Give him credit. Tim Moore knows how to use social media, or at least one of the folks on his team is doing a great job. We should expect as much given the lucrative salaries associated with working for the Speaker of the House, whose office alone accounts for more than $1.1 million of taxpayer funded salaries in the General Assembly. So, enjoy his handsome posts on Facebook and Twitter; you’re paying for them.
It seems like the posts come pouring out of Mister Speaker’s accounts whenever he gets into hot water, which is pretty much every week in these tumultuous times for the third-term Speaker. Although there were plenty of reasons not to, Republicans in the House (and, appallingly, two Democrats) voted to return the gavel to Tim Moore for two more years. Numerous awful policy decisions notwithstanding, the Speaker of the House is the proud owner of numerous ethics complaints, and is or was the subject of both SBI and FBI scrutiny. Not good!
Where he falls short ethically, he compensates by procuring the reddest of meat for his base supporters. Take the example given in the first link above, from Longleaf Politics. Moore’s team threw together an “article” with sharp graphics, a clear message and a compelling title. It works, and it garnered thousands of shares. What’s more, when writing about oneself, the author tends to be a bit more favorable than objective news sources. Harnessing social media effectively has allowed Speaker Moore to portray his office and himself with rose-colored glasses. Which strikes me as odd, given the actual state of things around him.
That brings me to his most recent post: Speaker Moore Invites President Trump to Deliver State of the Union in North Carolina. In it, Speaker Moore reports that he sent an official letter to the President of these United States and invited him to deliver the State of the Union Address in North Carolina. Look, I’ll save you the suspense: Trump is not going to come to Raleigh to give his State of the Union.
What is interesting about this statement is not that Speaker Moore is inviting the president to speak, but that he released it on Friday, January 18th. Speaker Pelosi rescinded the invitation to Trump on Wednesday. As luck would have it, the N&O reported Friday morning that FBI agents had interviewed former GOP Rep. John Blust about Speaker Moore and his self-serving work as a private attorney while serving in the legislature. There are plenty of articles out there to paint a fuller picture, but the general thrust is that Moore had clients that benefitted from legislation he ushered through committees. The whole situation has a quid pro quo vibe to it. The Speaker, of course, says that “The partisan election season is over and it’s really time for us to focus on taking care of the state’s business,” because, as you know, scrutiny of one of the three most powerful men in the state is only allowed in election years.
Speaker Moore’s sleight of hand may play well with his core supporters, but there remains a vast majority of the state that pays more attention to numerous reports of alleged malfeasance than some unlikely invitation. I know the invitation is meant as a smokescreen while his ship slowly continues to sink, but it does have the air of someone that wants to show up on this list.
Kirk Kovach is a native North Carolinian interested in writing about politics, communication and culture.