When HB2 was passed in March, it was conservatives who were united and progressives who were divided over the issue in North Carolina. As many will recall, the law was passed with several Democratic votes in the state House.
Now, less than two months later, things have changed dramatically. While progressives have come together in concluding that the new law is a legal and political disaster and around proposals to repeal it, conservatives are all over the place. Some want to repeal it, some want to rewrite it, some want to double down with the law and some just want the whole thing to go away.
The two poster children for the last two categories are clearly Governor Pat McCrory and Senator Richard Burr. In recent days, McCrory appears to have abandoned his former stance as a reluctant HB2 warrior and gone all in with the law — apparently deciding that he will make his reelection campaign a referendum on the discriminatory law.
Burr, on the other hand, seems to have no such interest. For the most part, he has distanced himself from the law — at one point responding to a reporter’s question about the issue by declaring “Oh, I’m not getting into that crap.”
Now, yesterday, Burr specifically rejected Gov. McCrory’s repeated suggestion that the solution to North Carolina’s dilemma lies in congressional action. This is from a story yesterday on the Washington news site, Roll Call:
“North Carolina’s senior senator said his state’s Gov. Pat McCrory is “off base” in calling for congressional intervention to resolve a state dispute over restroom access for transgender people.
‘I’ve never seen Congress get involved in judicial matters and this is turned over to the court system now,’ Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr said Tuesday. ‘So, I think the governor’s off base.’”
Burr’s stance of just wanting the whole thing to go away was, of course, echoed yesterday by the conservative pols running the University of North Carolina.
The bottom line: It’s looking more and more like HB2 could end up being just as destructive a force amongst North Carolina conservatives in 2016 as a certain New York real estate magnate. Stay tuned.