Learn to compromise

by | Mar 15, 2017 | Editor's Blog, HB2, North Carolina | 10 comments

After four years of controlling every branch of state government, Republicans in North Carolina are having a hard time understanding compromise and bipartisanship. They’ve passed legislation at will with very little successful resistance. That power led to overreach on bills like their voter suppression law and HB2. As voters tire of hyper-partisan rhetoric and gridlock, the GOP could pay a price for their intransigence.

Yesterday, Democrats in the House tried to move an HB2 repeal bill forward. It was a long-shot but at least they’re trying. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson offered an amendment to a banking bill that would have repealed HB2. Speaker Tim Moore said the amendment didn’t apply to the subject of the bill and ruled it out of order. Jackson appealed but his motion failed on a party line vote.

Republicans are trying desperately to shift the blame for the HB2 stalemate to Democrats but it’s not working. There are currently two bills filed in the House to repeal HB2. One is a clean repeal bill and the other is a so-called compromise bill put together by Republican legislator Chuck McGrady. Both bills are bottled up in the Rules committee, a place that bills go to die.

McGrady offered the bill initially as a starting point, but now it’s a take-it-or-leave-it option. That’s not compromise. Compromise happens when two sides of an issue get together and hammer out a solution.

If Republicans really wanted to get rid of House Bill 2, Speaker Moore should let the two bills move through the committee process. Maybe the legislators on the committees could find a solution. Maybe if the repeals bills got a little daylight instead of being shut up in a nonfunctioning committee, they would grow into something that could satisfy both sides—or at least get enough votes to remove our pariah status with businesses and entertainment groups.

Really, what do Republicans have to lose? They’re going to get the blame for lost business and revenue caused by HB2. They can’t credibly say that they have enough power to strip power from the governor and the court system and then say it’s Democrats’ fault they can’t pass a repeal bill.

Republicans haven’t needed Democratic support for four years. Now they do. They should learn how to compromise.


  1. Jay ligon

    The real work of governing is making decisions about who will be burdened by the costs of public policies and who will benefit from those policies.

    Conservatives fight hard to minimize the cost of government programs because the greatest burden usually falls on those who have the means to pay for policies. Real conservatives are usually rich. Poor conservatives are useful idiots. They shouldn’t vote they way they do, but the rich toss out some click-bait for them, like school prayer, or getting rid of Muslims or building big walls, or Freedom! Freedom to chose to die without insurance, freedom to be poisoned by toxic air and water, and the freedom to die from carcinogens. Freedom is a big one.

    Beyond tax cuts and reduction of benefits, there is no magic to governing from the right. So Republicans like to pursue hobby legislation to divert attention from the grim work of keeping the poor as poor as possible and making sure the rich keep as much of their money as possible.

    Lately, their hobby has been HB2, a program which has no intrinsic budget impact at all. Like endorsing “family values,” HB2 promises something which costs nothing, a vague reassurance that no harm will come to children from weird people.

    “Family values” was a feel-good phrase as was “1,000 points of light.” Pretty words with no substance. Republicans, as a group, are just as immoral and faithless in their marital relations as Democrats, some maybe more so, and just as likely to be caught with a boy or a male prostitute as some of them have been.

    “Family Values” and “1,000 Points of Light” were the product of focus groups, people who pushed buttons when words pleased or displeased them. Collectively, words moved a needle and produced endorphins, like heroin. There were no public policies attached to them only emotions.

    HB2 is substance-free legislation. For the gay-hating fundamentalists, the justification for the law produces endorphins and it sounds akin to a worthwhile endeavor. Republicans assume a heroic stance like Knights of the Outhouse. We are all safer from…something bad.

    • Stephen Lewis, Sr.

      Jay this is America and you are entitled to believe whatever you choose. Having said that the comments you said above reflect why the Democrats struggle to get rural white voters in the state anymore. It should be said that not too many years ago the Democrats did quite well at getting those same voters to vote for them. Candidates like Jim Hunt, Marc Basnight, even a young Roy Cooper, if the Democrats want to win again like they used to they need to calm down the rhetoric that you are spewing.

      • Troy

        You’re not wrong Stephen; we are entitled to think as we wish. However, while condemning Jay’s commentary, you offer nothing to show that his thoughts are necessarily wrong other than collecting votes.

        I happen to agree with Jay’s analysis. It’s a common theme that most who have commented here on a regular basis tend to agree on; how one can vote against ones’ own interest. Yet, it’s done time and time again. The litmus test of proof is looking at the controlling party in the legislature and in the nation. Nothing being done or that has been done by this President or by the former governor and the current legislature is of benefit to a majority of the people. Quite the contrary.

        Do Democrats own some responsibility for the outcomes of past few election cycles? I’m not sure or completely convinced they do wholly. They have certainly been beaten in the propaganda war with Republicans. Given the latest offerings from our President and his cabinet members, it would seem that Democrats, as a general rule, aren’t as loathe to lie, cheat, and just plain make stuff up and disseminate it at will. How else can you rationalize lying under oath, making up lies and spewing them about on Twitter. Where else can you adopt a new paradigm of alternate plus facts, which is lying by any other name, and calling it truth. In any other reality, surreptitiously meeting with other state actors who are not allied to you or even remotely close to being considered “friend” would be considered treason, unless you’re a Republican in this country. Here however, there are cries in the street to imprison you for having a private e-mail server if you’re a Democrat. Something that we now know many Republicans do or have done as well.

