It’s been great to see Gov. McCrory veto two major pieces of legislation in as many days. His rejection of the absurd bill to re-institute marriage discrimination and the overly-broad proposal to limit free speech by employees who witness objectionable things in their workplaces (aka the “Ag Gag” bill) constitutes a welcome departure from his normal posture vis a vis the General Assembly — i.e. serving mostly as a doormat.
That said, there are two obvious next steps for the Governor if he wants this little episode to amount to anything more than just a brief and quickly forgotten hiccup in the Raleigh policy battles.
First, he needs to veto the dangerous anti-abortion bill that lawmakers will send to him next week. The Guv promised during his 2012 campaign that he would approve no more restrictions on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion and there is simply no way to spin House Bill 465 as anything other than just that.
Second, he needs to take the next step and figure out a way to use the hint of a backbone he’s recently discovered as means of becoming the kind of leader who can effectively negotiate with the General Assembly before it ever gets to the point at which he has to use the veto. The Guv is (or, at least, ought to be) the most visible and powerful Republican in North Carolina. That he has been so utterly inept in driving or even managing the agenda of a legislature controlled by members of his own party might just be unprecedented in recent state history. Until not that long ago, Gov. Jim Hunt exercised enormous control over a General Assembly of his party without the power to veto.
The bottom line: Two and a half years into his term, Pat McCrory has begun to learn how to crawl as Governor. If he wants to stand, walk upright and lead, he needs to do a lot more.