Fly on the wall

by | Sep 5, 2013 | Editor's Blog, NCGov | 3 comments

Pat McCrory is truly a hapless politician. After eight months in office he can’t get much right. This week’s veto override session is just the latest example.

McCrory wanted the theatrics of a couple of vetoes to prove that he’s tough and independent. Instead, the legislature’s quick and easy override of both vetoes showed him to be weak and insignificant. It was a pitiful show.

The governor chose to veto two pieces of legislation that few people noticed and fewer cared about. In trying to rally support, he sent out a series of tweets explaining his vetoes and created the hashtag #sustainthevetoes. Unfortunately, almost nobody but McCrory used the hashtag and not even his most ardent supporters retweeted his appeals.

If McCrory really wanted to show independence, he should have vetoed high-profile legislation like the voter suppression bill, the anti-abortion bill or the budget. He could have garnered support from unlikely allies and proven to the independent voters he’s losing that he is, in fact, independent. Can you imagine the crowds in Raleigh if any one of those bills was brought up again? He could use a few strange bedfellows after what the familiar ones have done to him.

Those vetoes may have been overridden, too, but McCrory could have changed his public perception. Instead of the hapless politician, he might be seen as a moderate man of principle–the image he should be pursuing. For McCrory, it was another missed opportunity to change the arc of his administration.

Instead, he’s left with the damning video of him making a promise about abortion restrictions and promptly breaking it. He’s got a voter suppression bill that is firing up his opposition’s base. And virtually every teacher in North Carolina feels betrayed by him.

McCrory has proven himself to be little more than a fly on the wall of government who occasionally gets swatted. In a profile of the governor, John Hood told Rob Christensen that McCrory got most of his agenda passed but that only happened because Thom Tillis and Phil Berger wanted it, too. If he’s going to stand up to these two, McCrory should do it over something that matters, build some new relationships and try to make himself relevant. Otherwise, he’s just a spectator.


  1. Heather Stancil

    Given that those two bills were philosophically and politically consistent with every single bill that he has supported and signed up to now, his whining about their passage makes him even more pathetic. If that’s possible.

  2. Paleo Tek

    I think the last sentence sums it up: “He’s just a spectator.” Tone deaf, and with no evident ability to assemble coalitions, maintain allies, or negotiate deals, McCrory is left high and dry. The position of governor has enough prestige that he’ll get press when he makes statements, but given that his communications team is apparently a patronage shop for overpaid College Republicans, that is a mixed blessing. He looks increasingly irrelevant, but that won’t stop the Dems from using him as a whipping boy (he is, after all, the low hanging fruit on the political tree of NC). The NCGA bypassed him, and he let that happen. Now, making himself germane to the rural radicals running the show seems pretty unlikely. They don’t respect him, and they don’t fear him. So why should they care what he thinks? Stay tuned for “Governor McCrory 2: The Quest for Relevancy!”

    • Thomas Mills

      Exactly. Love the “overpaid College Republicans” bit. How appropriate.

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