Clowns to the right of me

by | May 26, 2023 | Editor's Blog | 7 comments

In the you-can’t-take-them-seriously department, the John Locke Foundation has a newfound concern about energy production off the coast of North Carolina. After decades of advocating for building oil platforms off the coast of North Carolina, the organization says that wind farms pose a threat to views and tourism. Just a few years ago, they argued, “There are highly traveled tourist destinations in many places around the world that have coexisted with offshore drilling for decades.”

In other Republican news, the GOP state house caucus stripped Rep. Jeff McNeely and Rep. Keith Kidwell of their leadership positions. Officially, they resigned, but they were really pushed out. McNeely and Kidwell committed the crime of saying out loud what too many Republicans are already thinking. 

On the floor of the house, McNeely, who often attends legislative sessions dressed as a clown, asked Rep. Abe Jones, a Black Democrat from Wake County, if he could have gotten into Harvard if he hadn’t been a minority or an athlete. Democrats, including Minority Leader Robert Reives, pushed back hard. “I’m hoping I wasn’t the only one that got shocked by that comment,” Reives said at the time. 

Speaker Tim Moore knew immediately that McNeely was out of line. He gaveled McNeely down when the legislator tried to explain away his comment and he didn’t shut down applause when Jones responded. McNeely later apologized, but what he said revealed a prejudice that can’t be put back in the box. 

In Kidwell’s case, he made a comment to staffers that he thought was private but was said in earshot of a reporter. When Democrat Diamond Staton-Williams told of her decision to have an abortion and noted that she was raised in a church, Kidwell told aides that it must be the “Church of Satan.” Republicans didn’t jump on Kidwell like they did McNeely, but they must have understood that his remark was inappropriate. 

Stripping McNeely and Kidwell of their leadership posts might be a start, but it’s a few decades late. Too many members of the GOP caucus probably agree with the sentiments expressed, even if they know it shouldn’t be said out loud. Among themselves, they call it “PC” or “woke” to oppose bigoted comments and neither man would have faced consequences if they had made them in the privacy of a GOP caucus meeting. The sins of McNeely and Kidwell were contradicting the GOP public denials of bigotry in their ranks.

While GOP leaders like Tim Moore and Phil Berger might rein in their own members, they won’t speak out when other Republicans make similar statements. They don’t criticize Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson when he calls gay people “filth.” They don’t criticize Trump when he goads his audience into yelling the n-word at a North Carolina rally. In short, they won’t do anything that might alienate the Republican base that agrees with the sentiments expressed by McNeely, Kidwell, Trump, or Robinson. 

The actions taken against McNeely and Kidwell by the GOP leadership is the exception, not the rule. The party generally tolerates bigotry. Leaders either ignore it, make excuses for it, or deny it. Very few racists believe that they are racists. Holding Kidwell and McNeely accountable shows that they know better even if they won’t act on it. That’s both cowardice and a moral failing.


  1. Ain't Nepotism Great?

    What is interesting is it appears McNeely took over a business started by his parents. He must be one of those people that was born on 3rd base and thinks he hit a triple.

    • ringlet86

      what was the business?

  2. cocodog

    The US Dept of Energy has done extensive research on offshore wind farms. The research indicates: They are highly efficient as offshore breezes tend to be stronger and more consistent. A difference of three mph on the plus side can produce a far greater amount of electricity than a land-based wind farm and do it for a longer period. The downside is offshore farms are costly and difficult to maintain. The cost of running cable from the wind farm to shore is far greater. But this is offset by the ever-growing number of customers living at or near the shoreline. Environmental studies are incomplete as to the effect on sea life. The major complaint comes from real estate developers and residents. Wind farms detract from the view. This affects the property values and tourist industry. However, with the advancement in the offshore wind farm industry these expenses will be reduced.
    Being a shoreline property owner, the presence of a half dozen White Sharks ranging in weight from four hundred to two thousand pounds swimming around in the waters in front of my property concerns me more than a windmill. More efficiency, which will reduce the costs. The reduction of fossil fuel produced energy is a big plus for this state. Moreover, decrease the likelihood of major hurricanes. They are a necessity. It would be silly for Republicans to block their development.

    • ringlet86

      I’ve no issue with them, as long as we have iron clad money for maintenance and removal if/when they break or are worn out. The money for removal needs to be in escrow held by a third party etc. So a company can’t declare bankruptcy and leave the state holding the bag.

      I doubt they can be economically viable really given the harsh environment and costs to keep them running, but if they can make it work, and the state isn’t left holding the bag. Sure give it a shot. More energy is always a good thing.

  3. Matthew Eisley

    Not only do some oil rig fans manage to disparage wind farms, but also the photo JLF used to depict its recent story is deceptive. The story’s tabloid-style headline: “Spoiled Beach Views from Massive Offshore Wind Turbine Arrays Would Cripple Tourism.”

    That might be true somewhere, but it’s not the reality in North Carolina.

    The story’s illustrative photo by a Dutch photographer ( appears to be of the Windpark Egmond aan Zee wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands. It’s 10 kilometers offshore — or six miles. No wonder the turbines are so visible in the photo.

    In North Carolina, by contrast, the proposed wind farm zones under active consideration (Wilmington East and Kitty Hawk) would be roughly 20 to 30 miles offshore — three to five times as far away as those depicted in the JLF piece, and barely visible even on clear days.

    Resorting to a misleading photo betrays a lack of confidence in the argument, it seems to me.

    By the way: The owner of Windpark Edmond aan Zee? Shell Oil.

    Said Adriana Stam, the Dutch coastal region’s tourism director, of offshore wind farms: “They don’t affect our tourists on the beaches.”

    Talk about blowing in the wind.

    • ringlet86

      The issue I read about wind farms is they don’t generate enough to cover what it took to make them. So they are energy negative.
      Also power from them (when you have it at all) is expensive, and they break.

      Still we could have them off NC coast, but I would want for them what they do with the roads. That would be Bonds.
      I’ll assume you guys know what I am talking about.

      If you don’t know ask.

  4. cocodog

    Back in the good old days, Republican politicians followed the advice of Lee Atwater, which cautioned them to avoid using the N word, or do not call a person a Jew.
    The better way according to Atwater is to say indirectly what is a vulgar, unacceptable statement if uttered directly. Just use words like “forced bussing,” “two basket welfare recipients” or “international money manipulator.”
    Historically Republican followers have not done well when it comes to airport restrooms, lizards from outer space and old “take back your country” They usually wind-up resigning, going to jail or both. The most recent examples have been the leader of the Republican thug army, (Oath Keepers) and his second in command. Eighteen and twelve years in the slammer. Their spiritual leader and orange hair clown, old “stand back and stand down” is about to join them in what should be relabeled the Trump Wing of Club Fed. according to one of his former attorneys, Cobb. The warden can bring them all together in what has been named the Jan 6 choir. They could make recording for sale in the gift shop with the proceeds going to families of those police officers killed and injured at that Jan 6 fiasco. Donnie would make a great soprano if he could remember the lines to the star-spangled banner. But, I am sure he will cut an impressive figure in his orange jump suit and matching hair color. So he could stand there and move his lips. No need to remember words.

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