Not knowing why anyone would want our economy to look like a prairie-state slaughterhouse, I supported both of the governor’s vetoes. Then, of course, the legislature came back, gave Big Agribusiness and Randian nutjobs what they wanted, and humiliated Pat McCrory. It was a grimly satisfying sight, on two levels. One is obvious, the other is that it reinforces the case that McCrory cannot right his own ship.

First, a note on the vetoes. McCrory was right to try to spare public-assistance applicants from drug tests. On the matter of E-Verify, it is striking to see some liberals line alongside corporate America. The idea that American citizens are too meek to do difficult jobs is a Chamber of Commerce talking point. In this very state, hundreds of people volunteer to work in harsh conditions at poultry processing plants. Yes, most of us support a path to citizenship for those here illegally, but until that happens rogue employers must be prosecuted.

Anyway, McCrory just demonstrated a consummate lack of judgment. Not only did he act too weakly, too late, he set himself up for guaranteed failure. He should have known there was no chance these vetoes would be sustained. Punishing poor people is the GA’s lifeblood. On the other hand, the business lobby holds great sway overall and is dominant in the agricultural arena. Does he really think rural Republicans fear him more than them?

This is where people like Jim Jenkins go wrong. They present sensible plans for putting the governorship back on track, assuming that any competent politician could put them into practice. About that they are right. About McCrory they are wrong. The governor is fundamentally incompetent, and no stretch of gaffe-free communications can save him from himself.

 

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