Adults in the room in Raleigh

Adults in the room in Raleigh

- in Fitzsimon File

It’s unlikely they would ever admit it, but Republican leaders like Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis are going to miss Governor Beverly Perdue when she is gone, Berger especially.

The Republican Senate leader seems to relish any chance he gets to pound his chest and not only publicly disagree with Perdue, but to personally attack her in the process.

This week’s exchange over Perdue’s proposal to turn the Dorothea Dix Property into a park through a leasing arrangement with the City of Raleigh is the latest example.

News that Perdue was close to finishing the deal and needed only the approval of the Council of State provoked this response from Berger.

“Having failed for four long years to advance her agenda, Gov. Perdue is desperately trying to create a last-minute legacy at the expense of North Carolina taxpayers. I urge the Council of State to be the ‘adults in the room’ and reject her hasty plan to hand over a valuable state asset with little in return.”

Putting aside the debate over the merits of Perdue’s proposal, which is controversial among mental health advocates, Berger’s response makes you wonder if he is panicked that reporters will stop calling him once Pat McCrory becomes governor and there’s no one left for Berger to bitterly attack.

An Associated Press story pointed out that the “adults in the room” part of Berger’s rant is a reference to a comment Perdue made about Republican legislative leaders back in April of 2011.

Most adults, mature ones anyway, don’t obsess about statements made 19 months ago waiting to return the insult when they have the opportunity.

It makes you wonder what else Perdue said that hurt Berger’s feelings in the last four years that will come out in a nasty news release from his office before Perdue leaves the governor’s mansion at the end of the year.

And it’s not only Berger. Tillis accused Perdue of “pursuing a legacy for herself instead of protecting the interests of taxpayers and the thousands of individuals who desperately need better-funded mental health services.”

Why can’t Tillis or Berger simply disagree with Perdue’s plan without attacking her motives?

That’s the same Tillis who once promised to “gut punch” Perdue on her spending priorities, only to be outdone by Berger who last year called Perdue “an indecisive, politically-desperate politician,” after she dared exercise her constitutional authority to veto legislation passed by the Republican majority that she disagreed with.

McCrory weighed in against Perdue’s Dix proposal this week too, but to his credit, he didn’t stoop to Berger’s level of childish petulance.

McCrory’s spokesman issued a statement saying “ Governor-Elect McCrory believes it is best for North Carolina to hold on any major decisions like the Dorothea Dix campus until he and the legislature can study the impact to North Carolina taxpayers and ensure it does not adversely impact the state.”

McCrory attacked Perdue plenty during the recent campaign—and she wasn’t even running against him—but McCrory realizes that the campaign is over and it is time to govern. Berger and Tillis can’t bring themselves to consider it, especially when it means they are not the leaders of the Republican Party in Raleigh any more.

We definitely need some adults in the room. Too bad there doesn’t seem to be any in the leadership offices at the General Assembly.