Raleigh’s News & Observer ran a big profile of House Speaker Tim Moore over the weekend in which it highlighted the fact that Moore’s tenure has not quite matched the hard right ideological fervor of his predecessor, Thom Tillis, or the current leadership of the state Senate. At times, he’s even worked with Democrats to help pass some measures, including the budget and the recent state bond package. In addition, he’s made somewhat less use of the abusive tactics favored by Tillis for shutting down debate and occasionally has raised the ire of some fire-breathers on the far right.
Before observers get too carried away with this portrayal, however, it’s important to note that it says a lot more about how bizarrely extreme the modern right wing has become than it does about any significant moderation by Moore. By any fair assessment, Moore’s politics remain far to the right of Ronald Reagan. Consider the following items and issues on which Moore has adhered to or advanced a downright reactionary agenda:
Medicaid expansion: On the single most important issue before state government — a policy change already enacted by Republicans all over the country that could save thousands of lives and lift up the state economy — Moore continues to do nothing.
Public education: Moore continues to help advance the Right’s pro-voucher, pro-charters privatization agenda and has done little-to-nothing to repair the damage inflicted on K-12 funding in recent years.
Environmental protection: Under Moore’s leadership, the list of proposals to gut environmental protection just keep on coming.
Taxes: Though he has not yet completely embraced the Senate’s extreme efforts to mimic the suicidal policies of states like Kansas, Moore continues to support additional tax cuts for corporations even as the state struggles to meet its most basic needs. He’s also done nothing to repair the damage caused by the destructive 2013 tax cuts or to reinstate the critically important Earned Income Tax Credit.
LGBT equality, reproductive rights, the death penalty, guns: And, of course, Moore has promoted the far right “social agenda” on each of these issues in 2015, including: the discriminatory “religious freedom” law for magistrates and registers of deeds, the bill to up the state’s absurd abortion waiting period, the bill to keep death penalty drugs shrouded in secrecy and the bill to introduce concealed weapons into even more venues.
The confederate flag: Moore has done nothing to end the state’s embarrassing display of the rebel flag on license plates and has made it harder to remove confederate memorials.
The bottom line: Speaker Moore may be an affable guy who takes it a tiny bit slower than some when it comes to the most extreme components of the far right agenda, but in a world in which much of the modern American Right backs Donald Trump for President and openly consorts with groups and individuals that favor “nullification” of federal laws, this should not be confused with “moderation.” On issue after issue, Moore continues push North Carolina dramatically and rapidly backwards.