The abortion bill that was holding everyone’s attention a week ago seems to have disappeared into the bowels of the Senate. Given what’s come out of that body in recent weeks, we should probably all be running for cover to hide from the stench. But I think there’s another possibility. Maybe we’ve seen the last of that bill.
File this theory under the category of wild-assed speculation but hear me out. Right now, there are a lot of powerful Republicans who wish they had never waded into the politics of abortion.
Pat McCrory, in particular, has no good options if this bill comes through the legislature. He made a very public pledge, in a televised debate, not to sign any legislation that would restrict access to abortion. Now, he’s trying to back-peddle by saying that the bill only protects women but doesn’t restrict access to abortion.
It’s bullshit and nobody is buying it. The Charlotte Observer, McCrory’s hometown newspaper, called it a broken promise in a scathing editorial. Meanwhile, the group ProgressNC has a billboard truck traveling to cities across the state with a transcript of McCrory’s on-air promise and the tagline, “A promise is a promise.”
In the past week, McCrory has broken the promise he made in his State of the State address to sign only revenue neutral tax reform and told a bald-faced lie about attending Moral Monday protests. His campaign people must be nervous about him signing the anti-abortion bill. He’s got trust issues already and he’s getting very close, if he hasn’t reached it, to a pattern of deception.
Think George Bush and “Read my lips.” The problem was less about George Bush raising taxes and more about him breaking his word. McCrory can probably survive a primary challenge by disgruntled right-to-lifers, but he’ll have a hard time winning re-election if normal people don’t think they can trust him.
And then there’s Thom Tillis. He wants to be a U. S. Senator in the worst way but before he can get to Washington, he’s got to beat Kay Hagan. Defeating an incumbent is hard enough, but beating a woman while alienating a whole lot of other ones puts it damn close to out of reach. Public Policy Polling shows a wide gender gap that indicates women are plenty pissed at the GOP. Making that bill law certainly won’t soothe those wounds.
The rest of the Republicans in the legislature should be as concerned about that gender gap as Tillis is, but most are too full of self-righteous arrogance and too lacking in gray matter to notice or care. They know that if a deal is reached to deep-six the bill, they’ll get their pound of flesh somewhere else, like in the draconian voter suppression laws that make McCrory uneasy. Rest assured, they’ll screw somebody.
As I say, this is wild-assed speculation, but if that bill disappears for good, this is why.
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 >