Thingish Things

Tar Heels, Wherefore Art Thou?

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - May• 25•11

I’ve always loved the story, however apocryphal, of how North Carolina acquired the moniker “The Tar Heel State.” According to legend, North Carolina troops came under withering fire in an early Civil War battle. Retreating Confederate soldiers marveled at how the North Carolina regiments stood and fought in the face of adversity. “Those North Carolina boys fight like they have tar on their heels,” a general hoping to rally his retiring troops reportedly shouted. The nickname stuck fast, too.

Republicans panicking over the loss of NY-26 yesterday — the seat prematurely vacated by former congressman Chris Lee — need to emulate those Tar Heel soldiers now. They need to stick firm to what’s right for the country, not scatter at the first sign of blood.

Early indicators of that stand-and-fight posture are not encouraging. Here’s how the senior member of New York’s Republican delegation reacted to yesterday’s loss in The New York Times today:  “It’s a Republican district with a solid Republican candidate,” said Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island. “What went wrong? We definitely have to determine the extent to which the Medicare issue hurt us.”

No tar there.

Congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare reforms became a significant issue in the NY-26 race because Democrats successfully frightened seniors in the Western New York district, convincing them that the plan would take away their health care. It wouldn’t, of course, but it would likely save future generations of Americans from economic atrophy. Republicans needed to make that clear, and they did not. Rather than walk away from reforms now — that they know are necessary — the GOP needs to sharpen its arguments for why such reforms are essential.

The first step toward doing that is getting the Wesson oil off their feet.

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  1. Your Friend says:

    Wow. I hope your party listens to you, it will certainly help the progressive cause if they do. Tar heels don’t do much good if they only help you shoot yourself in the foot. Anyone who doesn’t run and hide from the Ryan plan is putting their political life in jeopardy.

  2. I say double down on it!

  3. Your Friend says:

    Here’s someone speaking honestly about budget cuts that Americans actually want:

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