David Price is closing in on 30 years in Congress from North Carolina’s 4th District, having served eight years starting in 1987, exiting after a defeat in the Republican sweep of 1994, and returning in 1997. He’s been in the glory days of a majority, and in the difficult days, including now, of being part of a minority – this time, against a veto-proof Republican majority featuring the angry tea party division of the GOP that’s troubling even to Republican leaders.
As he always has, Price, a professor, brought a studious and thoughtful eye to the issues of the day on a recent visit to the editorial offices of The News & Observer.
These are, he acknowledges, hard times for Democrats, and Price is frustrated by talk of things like a tea party-led effort, comforted by the unpredictable and volatile President Donald Trump, to possibly refuse to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, a routine matter that enables the country to borrow money to pay its debts. Should an element of the GOP succeed in rejecting such a raise of the ceiling, the nation’s financial markets would be plunged into chaos and the world reaction would be unpredictable but certainly dangerous.
On that issue, Price said he felt the ceiling would be raised but that the danger of not raising it should not be underestimated.
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On the Trump administration overall, he was less confident.
Price said, “I don’t take much comfort” in the contentions of some that President Trump is not competent enough to get things done. “They are getting things done,” Price said, “and the public needs to be alerted in ways that will make a difference in next year’s election. In fact, what passes for incompetence is extremely dangerous for this county ... talk about foreign policy ... the inconsistency in the signals we give our allies who are counting on us ... the kind of green light that’s been given to our adversaries I think is extremely dangerous.”
Price believes Trump will pay a price. “I think the public will react next year (in the elections),” Price said. “The chances are excellent that there will be a repudiation of this at the polls.”
On the probe of Russia and that country’s interference in the 2016 elections – now being compared to Watergate – Price said, “The potential offenses here are serious. This is really a hostile foreign power in our elections. This isn’t just a second-rate burglary at the DNC (Democratic National Committee as it was called in 1972).”
And what about “fake news” and the various accusations against mainstream news organizations by President Trump? Price doesn’t buy it. “If,” he says, “you don’t have some kind of standard objectivity, some kind of standard of common facts, you’re totally at sea in a democracy.”