It ain’t over till it’s over. Last month, the already unpopular French government approved same-sex marriage for the country. But the good people of France are not taking that decision as final. Several hundred thousand proponents of traditional marriage marched in central Paris on Sunday. The massive park around the Les Invalides monument was full of protesters waving pink and blue flags. It’s possible that people all over Europe are to the point of saying “enough is enough” of liberal/socialist policies. In England, after years of Labour Party rule, in 2010 England moved to the right by installing David Cameron’s coalition government. In Spain, a small but growing conservative movement is now making itself heard, electing the center-right Partido Popular (Popular Party) a year or so ago. Lots of liberals in the United States are holding up Europe’s social policies as a model, but increasingly we’re seeing Europeans throwing those same liberal policies on the ash-heap of history—or at least making increasingly resolute attempts to do so.
Summit presses on. In its more than 50 years of service, Manitou Springs, Colo.-based Summit Ministries has seen its share of red-letter days. Tens of thousands of students have participated in the ministry over the years. Many hundreds of them have gone on to an active live in Christian ministry, and most of the rest are now successful husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers. But yesterday was a day the group would like to forget. According to a statement from Summit President Dr. Jeff Myers, “At 6:40 this morning a Summit Ministries bus transporting students for a whitewater rafting trip was struck in a head-on collision by a pickup that had veered across the center line. Of the 52 students on the bus, eight were transported to the hospital to be treated for bumps and bruises. All students have now been released. Sadly, the driver of the pickup was killed in the collision.” Colorado State Trooper Nate Reid said, “The Ford pickup was eastbound on U.S. 24 in Teller County, when it veered into the westbound lanes and hit the bus,” Reid said. Colorado’s 7News asked if investigators know why the pickup driver crossed into the oncoming lane, Reid said, “We don’t know. Obviously there will be some toxicology reports and things like that to come, but as of right now, we don’t know.” Myers told 7News, “Our thoughts are with his family.”
Hard right? Hardly. My home state of North Carolina got some interesting attention from The Washington Post over the weekend. In an analysis of the state’s politics, the Post said the Tar Heel State had taken a “hard right turn” and that much of the credit goes to Art Pope, a millionaire entrepreneur who put money into 22 state legislature races in 2010, in which Republicans won 18 of them. Those wins put the GOP in control of both houses of the N.C. legislature for the first time in 100 years, and it also put Republicans in control of the once-a-decade re-districting process. Pope did all this, by the way, with only about $2.2 million in campaign donations, but the money was very carefully placed. So is North Carolina really going “hard right,” as the Post seems to fear? Not quite. Most conservatives might agree that the state has taken a step in the right direction, but it’s a step from the left to the middle, not from the middle to the right. North Carolina, for example, is still one of the most-taxed states in the nation. It’s sometimes called “The Massachusetts of the South.” But the Post article does get one thing right: Conservative Pope has learned what Colorado liberal homosexual activist Tim Gill and others have already learned: that a few hundred thousand dollars invested in state politics can have more significant and long-lasting effect as millions or even tens of millions spent at the national level.
Is McCrory presidential timber? Speaking of North Carolina, the Post article also favorably mentioned the state’s new governor, Pat McCrory, the first Republican governor in a generation, and one of the very few we’ve seen in the past century. I’ve known McCrory for nearly 20 years. Both his Christian faith and his conservative ideas have matured in the past few years, but lots of people in Charlotte will say that when he was mayor he was not nearly so conservative as the Washington Post makes him out to be. He supported a number of “big government” programs, including the use of billions of taxpayer dollars to build a light-rail transit system that is now only lightly used. Critics, including local radio personality Keith Larson, call the light-rail boondoggle “The McCrory Line.” That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCrory on the national political stage in the years ahead. He was close to George W. Bush, he has serious fundraising abilities, and North Carolina is an increasingly important state politically. I don’t think he’ll run for president in 2016, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get mentioned from time to time. And he might give it a shot. McCrory looks very young, but in 2016 he’ll be 58. If he sits out 2016, and a Republican wins, it could be eight years before he gets another chance, and by then he’d be 66 and on the verge of being too old, especially since by then a lot of the young turks of the GOP (Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and others) will be coming into their prime. McCrory might make a judgment that 2016 is his best shot.