        So while Trump and Company dismantle environmental protections, worker and labor protections, increase the tax burden on the lower income brackets, ensure a dumbing down of at least the next two generations by stripping education to provide private funding for the privileged, the misguided believers of the Republican party continue on, hoodwinked to what is being done to them, bringing these people to power or letting them perpetuate their own narrow-mindedness.

        • Stephen Lewis, sr

          Troy you like to write a lot and no we don’t see things the same way. But I do wish to see the Democrats return to there majority now as for what I think you said. First of all you need votes to win period you don’t win nothing else matters. Secondly it is up to each individual to determine there own self interest not you or anyone else. The voters may not believe there self interest is the same as yours. Thirdly I have many friends and some relatives, including my daughter in law, who are big Trump supporters. We get along just fine in spite of political differences. You would serve unselfish better to see them as people who are just trying to make a better life for themselves living by some combination of man and God’s rules. At heart these Trump supporters are not that different than many Democrats.

          Finally to say that the Democrats are not responsible for there loses, at least I th8nk you said that, we’ll keep telling yourself that but that fact of the matter is we have lost the message war because we temporarily lost touch with reality I belive I am part of a group trying to bring the party back to reality. Not sure where y9u are right now.

          • Troy

            Fair enough; although I’m not sure that I “like” to write. Indeed, votes are needed to prevail. Although as we’ve seen a couple of times in this century already, you can be on the bottom side of the vote tally and still prevail. To me, the relevant question at this point is, to what extent are you willing to go in order to procure votes? If you’re willing to lie, cheat, and steal, compromise all that you believe and supposedly stand for, then yes, nothing else does matter. How can you stand as a principled and humble servant of the people however and unequivocally state that nothing else matters but votes?

            Indeed each person must determine their own self-interest. To what extent however is that self-interest determined on the basis of “alternate facts,” lies, half-truth, sound bytes, and a strategic, leveraged, and intentional flood of dis-information? Decisions are only as good or valid as the information they are based upon.

            When I talk about self-interest, it is not in the sense of greed or selfishness. If that were true, I’d spend 2, 000 words extoling the virtues of Ronald Reagan (although, I think my computer would burst into flames before I finished). But rather self-interest as it applies to us, our homes, our families, our friends, co-workers and colleagues; those that matter in our lives. Self-interest in the sense of providing for the most basic of needs so that we are removed from the want and squalor that was the legacy of many of our ancestors. Sadly, poverty still is at a high percentage in the United States today. I’m speaking of people who work hard every day and just can’t seem to catch a break of get ahead because the rules are constantly stacked against them and in favor of the wealthiest among us. That’s what I’m talking about. And that’s all I’m trying to do as well. Make my family’s life comfortable so that I can exist without want or need and help make this world better than what I found it. In that regard

            In today’s world view of “you’re either for me or against me,” that follows a logical linear progression to politics. I said “…responsible wholly” but whatever. Did the Democrat party disengage and loose the message? Indeed they did. Did they turn away from the working blue collar classes? They did. If that is the reality of which you speak, I whole heartedly agree; I’ve likewise said as much here and on more than one occasion. While Trump supporters are not that different than many Democrats there’s one thing they’re missing that most Democrats I know have a firm grasp on. Republicans are not friendly to the work-a-day everyday people that voted for them and enabled to become the leviathan they presently are. If you doubt that, look at their history from the late 19th through the early 20th century up to the Great Depression. If you want to debate fine points, the best summation I can offer about it here at the moment is, “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” That sir, was the Republican party then; that is the Republican party now. They were the party of the robber barons then and they still are.

            That’s where I’m at Stephen. What is your reality?

      • Apply Liberally

        Actually, the Dems do not need those “rural white voters” in the state to win again. Yes, it would be “gravy” to reap more votes from rural areas, but they can harvest more than enough votes from the urban and suburban areas of the state to retake the NCGA majority. The only reason why they have not returned to that majority since 2011 is not for lack of votes from non-metro counties, but rather due to the egregious and illegal gerrymandering of electoral districts by the NCGOP.

        • Stephen Lewis, sr


          Yes the districts are not fair I agree. I don’t other think though the party can get back to the majority with only urban votes. The numbers are not there. We either need suburbs or rural votes and right now we don’t have either of them.

        • Ebrun

          Wow, talk about an alternate reality, you just personified the left’s inability to understand their political opposition in NC. Rural voters are a misnomer. They are voters in NC counties dominated by small-and medium-sized urban areas like Hickory, Lenoir, Burlington, New Bern, Goldsboro, Gastonia, Jacksonville, etc., and suburban, or perhaps you prefer exurban, counties like Johnston, Union, and the urbanized corridor between Charlotte and the Triad.

          Democratic political strength is heavily concentrated in just eight metropolitan counties dominated by the state’s largest cities. While these big city counties will occasionally give Democrats a statewide election victory, as long as there voting districts based on population, Democrats will be in the minority in the General Assembly and the NC delegation to the U.S. Congress.

  2. willard cottrell

    Republicans are NOT interested. They don’t have to be. I listened to Burger’s reply to the governor,s speech. According to him, everything is fine and we’re not dealing. Until gerrymandering is eliminated this will be wishful thinking.

    • Stephen Lewis, Sr.

      I am not so sure. If Gov Cooper were able to he should get Speaker Moore and someone from the NC Chamber of Commerce leadership team together and work out some kind of bill together. While a clean repeal is a pipe dream some on the left refuse to give up on, I think something that could reflect the economics of where we are would be different.

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