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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Today on Meet the Press: Pat McCrory's dream "dialogue"


On Meet the Press today, Governor McCrory sat down with host Chuck Todd, whose hardhitting manner recalls British MP Denis Healey saying an attack by Margaret Thatcher's Deputy PM, Geoffrey Howe, was like "being savaged by a dead sheep."

Still, McCrory managed to cram a remarkable array of whoppers, crotchets, and whimsies into his talking points. Here's my highlights reel:

-Governor McCrory said:

You know, I was in Hamlet, North Carolina, a small town that can be at any town in the United States of America. I walked into a buffet restaurant, African American buffet restaurant, and the people just welcomed me with open arms and said, "Thanks for protecting us."

There is no record of Governor McCrory being in Hamlet since he signed HB2 on March 23, in either his public schedule or the Richmond County Daily Journal.

-Governor McCrory said,

But I tell you what I have learned through this, is we've got to have more dialogue and not threats.

But HB2 was passed with virtually no dialogue, and with all of whose terms but one- stripping all North Carolinians of access to state courts for discrImination claims- he supports and does not want to change. But he has had dialogues:

Did you meet with any transgender people?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I have.

CHUCK TODD:

Before you signed that law?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Not with -- but I've met with transgender people in the past, and I've met with them since, and have had very positive conversations...


And I had wonderful dialogue with a transgender woman who was, and we talked about each other's issues. There's passion on each side of this issue.

Governor McCrory has run, and hidden, from reporters since he signed HB2, issued videos to argue his case without questions, has appeared on friendly news outlets to repeat his talking points, and has held no press conferences since HB2. His office website schedule page only lists his appearances after they occur, and the vast majority have been limited to credentialed press and whether he would answer any questions about anything.

-Governor McCrory said he’s being picked on:

And I signed an executive order which protects all state employees, in the ninth-largest state in United States of America, the same executive order that the Louisiana governor just signed, and got praised for it. I just happen to be a Republican governor, and I got criticized for doing the same thing. I have to say, there are a little bit of politics involved here.

This is not, in fact, the case. Governor Edwards’s order repeals one issued by Governor Bobby Jindal that positively called on state agencies to discriminate after the legislature failed to pass an HB2-style law. Governor McCrory’s order reaffirms virtually all of the HB2 law his legislature passed, that he signed within three hours of passage.

The Louisiana order is the first in the state’s history to include gender identity, for one thing. For another, it covers a wider array of factors than is encompassed by the antidiscrimination provision on HB2. It also leaves in force local city and parish ordinances; HB2 repeals and bans all such ordinances in North Carolina.

Governor Edwards’ order affirmatively directs state agencies not to discriminate. Governor McCrory’s just says,

I hereby affirm that the State of North Carolina is committed to administering and implementing all State human resources policies, practices and programs fairly and equitably, without unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, genetic information, or disability.

Since LGBT-based discrimination cannot be banned locally in North Carolina any more, and is excluded from the state’s new anti-discrimination policy, there is, in practice, no anti-LGBT discrimination state agencies can practice that is illegal. His personal affirmation is akin to declaring his personal belief that the moon is round, and pizza is delicious.

-Governor McCrory said you can’t compare North Carolina to other states just because they are all trying to get to the same goal of open-season discrimination:

CHUCK TODD:

Does it bother you at all that basically North Carolina and Mississippi is the only other state to side with you on this.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Well, let me correct you. Georgia and Mississippi was religious freedom bill. This was not a religious freedom bill. In fact, we have not had any religious freedom bill introduced in the state of North Carolina. One reason is because I'm governor. So the confusion by the national media and The New York Times of the Indiana religious freedom bill, Mississippi, and Georgia religious freedom bill, that's not the case.

This is basically a restroom privacy issue, versus equality. And these things need to be discussed, not threatened by Hollywood or anyone. You know, Hollywood, with all due respects to the Hollywood, the new Batman and Robin movie is playing in China, which has anti-gay, terrible, terrible human rights violations. This is not like an issue of bathroom privacy or restroom privacy in North Carolina. And let's have this dialogue and I welcome that dialogue.

-Governor McCrory said you can’t fault the General Assembly for jamming HB2 through because Charlotte made them have to jam it by jamming its ordinance through first:

CHUCK TODD:

How did the state of North Carolina, the state government, not overreach in just the same way. You mentioned Houston. Voters made that decision.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

You can make a case, voters made the decision in Charlotte. Charlotte rejected it, then elected two new members of the city council. This has been a long debate in the city of Charlotte, this is where they came down. You guys debated for, like, ten seconds. I mean, don't you regret the time of debate?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Actually, Charlotte's vote was a very little debate. They just had a lot of public speakers speaking for and against--

-Governor McCrory insisted he wants dialogue over a bit that was hastily drafted and needs to be changed, but not much:

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Governor McCrory, is there any way this gets repealed?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I don't think the restroom, I do believe that--

CHUCK TODD:

But you'll repeal other parts of this bill?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

There is one part of the bill that I do disagree with, where I signed it, and that is you're not able to sue within state courts. And that needs to be repealed. It was very poorly thought out.

