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.


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