Watching the GOP legislature in North Carolina, I can’t tell if they are believing their own spin or if they think they’re fooling people. Over and over, they make arguments for legislation that just aren’t true. On abortion, voter ID and budget matters, they offer rationales that no one believes, unless the Republicans themselves do.
On the motorcycle abortion bill, Republican after Republican stood up to say that the bill was not about restricting abortion but about protecting women’s health. C’mon. Opposing a woman’s right to choose has been a central tenet of the Republican agenda in the the South for more than 20 years. Why would they argue anything different?
The voter suppression bills are the most transparent. Nobody watching the legislation thinks it has any purpose other than to reduce the number of voters that would likely support Democratic candidates and policies. The bills are clearly meant to make voting more difficult for poor people who have limited access to transportation and more problems with mobility. Yet Republicans stammer about saving money and voter fraud. Nobody’s buying it.
Listening to them talk about the budget is even more mystifying. On the one hand, they are slashing taxes and shrinking government. On the other, they admit to cutting nothing. They’re paying more for schools. They’re paying more for universities and community colleges. But that’s not what anybody else sees. We see no raises for teachers, elimination of bonus pay for higher education degrees and 21% cut in funding for teaching assistants. We see 10,000 university students denied student aid and increased fees for community college students.
GOP arguments for these and so many other issues are just plain disingenuous, but, in the end, they’re not going to work out too well. Many voters aren’t paying that much attention right now but they do know Republicans are in charge. When school starts and they see fewer teachers and larger classrooms, they’ll blame Republicans. When they’re standing in longer lines to vote, they’ll blame Republicans. And when young women who need counseling, birth control or, yes, abortions find clinics closed, they’ll blame Republicans.
So, GOP, you’re not fooling anybody with your phony argument but yourselves.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >