This piece was first published on July 31, 2013 and is part of our Best of PoliticsNC 2013 series. If you enjoy reading PoliticsNC, please consider a donation to help keep us afloat.
Yesterday, Pat McCrory gave a plate of cookies to a group of women protesting in front of the governor’s mansion. It angered the protesters and lit up traditional and social media sites. The women sent the cookies back and considered the gesture condescending, according theNews & Observer.
I think they got it wrong, though. The episode aptly defines Pat McCrory. He wasn’t trying to be condescending. He was trying to be nice.
Pat McCrory just wants to be liked. His effort was sincere but full of the same naivety that he’s shown throughout his term. Essentially, he used cookies as an olive branch. Pathetic, but not mean.
After seven months in office, McCrory still doesn’t understand the world in which he’s operating. State politics is more bruising than Charlotte politics in the best of times. But he’s thrown his lot with a group of people who are stripping away rights and dismantling successful institutions that took years, even decades, to build. Unfortunately, he’s not bright enough to understand what they are doing or the impact on the people who oppose it. In the fight for the soul of our state, McCrory is a hapless spectator who still doesn’t understand the rules of the game or what’s ultimately at stake.
In Charlotte, McCrory listened to his handlers in the business community and they generally steered him in the right direction. They had their own quality of life to protect. He did what they wanted, the city flourished and McCrory was generally well liked, even respected.
In Raleigh, McCrory’s handlers have made him the patsy. They’ve turned his campaign promises into lies and made him one of the most conservative governors in the country. If he understood political ideology, he’d be pissed. If he understood the damage they’ve done, he’d understand the outrage. But he doesn’t.
He simply sees people outside his house waving signs and chanting slogans who are obviously mad at him. His response? Give ‘em cookies. That’s his way of saying, “No hard feelings.” Bless his heart.
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 >
Why is offering an “olive branch” pathetic? Only extremist would take offense. Just goes to show how polarizing politics can be.
Offering an olive branch is not pathetic. Using a plate of cookies as a peace offering shows an almost incomprehensible lack of understanding on the part of the Governor.
I guess I also have an “incomprehensible lack of understanding”…why can’t an act of kindness be just that?
First of all, politics is not about kindness. It never has been and it never will be. It’s about interests and issues. But let me offer you an analogy. Say you start a rose garden. Everyday, you nurture and grow it and expand it for thirty years. It flourishes and becomes something the whole neighborhood is proud of. Suddenly, some folks decide they want to make rose gardens illegal and zone yours in a right-of-way. The guy running for city council comes to you house and says there’s absolutely no way he’s going to let them bulldoze your rose garden. A week after he’s elected, without talking to you or anyone else in the neighborhood, he arrives with a bulldozer, tears up your thirty years worth of work and paves over it. When you start complaining, he offers you a plate of cookies and says, “No hard feelings.” Maybe you would let bygones be bygones, but most people wouldn’t. And that’s what happened to those women protesting.