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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It has to stop sometime.

“The dog that caught the car.”

-This great idiom refers to a person who has reached his or her goal and doesn’t know what to do next. 

Paul McFedries, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weird Word Origins (2008)

They met, they passed the bill, and the governor signed HB2 in one day, last March 23.

Now the North Carolina Republican Party and its politicovangelical allies are clueless what to do with their new law.

Poll ratings for party candidates are dropping. A RABA poll shows Governor Pat McCrory trailing Attorney General Roy Cooper in the governor’s race, 36-41. Josh Stein, the Democratic nominee for Attorney General who resigned his seat to run for higher office, is beating Senator Buck Newton (who famously called on Tar Heels to “keep North Carolina straight”, and clings to his seat as a platform), 40-33.

50% of NC voters believe North Carolina is on the wrong track, and 48% want HB2 repealed.

Another poll, commissioned by the Civitas Institute, echoes the RABA findings. They report a 58% wrong track tally, McCrory’s unfavorable rating at 49% (35% of respondents said “very unfavorable”) and lagging Cooper by ten points.

Civitas respondents say if the election for General Assembly was today, 45% of them would vote for the Democrat; 37% say they’re inclined to vote straight-ticket D come November.

Civitas is funded by North Carolina businessman Art Pope, who bought the North Carolina GOP veto-proof majorities in both General Assembly houses in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Among Civitas’ conservative bona fides is the Mapping The Left project, which “combines data, research and news articles to show the magnitude of the radical Left’s infrastructure in North Carolina, which includes more than 140 activist organizations made up of more than 1,800 individuals working professionally to advance an extreme, big-government agenda. Also included in the database are more than 300 funders which have awarded grants in the hundreds of millions of dollars to the included organizations.” 

So it’s bad news when even their poll- whose questions managed to produce majorities in support of HB2- can’t find enough lipstick to slather on the GOP’s election pigs of 2016.

Republican state senator Shirley Randleman of Wilkes County blew the lid off the GOP’s “emergency” rationale for its special session to pass HB2 March 23, and so undo the antidiscrimination ordinance Charlotte passed on February 22. In a late-April interview with the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, she explained, “People keep saying that we acted hastily in enacting it. It was worked on for weeks in conference calls.”

The senator’s comments go a long way to explain Governor McCrory’s refusal to call a special session to overturn Charlotte’s ordinance. An aide emailed the legislators in mid-March, “it is our understanding that the proposal being considered goes beyond the scope of the bathroom issue and includes unrelated subject areas. Anything above and beyond the bathroom (issue) … should be dealt with during the full legislative session.”

General Assembly leaders, opening their regularly scheduled session April 25, ruled out any repeal or amendment of HB2. Governor McCrory has unveiled a personalized conspiracy against him and his re-election, orchestrated by the Human Rights Campaign (which, though he says it is more powerful than the NRA, could not prevent HB2’s passage), and- out of the other side of his mouth- claims that Charlotte caused HB2 to be passed by forcing the  General Assembly to undo the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

KeepNCSafe, a coalition of politicovangelical groups pressuring Republicans to act, then to stay firm behind HB2, has stopped holding rallies and started calling for email protests against the 180 major corporations opposed to HB2 and the mall owners that lease them space. North Carolina Values Coalition head Tami Fitzgerald promotes various publications running online polls about HB2 as vehicles to “win the court of public opinion” with instructions on how to vote multiple times from all its supporters’ electronic devices.

Governor McCrory is stuck, The News & Observer comments, with a uniquely stupid set of arguments he repeats in the serious policy discussions he has on programs like “The Big Show With John Boy and Billy”:

The governor suggested that Bruce Springsteen canceled his Greensboro concert not to protest HB2, but because “they only had 8,000 tickets sold, with all respect.” He accused PayPal and Apple of hypocrisy for criticizing the law while doing business in foreign countries with intolerant laws. The governor who’s made a career out of running interference for business even said businesses were “making a mistake by getting involved in politics.”

McCrory- who still opposes getting corporate money out of politics- moaned that even he- the Governor- has been uninvited from events because of his support for HB2. He told his radio hosts, “I might be in trouble. I might have to look for a side job here.” During his radio audition, The Charlotte Observer reported,
McCrory referred to the nation’s largest gay rights group as “the Human Rights Commission, which makes the NRA look weak. 
“They are powerful,” he added. “And they’re national. I met with them. I met with them. And they’re Machiavellian, man.”

One would think the governor would remember the name of so evil and malign an organization. On Meet the Press a few weeks ago, he confused the Human Rights Campaign with his own, defunded and about to be dismantled Human Relations Commission (the place where HB2 sends discrimination claims).

Heartrendingly, the governor explained how it feels to be treated the way he and his party treated others with HB2:

“And now, sadly, in our nation if you have disagreement and you’re on the wrong side of that disagreement, according to the thought police, you’re dispensed of. You’re exiled,” he said.

The Governor has also claimed that a repeal HB2 petition signed by 180,000 people really wasn’t because its managers gave him a printout of 180,000 names and not 180,000 individually marked sheets of paper.

What were the Republicans thinking? Last year they killed a religious freedom law for  fear it would hurt “the North Carolina” brand. They killed a last-night-of-the-session Christmas tree of a bill that was pretty much HB2 for being too obvious even for their comfort.

Now they’re giving the finger to business. The lieutenant governor says no amount of lost business is worth a single child with the heebie-jeebies over a non-existent problem papered over by a law that declared nothing illegal and offers no guide to enforcement.

How women and girls are supposed to feel safe in their stalls (btw, what about men and boys?) knowing they have been stripped of access to state courts and the wages their teens and siblings can earn from summer jobs have been locked out of any increase, no one in Raleigh has explained.

Legislators so keen to pass HB2 now refuse to talk about it. General Assembly leaders have declared repeal bills DOA. The governor complains it’s all a far cry from when he was his fraternity’s most-successful-ever rush chairman.

The British Foreign Office has issued a tourist advisory about North Carolina for its nationals. The President of the United States got questions about it in a press conference with the British Prime Minister, for God’s sake.

Clueless, they just clamp down, ever tighter, on the car bumper. Where it takes them, no one knows.

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