Walkin’ that tightrope

by | May 29, 2015 | Abortion, Editor's Blog, Gay Marriage | 4 comments

Pat McCrory vetoed the bill that would allow magistrates to opt out of marrying gay people. Or as Carolina Mercury publisher Kirk Ross said on Facebook, “McCrory announces re-election bid.” Like a lot that happens in Raleigh, McCrory’s veto was as much about politics as it was about policy.

McCrory is running hard to center. In his first year as governor, he went along for the ride while the legislature shifted hard right on both social and fiscal issues. Now, he needs to undo some of the damage and get back to the guy who ran for office in 2012 as the centrist, pro-business Republican.

Next up for the governor is the abortion issue. The legislature is poised to pass one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the country. Throughout McCory’s tenure, social conservatives in the General Assembly have steadily been trying to limit access to the procedure. During a televised debate in the 2012 campaign, McCrory clearly and forcefully pledged not to sign legislation that would limit women’s access to abortion.

McCrory may just decline to sign the bill and let it become law. However, he will face strong criticism if he does. That’s just politics, not leadership, and voters will see through it.

Besides, the campaign issue is not so much abortion as credibility and honesty. If the bill becomes law, McCrory looks like just another politician who will say anything to get elected. Coupled with a number of other errant statements, McCrory clearly comes across as a guy who has trouble with the truth. It’s why we haven’t seen that freewheeling, unscripted governor in awhile.

McCrory has to walk a bit of a tightrope, though. While he’s trying to reclaim the middle, he has to watch his right flank. Social conservatives on twitter bashed him for caving to the “radical gay agenda.”  A veto of the abortion bill might attract a primary challenge. While it probably wouldn’t be successful, it would be a distraction that the governor doesn’t need in what will almost certainly be a tough re-election campaign.


  1. Eilene

    Geoff Z., I don’t think Volvo cared much about our regressive politics one way or the other, honestly. I mean, South Carolina is just as bad, but the money was just so much better. Cheap labor, a honey-pot deal, they’re all in. They are also anti-union, so the labor will stay cheap.

  2. Someone from Main Street

    McCrory did the right thing with the two vetoes (ag-gag and magistrate bills). I am wondering what his polls are telling him – clearly, there seems to be SOME indication somewhere that the Christian version of sharia law the NCGOP has been desperate to implement is not flying with the masses.

    With regard to abortion, McCrory’s already forgotten his promise to keep abortion safe and available. I’ll bet THIS is a bill he’ll let pass.

    It is surprising that the super-party in power is in the midst of a massive fight for the soul of the state right now. I think NC is one of the most politically fascinating states in the country right now. (Of course, the Democrats are on the sidelines…)

  3. Russell Scott Day

    Meantime no mention of any NC raise in the minimum. They took money from the Feds for education pulling out the NC money and therefore making little of anything greater than what is. And then the Corporate Tax reductions will go on instead of being held up a bit so money might go towards rural broadband as Graig Meyer tried to get for the people. It has too long that Governors and leaders are quick to tell all they need not pay the people of NC, or pay for what is rightfully theirs.

  4. Geoff Z

    I agree, ‘disgusted.’ Perhaps the reason Volvo didn’t come to NC was NOT just because the financial package and tax incentives weren’t good enough, but perhaps it was because Volvo doesn’t want to be attached to and associated with a state that is moving so regressively. The NC legislature and McCrory should see the bigger picture and realize that tax breaks alone do not draw business to a state. There are other factors including cultural trends and political trends. If the legislature continues with their rad right slash and burn bill mill, the only company that will be drawn to NC will be hobby lobby!

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