Former advisor to Presidents Reagan, Ford, Nixon and Clinton blasts NC GOP leaders

David Gergen's Profile Photo

Image: twitter.com

In case you missed it over the weekend, a veteran of three Republican White Houses with longstanding ties to North Carolina called on his native state to repeal HB2 over the weekend. In a commencement speech at Elon University, David Gergen called on state leaders to repeal the law, which he described as taking the state “backwards” and “damaging” its reputation. This is from a CNN story:

“Straying from the norm of giving personal advice while acknowledging some would disagree, CNN political analyst David Gergen blasted North Carolina’s Republican Party during his Elon University Commencement address Saturday, calling for the repeal of the highly controversial House Bill 2.

He spoke of how far North Carolina had come from when Gergen grew up in the state, when racism was prevalent and industries were poor, only to go ‘backwards’ with legislation like HB2.

‘We are not only damaging our reputation, but putting our fellow citizens at risk,’ Gergen said.

Gergen went on to blast the state’s GOP leadership on an array of issues. This is from the speech itself, which you can read in its entirety by clicking here.

“Let’s be clear: the people elected to state office got there fair and square. They had the gumption to run for public office and voters chose them to serve. I am sure most of these newcomers also meant well.

But the signals coming out of the State Capitol in Raleigh have sent a thunderous message rolling out across America: that North Carolina is no longer a pioneer in advancing people of color, people who are gay, people living on the margins. Instead, many here want to go back, far back to a darker time.

This is not the place to re-litigate each and every issue but what other message did state legislators intend when they:

— seriously restricted access to voting;

— embraced a constitutional amendment to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians;

— placed more restrictions on abortion;

— enacted a flatter tax imposing heavier burdens on the less fortunate and lightening burdens for the wealthy;

— rejected federal funding for Medicaid and unemployment benefits;

— and cut funds for public schools as well as state universities, our pride and joy.

This is not the North Carolina that we all loved — a North Carolina dedicated to equal opportunity and a growing, inclusive prosperity.

Now, incredibly, we have wandered into a needless fight over the bathroom rights of transgender people. It is hard to believe that we have broken two of the cardinal rules of politics — first, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Second, leave as much power as you can in the hands of local people.

Until now, nothing seemed really broken. In the few instances when problems arose, good folks in places like Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh found ways to settle them without fanfare.

But the sudden rush by the state legislature to pass a law imposing a one-size-fits-all solution — and worse yet, a solution that seems to punish transgender people — has made North Carolina the poster child of backward-looking leadership. Now we are in the same headlines as Mississippi.”

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