By now everyone’s heard about Gov. Bev Perdue’s comments today at a meeting of the Cary Rotary Club:

“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that,” Perdue said. “You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

By all accounts, Perdue did not smile, smirk, roll her eyes or give any other kind of clue that this was a joke. But that’s what The News & Observer says in their headline. It seems that a “clarifying” comment from Perdue’s office forced the use of “joking” in the headline, because, from the original reporting, it was anything but obvious:

It’s unclear whether Perdue, a Democrat, is serious — but her tone was level and she asked others to support her on the idea.

The inimitable Allahpundit at (see above) is as suspicious as I am:

The News-Observer claims in their headline that she was “joking” but I think that’s because they can’t quite believe a sitting governor would be so stupid as to say this publicly.

Allah also points out that Perdue’s suggestion is part of a trend in Democratic circles:

In case you’re keeping score, this makes twice in the past 24 hours that a prominent Dem has called for less democracy as the solution to America’s problems. The first was former Obama budget guru Peter Orszag, who argued yesterday in TNR that Congress should rely more heavily on independent commissions (like IPAB!) and automatic “triggers” of the sort that are guiding the Super Committee’s work on deficit reduction.

Are Democrats trying to get us accustomed to the idea that democracy is messy and technocrats can do things better, sort of like Mussolini and Hitler? Or are they just really bad at standup comedy?