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Another baffling performance by the Governor

Pat McCrory 4 [1]Another day and another strange and troubling moment for Governor McCrory. 

Today’s came when the Governor charged into the press room at the state Administration Building to read a four-and-a-half minute statement [2] in response to the announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that it would be adding North Carolina to the list of states it has sued in recent years for unlawfully suppressing voting rights.

While there was much in the statement itself that fell short — the Governor seemed, for instance, not to remember that his voter suppression law includes multiple provisions spread out over 49 pages [3] and is about a lot more than just voter ID requirements [4] — there were at least two other items about the event that had to leave observers shaking their heads:

#1 – The Governor took no questions from the media. To which all a body can say in response is “What the heck?” You summon the cameras and reporters all the way over to your office and then can’t even deign to answer a few questions? Obviously, the Guv has made no secret of his disdain for the media [5], but this is important stuff. The citizens have a right to know what their Governor is thinking and whether he really even understands what he is talking about. You’ll remember that in the past, the Guv announced he would sign the voter suppression bill before he’d even read the entire thing [6]. Sadly, today, we failed to learn whether he had ever finished reading it.

#2 – The Governor, regrettably, appeared to tell another little white lie during his few minutes at the podium. McCrory began the statement by stating that he had received word of the Attorney General’s action against North Carolina while driving back from a visit to the North Carolina Zoo that he made this morning. You can see it in the video here [2]. To which all a body can say in response is “Say what? You found out on your way back from the zoo?”

Governor, the story broke in multiple news outlets late Sunday night [7]. How could you have just found out about it on your way back from the zoo today?

While it’s true that Attorney General Holder’s official announcement of the suit [8] didn’t come till noon today, McCrory’s claim that that he had just gotten word of the action was simply not credible — especially since he also announced that he had already taken action to hire outside lawyers to fight the suit. He did that since getting back from Asheboro?!

Though obviously minor, this little blip is just another disturbing example of the Governor’s penchant for — how shall we put this politely? — embellishing things a little.

As veteran politico Gary Pearce noted back in July [9], McCrory likes to say “what he thinks will impress the person in front of him.”  Today’s performance appeared to be another classic example. It was much more dramatic to claim that he had just gotten word of the USDOJ suit moments before he rushed in, tieless, to read a statement to reporters. But, of course, this was clearly false. Unless the Governor’s assistants are complete boobs, McCrory knew all about the suit days ago.

The bottom line: As with virtually every one of his public performances in recent months, today’s brief appearance raises even more questions about the Governor’s grasp of what it means to be trusted with power the citizens have vested in him. For all of our sake, let’s hope he finds a way to reverse this trend very soon.