If you haven’t listened to Pat McCrory’s “State of Things” interview, you should make time for it. At first, you have the pleasure of hearing Frank Stasio dismantle McCrory’s arguments point by point. More significantly, McCrory’s mediocre performance reveals a lot about why he is not a successful governor.

The venue of the interview is itself a throwback to when McCrory looked promising. As a Republican, he has distinguished himself by addressing audiences–like NPR–that extremists like Paul Stam would never pay notice to. McCrory tries the same moves that impressed the Starbucks demographic on Stasio, smoothly responding to nuanced questions and using buzzwords. This time, however, the interviewer sees through his smoke and mirrors routine.

His failure does not owe solely to the experience of the last six months. It’s also because he can’t adjust to a more demanding journalistic style. Unlike local media, Stasio refuses to let McCrory charm him into forgetting about substance. Governor McCrory once again appears shocked that sweet nothings and a winning grin no longer neutralize tough questions. With these ploys off limits, McCrory has no answers to offer.

So Stasio lays his ineptitude bare. McCrory, unhappy that he’s not being fawned over, gets agitated. This makes him look more out of his depth. Unable to entrance Stasio with charisma, McCrory obstinately tries to drag the interview back onto his own turf. It worked when he was a mayor/television personality, but statewide this type of desperate chumminess just makes him look helpless.

Granted, theatre criticism like what’s in this post yields no great insights into the world. However, given that McCrory is more media product than leader, his failed interview shows us something about why his governorship is failing. He has no substance, and he can’t fend for himself. It’s that simple.

Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.

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