Governor McCrory said he had to sign HB2 even though he didn’t believe there was a problem:

CHUCK TODD:

It's a very thoughtful thing for you to say about dialogue. Where was the dialogue in this? I mean, first of all, you didn't--

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Well, let me tell you.

CHUCK TODD:

Your legislature--

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I didn't want to--

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

But legislature, to their defense--

CHUCK TODD:

What dialogue?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

We had an April 1st deadline in which the Charlotte law was coming into effect. And they had to pass the law prior to--

CHUCK TODD:

But you had said you weren't worried about that deadline.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I wasn't. The legislature, according to their lawyers, were, because they were afraid once it became into effect, it would be harder to overturn. And we can have the debate a longer time.


-Governor McCrory said there is no religious freedom restoration bill pending in North Carolina because he was governor and prevented it. He took credit for vetoing North Carolina’s law letting magistrates decide who they want to deny marriages to:

And, you know, I've called out my own Republican legislature in the past, with magistrates and I've said no the magistrates need to marry after the Supreme Court case, and what the Supreme Court said.

The News & Observer reported last year,

It took only minutes Thursday for the state House to override a veto by Gov. Pat McCrory and immediately enact a new law that allows certain county officials to avoid same-sex marriage duties if they invoke “any sincerely held religious objection.”

Opponents said efforts to stop the law, which applies to magistrates and registers of deeds employees statewide, will be lasting. Work to mount legal challenges was underway as North Carolina joined Utah as the only states with a marriage duty “religious objection” law.

McCrory expressed discouragement, issuing a statement that criticized the override – and how it was handled by fellow Republicans in the House.

“It’s a disappointing day for the rule of law and the process of passing legislation in North Carolina,” the governor said.

The veto came after Governor McCrory shows his influence in his own party:

Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement that his veto of the magistrates bill was in protection of the constitution and that he was “pleased” there were not enough votes to overturn his decision.


And the North Carolina General Assembly's own legislative status website shows 2015’s Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (SB 550 & HB 348) are active. They can be taken up in the next session that begins April 25. It ain’t dead. It ain’t even sick.

-Governor McCrory said HB2 addresses problems that don’t exist:

I don't -- first of all, I don't know of any business right now in North Carolina, and very similar to what Nikki Haley said about South Carolina, that is doing this.

The North Carolina Values Coalition says it has given Governor McCrory a letter signed by 393 businesses who support HB2. We’ve re-published its list of seventy businesses it says are willing to state publicly they discriminate. Those include the Benham Companies of Concord, NC, whose owners sit on Senator Ted Cruz’s religious freedom council, which recently published a long list of recommendations on how President Cruz can apply new forms of discrimination against LGBT Americans.

-Governor McCrory said lots of states have laws like HB2:

All I'd say is we have 27 states--

CHUCK TODD:

Is that fair to them?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

And I think that's government overreach. It's not government's business to tell the private sector what their bathroom, locker room, or shower -- um -- practices should be. Not only the private business, but also the Y.M.C.A. and other non-profit organizations. And by the way, this is what 29 other states also do not have, these types of restroom, locker room, and bathroom policies. So--

...All I'd say is we have 27 states--

...We have 27 states, not just -- this is not just a North Carolina debate. This is a national debate that's just come on in literally the last three months. No one had heard of this debate until the Houston ordinance was defeated by the people of Houston. We have 27 to 29 states that also don't have this type of mandate on private business, including the state of New York.

The North Carolina Values Coalition, which lent Governor McCrory a spine after HB2 was passed, says it’s 31.

-Governor McCrory said the dialogue he wants over the law that won’t change is being hampered by a malign force:

Now the conversation with a very powerful group called the Human Relations, uh, Human Rights Council, my gosh, they're more powerful than the N.R.A., and they have millions of dollars, which makes me want to overturn United, 'cause I don't know who their donors are either.

But they are putting on a lot of pressure, instead of having good dialogue.

On April 13, Governor McCrory told Time Warner Cable News he only learned HRC was a “very powerful special interest group” after he signed HB2 March 23.

The Human Rights Campaign claims 500,000 members and has a budget of around $42 million.  The NRA- which claimed until 2013 it was not a membership organization and so did not have to report that information- has between three and five million dues-paying members, according to other statements by its executive director, Wayne LaPierre. It has average membership dues income of $128 million a year over the last decade, peaking at $228 million in 2007. The NRA’s annual budget is close to $300 million.

The NRA has blocked virtually all action on gun safety for decades. The Human Rights Campaign has gotten 160 corporations to sign a letter telling Governor McCrory HB2 is a bad thing and they might think about doing something to oppose it.

My bet stays on the NRA.

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