For those out there who had any doubt that the North Carolina Republican Party has fully embraced Trumpism and all of its ugly and frightening entrails, be sure to catch the “alternative facts” press conference conducted yesterday by party executive director Dallas Woodhouse and his carnival barker sidekick, party chairman Robin Hayes. Reporter Kirk Ross has posted the entire 17 minute embarrassment to his Facebook page.
There are lots of bizarre, through-the-looking glass moments in the event. Woodhouse, for instance, has become so enmeshed in the far right echo chamber that he has essentially turned all of his public speaking appearances into exercises in which simply shouts strings of phrases designed to push the buttons of the tin foil hat crowd.
For my money, though the most absurd/Trumpist moments had to have involved the truly insane assertion that Governor Cooper is somehow responsible for HB2 and the failure of the GOP-dominated General Assembly to repeal it. Like their new hero, the Prevaricator-in-Chief, Woodhouse and Hayes seem to believe that they can make blatant falsehoods true simply by shouting them loudly and repeatedly.
As Colin Campbell of Raleigh’s News & Observer reports this morning, the two claimed that it was Cooper’s duty to come up with some kind of “compromise” on HB2 short of full repeal. But when reporters pressed the two men on why GOP legislative leaders didn’t just allow a straight, “up or down” vote on a simple and full repeal of the law (something that many observers believe would pass with a combination of Republican and Democratic votes), both started hemming and hawing and trying to claim “no legislature in America works that way.” Right: no legislature that favors democracy and human decency, that is.
Outrageous moment #2 came when Woodhouse started screaming about Attorney General Josh Stein’s courageous intervention in the national lawsuit challenging Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban. One really hasn’t experienced modern American politics at their bottom-of-the-barrel worst until one listens to Woodhouse expound on the Constitution and his belief that because the president can “blow up airports in the Middle East” if he feels like it and that, therefore, he certainly can close our borders to any religious group he feels like targeting. Somewhere, Joe McCarthy and George Wallace were smiling.
No check that, one has to think that even McCarthy and Wallace would have been embarrassed by such a pathetic performance.
The bottom line: As with Trump himself, one is tempted to dismiss yesterday’s bizarre show as so over-the-top ridiculous that, surely, at some point soon, the entire edifice of the state GOP will come crashing down around Woodhouse and Hayes. Unfortunately, as we continue to learn at the national level, purveyors of “alternative facts” are gleefully pushing the envelope into new and uncharted territory with few negative ramifications. Stay tuned.