Dan Forest, running for governor of North Carolina against incumbent Roy Cooper, just earned a place in our list of The Dumbest Candidates in the History of the Universe. WRAL sent him and Gov. Cooper a list of six questions to answer for an on-line voters guide due to go live this Thursday. The Forest campaign curtly refused to answer the questions, alleging that the questions themselves "don't reflect reality." The questions themselves. Which leads in its own way to new questions about Forest's mental architecture.
Here are the six:
If elected, what are your top 3 priorities?
Should all pandemic-related restrictions in North Carolina be lifted before a coronavirus vaccine is widely available? What would be the tipping point to scale them back or rescind them?
How would you handle the economic issues caused by the pandemic?
The pandemic has resulted in added expenses for public schools. Do you support a significant increase in K-12 spending to help districts, and if so, how would you pay for it?
Do you support expanding Medicaid to provide more North Carolinians with health coverage during the pandemic? If not, how do you propose caring for these people?
Do you believe there’s systemic racism in North Carolina? If so, what reforms are needed?
Three questions on COVID, and since Forest apparently thinks it's all a hoax, those questions don't reflect his reality, you bet, and one question on expanding Medicaid, and Forest wouldn't want to reflect his own reality on that issue, and that last question ... whooo boy!
I've worked on a Federal campaign and on many state of NC campaigns, and I can honestly tell you that candidates are constantly peppered with these types of questionnaires, from media outlets and pressure groups, and everyone on a campaign groans at the thought of answering another one. It takes lots of staff time to research, draft, edit, and approve, and it takes a focused candidate to make sure the answers really reflect his/her policy positions and don't give the opposition a huge coat-rack to hang attack ads on. Every campaign I've ever been associated with made value judgments about which questionnaires to spend a lot of time on and which questionnaires to blow off.
I believe Forest picked the wrong questionnaire to blow off.