Commentary

HB2 update: Guv flummoxed in Fox interview; Berger letter gets truth edits; N&R sportswriter says McCrory must “stand up”

If anything, the news surrounding North Carolina’s troubled LGBT discrimination law, HB2. has only grown in intensity this week. Here are three items  from just the last few hours:

#1 – Pat McCrory went on Fox News last night to defend the law but found himself getting raked over the coals by host Megyn Kelly. Click here for a summary and below to watch the video:

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#2 – The good folks at the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC have done a fabulous job of editing an April 19 letter from Senate leader Phil Berger in which Berger attempts to defend HB2 to corporate CEOs. Click here to read the on-the-money and often amusing edits.

#3 – Be sure to read an outstanding column in the Greensboro News & Record by sportswriter/columnist Ed Hardin entitled “HB2 is up to you, Governor.” Here’s an excerpt:

“It’s time for the Ragsdale Tiger to do what’s right for his state, not for his political cronies in the state house.

This silly law they’re arguing about has become an embarrassment. They call it HB 2, a proposal that would limit protections for gay, lesbian, transsexual and transgender residents. Around the state, people are referring to it as ‘that bathroom thing.’

People around the country are making fun of us. Here at home, it’s not funny at all.

We’re losing jobs and money. We’re losing tourism and trade.

This needs to end, Governor. And you need to end it….

This is the time of the year when our state is on display. This is the time of year when people from all over the country come to us to get away from politics and play golf or go camping or go fishing at the beach.

Now is the time to embrace what makes us North Carolina, not what some misguided politician holed up inside the General Assembly wants it to be.

Stand up to them, Governor. And stand up for your state.

It’s the right thing to do.

Do it for your people back home, in Jamestown, where the Keyauwee and Catawba lived, where Quakers settled, where the Underground Railroad stopped – where you went to high school.

Esse quam videri.”

Commentary

North Carolina’s perpetually aggrieved governor

Pat McCrory 4There have been a lot of troubling and ultimately destructive things about the governorship of Pat McCrory — perhaps most notably his willingness to approve or roll over in the face of any hard right, ideologically-driven proposal the General Assembly can concoct.

If there’s a most aggravating thing, however, it has to be his posture as a perpetually aggrieved man.

Pick an issue — almost any issue — and you’ll find a moment in which McCrory is complaining that the media or other public figures “don’t understand the facts” or trying to manufacture an ex post facto explanation of something he’s done and for which he is being criticized.

This week has already brought us at least two more examples of this tiresome phenomenon.

First, of course, have been the Guv’s unconvincing attempts to explain away the damning McClatchy story about his intervention on behalf of a prison contractor who also happened to be a friend and big campaign contributor. As Raleigh’s N&O explained in detail yesterday, McCrory’s explanation/attack on the reporters who broke the story comes up woefully short.

Now, this morning, there’s word that the Governor has launched a similar effort vis a vis the critics of his new anti-immigrant law. The Greensboro News & Record reports that McCrory sent a “damage control” email to immigrant advocates in which he tried to lecture them about what the new law does and doesn’t do. This is from the N&R article:

“Mayor Nancy Vaughan said the letter seemed confusing and condescending.

‘But I think the fact that they sent the letter at all shows that it was good that the City Council voted to oppose the bill,’ Vaughan said. ‘Obviously, our opposing it drew attention to the problems with the law and now they’re trying to explain themselves.’”

Sometimes, one almost gets the impression that the Governor is trying to convince himself with these efforts. As with his repeated attacks on the Charlotte Observer (his hometown newspaper that endorsed him for Governor but that has been mostly critical on its editorial pages since he took office), it’s almost as if the Guv can’t believe that other people don’t still see him as the reasonable and moderate fellow he clearly thinks of himself as. Unfortunately, however, that’s what happens when you endorse and implement radical, far right policy proposals over and over.

