdue probably on down to dogcatchers saying he should give up his post.
No doubt it was Parkers responsibility to mitigate the damage when a former headquarters staffer leveled accusations of sexual harassment against another party aide. In the midst of this weeks brouhaha, Executive Director Jay Parmley quit, denying any wrongdoing but saying he didnt want to be a distraction. Parkers response to the accusations had been to reach a confidential settlement with the person claiming to be a victim. Did he hope or expect that would be the end of it?
He should have been so lucky, what with Republicans eager to highlight alleged sexual misconduct among their foes and also to suggest party funds were used to finance a coverup.
The facts of what occurred (or didnt occur) are so murky that its hard to judge whether the settlement was an appropriate way to resolve the complaint. But party bigwigs understandably are frustrated at having been kept out of the loop.
Republicans dream of Democrats plagued by internal party dysfunction and allegations of seamy behavior right on through the November elections.
What the Democrats trying to salvage the state for President Obama and hold on to the governorship should hope for is a restoration of capable leadership by people who are committed to high ethical standards and good stewardship of party resources. And who can keep the spotlight where it belongs, on the partys candidates and their messages.