Today is the first anniversary of the passage of HB2 by the North Carolina General Assembly.
There are now 10 bills pending in the legislature to repeal HB2. None of them are going to pass.
This is because, in December, the Republican supermajorities convened a special session to repeal the law. They went into the special promising a clean repeal. However, the iron-fisted, if rather pudgy otherwise, leader of the state senate, Phil Berger, proposed a substitute bill that would repeal HB2 but then repeal that repeal through a seemingly endless series of postponements of the restoration of the right of cities and counties to pass local ordinances granting LGBT residence legal protections the Republicans do not want them to have.
Berger, who is an astonishingly angry and bitter little man - both physically and emotionally - has been blaming legislative Democrats, and the new governor, Roy Cooper, for his inability to pass a repeal.
Keep in mind that Republicans hold 35 of 50 Senate seats and 74 of 120 House ones. They have veto-proof majorities in both houses. He likes to say that North Carolina may have three branches of government but that doesn't make them equal.
The Republicans plan to celebrate HB2’s birthday today by marshaling their veto-proof majorities- instead- to override Governor Cooper's veto of their bill to make state judicial elections partisan.
Republicans say voters do not have enough information to make good choices about judicial elections. They also say that what constitutes enough information is seeing “R” next to the names of candidates for judgeships.
The override vote in the Senate will pass easily. That is the nature of veto-proof majorities.
It also demonstrates that if Phil Berger wanted to repeal HB2, he could repeal it and still have time to rig the judiciary before House Speaker Tim Moore waddles over to peel and feed Berger his chocolate-dipped muscadines for lunch today.
Burger, however, is content to sit back and watch a sideshow being run by my state senator, Democrat Joel Ford.
Ford is running for mayor of Charlotte end means one big idea to offset his other lack of other ideas. He has seized upon repeal of HB2 as his chance to be the savior of the Queen City.
So Ford has picked up the stricken banner of Berger’s December bill, slapped his name on it, and begun attacking a fellow Democrat, Governor Cooper, for not supporting it- and Equality NC, an LGBT advocacy group, for pointing out its shortcomings.
Ford actually seems to believe the Phil Berger will let him get the credit for repeal of the Republicans’ most significant achievement since passage of their surgically precise, racially - driven comma redistricting and voter suppression law four years ago.
Nor are North Carolina Republicans limiting the conferral of their boons to the state legislature. The chair of the House Freedom Caucus in Washington, North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, says he has the votes to defeat #DontCare today, and save the souls- if not the bodily health- of all Americans.
Meadows and his 30 colleagues see passage of the Trump/Ryan health care bill in excretory, rather than legislative terms.
They are upset that the bill is not extreme enough. It annoys them that the bill would still include 10 types of health insurance coverage all insurance plans would have to include.
They believe that what Americans yearn for most and health insurance coverage our plans that cost less because they provide less. Sent home to die, Americans will sigh, “at least I got what I paid for.”
Congressman Blake Farenthold, a failed sexual harasser who sublimates his urge to grope women by regulating their childbearing functions, told NPR this morning that he has come on board with #DontCare after a promise that a miniscule number of Americans who might get a healthcare tax credit bigger than the cost of their health insurance will be barred from using the surplus to go out, get pregnant, and then blow the money on an abortion.
He admitted to his interviewer, Steve Inskeep, that his conversion is less driven by concern for improving the quality of Americans’ health care than it is by his view that nothing is too extreme to save one life.
Except, of course, the death penalty- just not until after birth.
Another Freedom caucus leader, Congressman Jim Jordan, also told NPR he remains opposed to #DontCare for two compelling reasons.
One is that it does not truly repeal Obamacare.
The other is that it does not “unite Republicans.”
Whether they pass #DontCare or not, and with or without the interventions of the world's greatest dealmaker, Republicans will find out today that owning healthcare Is an encounter with the tar baby. The president told his Republican colleagues in the house last week that if they do not pass his bill comma they will all lose their seats in 2018.
That turkeys are not noted for calling for early thanksgivings is well-known. That makes watching them do it both phenomenal and delightful.