A great irony in all this, of course, is that it’s an article of faith among modern American conservatives that it’s liberals who perpetuate a culture of “victimhood” in which various groups — women, minorities, gay men and lesbians — are somehow encouraged to feel victimized and seek “special protections.”

As Governor McCrory has repeatedly demonstrated, however, victimhood is a state that wealthy and powerful, middle aged white guys can readily embrace and revel in as well. Somewhere, Richard Nixon is probably nodding in approval.

Commentary

Unintended consequences and more reasons for McCrory to veto House Bill 318

The Protect North Carolina Workers Act is one of the remaining piece of legislation on the governor’s desk, following the nine month session. And before deciding whether the bill should become law, Susan Ladd says Governor McCrory should consider the confusion this bill will create at the county level.

While HB 318 would impact food stamp recipients,the Greensboro News & Record columnist explains this bill would also negatively affect immigrants:

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Consular IDs would be banned under HB 318

Case in point: House Bill 318, which among other things, banned consular cards and IDs created by communities or nonprofits, such as the FaithAction IDs, as acceptable forms of identification.

Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen and other registers of deed across the state are scrambling to figure out whether they are bound by the language of this bill and how they will deal with Hispanic residents seeking marriage licenses and birth certificates for their children if Gov. Pat McCrory signs it into law. The vast majority of Hispanics use — you guessed it — consular IDs to apply for both these vital documents.

“It would have a significant impact on Hispanics,” Thigpen said. “Even some Hispanics who are citizens use the consular card. The question is, to what extent are we going to deny an applicant who has an unapproved ID, who otherwise has the right to marry?”

His office conducts an average of 20 marriages each day, and Hispanics using consular cards account for several of those.

“So much time and energy was put into making consular cards a good standard of identification,” Thigpen said. “There’s been a lot of work to make sure those cards are secure and solid. If we can’t use that, what does that mean? Do we then accept your power bill? If we can’t use that, are we relying on a less-secure form of identification?”

There is no explicit guidance in existing statutes about what kind of identification the register of deeds office can accept, but most offices use a common set of guidelines. House Bill 318, however, covers “any government official,” which likely would include employees of the register of deeds.

For Thigpen, it’s another headache from a legislature that is focused more on its next election slogan — “I’m tough on immigration” — than the practical effects this bill might have.

“It was not well thought out, and there was no discussion with our folks,” Thigpen said. “We didn’t know it was coming, and haven’t had time to discuss the implications of it.”

Read more

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Greensboro News & Record: Dismiss all Moral Monday prosecutions

Moral MondaysICYMI, an editorial in this morning’s edition of the Greensboro News & Record calls for the dismissal of charges against all Moral Monday protesters and a coherent rewrite of the the rules regulating protests in the state Legislative Building:

“This has been bungled from the start. Demonstrators who gathered in the second-floor lobby of the Legislative Building on Monday evenings last year never should have been arrested. They were expressing their disapproval of Republican policies but did not impede legislators from going about their business. If they had become overly disruptive, they could have been escorted out of the building. At no time did they attempt to occupy the facility beyond the hours when it’s normally open to the public.

Instead, over the course of the General Assembly session, 945 people were taken into custody and charged with trespassing, failing to disperse and violating building rules…. Read more

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Another head scratcher of a week for the Guv

Pat McCrory 5In case you missed it, check out yesterday’s edition of the Fitzsimon File for a neat summary of Governor McCrory’s latest long, strange week. As Chris notes:

“McCrory ran for office promising to change what he kept calling ‘the culture of corruption’ in Raleigh. Who knew he was planning to replace it with a culture of chaos in the governor’s office?”

This morning’s Greensboro News & Record picks up on the same theme with an editorial about the man who grew up nearby and who now inhabits the Governor’s office entitled “McCrory puzzles.’

“People struggling to understand Pat McCrory might give up after Wednesday. The governor delighted some, angered others and confused most everyone.” Read more