One thing I learned early in politics is that attacks on opponents must be credible and based in truth, even if they’re exaggerated. It’s why over the top accusations fall flat. They might fire up the people who already agree with you, but they do little to persuade anybody else.
The language of Phil Berger and Tami Fitzgerald of NC Values Coalition is not credible. When the backlash to House Bill 2 began, Berger doubled down claiming that the ordinance was pushed by “…Roy Cooper and his left-wing political correctness mob with their agenda-driven allies in the liberal media, who will never stop trashing North Carolina until they achieve their goal of allowing any man into any women’s bathroom or locker room at any time simply by claiming to feel like a woman.” Fitzgerald chimed in with, “These opponents of privacy and freedom will stop at nothing – until young girls are forced to shower, undress, and use the restrooms with grown men.”
Nobody believes that Roy Cooper wants grown men showering with little girls. And nobody believe that Cooper is the leader of a “leftist mob.” He and his allies didn’t bring up the conversation but now that we’re talking about it, they want to prevent the GOP from overriding local ordinances and stop discrimination against the LGBT community. They also want to restore the rights of people to sue in order to seek justice in incidents of discrimination.
Cooper’s been in office for than 25 years and in the Attorney General’s office for the past 15. If he were way outside of the mainstream people would know it by now. Besides, he’s siding with Bank of American, American Airlines, Google, and host of other large companies and small businesses. Not exactly a “leftist mob.”
On the flip side, though, Phil Berger and his allies like Tami Fitzgerald have only been on the scene for about five years and aren’t well defined in the mind of public. They’re trying to remedy that situation. Berger and his allies are using inflammatory rhetoric that might fire up their base, but alienates most of the rest of us. They are defining themselves as right-wing culture warriors, not thoughtful leaders. Their accusations are not believable and their credibility is sinking. They might take Pat McCrory down with them.
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 >