Commentary

Editorials blast legislature’s “petty,” “bullying” attacks on Gov. Cooper

The leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly continue to embarrass themselves and the state with their childish attacks on Gov. Roy Cooper. To their credit, the Fayetteville Observer and Raleigh’s News & Observer are taking lawmakers to task for their behavior.

Here’s the Observer in an editorial entitled “Bullying in the year of the veto”:

“We could call it the Year of the Veto. But it’s probably more accurate to use the longer form: the year when good government was sacrificed on the altar of power politics.

Even though Roy Cooper is still a couple of months short of his first full year in office, it’s clear what’s going on. The leadership of the General Assembly has decided that Job No. 1 is slapping the governor down at every opportunity, even when he wants to do something that will protect the health and safety of North Carolina’s residents — Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and independent alike.”

After detailing numerous ways in which legislative leaders have harmed the state for partisan purposes — most notably in the Gen X pollution disaster — the editorial concludes like this:

“We understand the nature of political struggles and the way they are conducted in Raleigh. But we don’t understand why Berger, Moore and their lieutenants are so willing to harm the state’s residents so they can score political points. And don’t tell us the Democrats did it too. You’re right, they did. But the Republicans are in charge now and they’re responsible for the messes we’re in. They took office with a pledge to run a better government than the Democrats did. And they’re failing.”

And here’s the N&O in an editorial entitled “NC’s GOP legislators take petty revenge against Cooper”:

“Roy Cooper committed a Big Sin last November, one that Republican leaders of the General Assembly apparently find unforgivable.

Yes, the veteran attorney general won the governor’s office over a Republican legislators didn’t particularly like, Pat McCrory, but at least he was a Republican. So even though Cooper was a veteran legislator himself before becoming attorney general for four terms, GOP leaders are still pouting. Thus, they’re dragging their heels on approving Cooper’s appointments to boards such as the Utilities Commission, the State Board of Education and the board of the State Employees Retirement system (WRAL reports).

The delays have dragged on for months, and the reason is simple: Cooper is a Democrat, and since before he took office, Republicans have tried to strip that office of power and money any way they could in trying to curb Cooper’s appointive power and budget. Cooper’s still fighting the actions, but he can’t do much about the latest immature, petulant behavior of Republican leaders in simply sitting on their hands and delaying approval of Cooper’s choices on key boards.

But it’s beyond ridiculous partisanship. This is irresponsible, hurting the decision-making process on key boards and defying the governor’s constitutional right to make these appointments. This kind of behavior is a disservice to the people of North Carolina. But maybe Republicans are mad at them, too. They elected Cooper, after all.”

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