Under the Dome

Carter Wrenn: The political education of Aldona Wos

"The same day the Democrats tore into Crime Control Secretary Kieran Shanahan they also let fly at Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Aldana Wos,'' writes veteran Republican consultant Carter Wrenn in his blog, Talking About Politics.

"Now doctors are a complex group of highly intelligent people who labor under a singular handicap: They’ve mastered one incredibly complex subject (say, neurosurgery) no one else can fathom so naturally, after that, they figure whatever else comes along they’re more than a match for it – they can just put their ‘little grey cells’ to work and figure it out too. But neurosurgery is no preparation for politics.

"Dr. Wos is an interesting lady – born in Warsaw, she earned her medical degree in Poland then practiced medicine in New York, married, moved to Greensboro, helped Liddy Dole and George Bush in their campaigns, and then President Bush appointed her Ambassador to Estonia.

"When Governor Pat McCrory asked her to take on the toughest job in state government – running the mortally dysfunctional Department of Health and Human Services – she agreed but refused to take a salary. So she’s working for a dollar a year. Which, in a way, makes what happened to her last week not unlike adding insult to injury.

"While making a speech, trying to explain Governor McCrory’s plan to privatize Medicaid, Dr. Wos ran into an unexpected buzz saw – as soon as she finished a doctor stood up and asked her why on earth the state had refused to be part of President Obama’s Medicaid Expansion Plan which, the doctor added, would have provided health insurance to his uninsured patients.

"Dr. Wos slipped.

"She said Governor McCrory hadn’t made that decision, that it had been made by Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin who’s a Democrat.

"Of course, she was wrong.

"The Republicans in the State House and Senate, along with Governor McCrory, had killed Obama’s Medicaid Expansion.

"Now, in politics, when you inadvertently slip and land yourself in a porridge most times the best way out is to simply say, I made a mistake and I’m sorry – but when folks are hollering at you, well your pride sort of buckles up and simple confession suddenly feels like eating crow – which leads directly to another mistake. And that’s what happened to Dr. Wos. Her spokesman bowed up and instead saying, She regrets her mistake, tried an old dodge, saying Dr. Wos was quoted out of context.

"To the Democrats it was like Clint Eastwood saying, Make my day – they couldn’t believe their luck. They pounced again, promptly launching a second round of broadsides, even rolling out ole Commissioner Wayne Goodwin – who demanded Dr. Wos apologize.

"It’s a heck of an education for someone who’s only being paid a dollar a year.

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