Pat McCrory just can’t help himself. He has to get in the last word. This time, he’s written a letter explaining–and defending–his actions that resulted in a cook being fired from a Charlotte restaurant.

McCrory needs to learn when to drop the story. The whole thing was truly a tempest in a teapot except that McCrory and his people won’t let it go. If they had shut up, it would be over by now. Instead, the governor is just reinforcing the perception that he’s thin-skinned.

And since he wants to keep talking about it, I’m game. Let’s dissect the letter. It really does give a lot of insight into McCrory’s view of the world and how little he understands about the political dialogue.

He starts out by letting us know that the cook shot him the bird. Ok, so the guy’s an asshole and McCrory is just an innocent victim of crude behavior. It’s a theme we see a lot in this governor–McCrory the victim vs. the uncouth meanies.

Next, McCrory just shook it off. No big deal. Comes with the territory. Yeah, right. That’s just not believable. Otherwise, why would the governor be writing a letter to the largest newspaper in the state a week after it happened? It obviously got under his skin in a big way and he’s still not over it.

Then he shifts to finger-wagging at the press for covering the incident in the first place and not focusing on the “majority of employees from the public and private sectors who every day care for and treat people with respect, customer service and dignity.” Two things are apparent here. McCrory thinks the story was about the cook. It wasn’t. It was about McCrory. Second, for better or worse, the press doesn’t cover dog-bites-man stories. They cover stories that get attention. A man getting fired for mouthing off at the governor is a story. And it would have been a short one if the governor had handled it better.

Finally, McCrory gets back to his theme of civility. He still doesn’t understand the political environment.  He signed into law bills that targeted minorities and young people to keep them from voting. His party pushed a ban on marriage equality that clearly and indisputably discriminates against gay people. And he lied when he promised that he would not sign bills reducing access to abortion. And now he wants to say, “No hard feelings”? That’s not the way the world works.

Instead of putting the matter to rest, the letter properly defines McCrory. He’s a thin-skinned governor who sees himself as a hapless victim of an irresponsible press and who is trying to rise above the fray while restoring civility to the public debate. The first part is self-pity. The second is pure fantasy.

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >

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