McClatchy ran an interview with Th² this weekend that may have you thinking — if you read between the lines — this man has ambitions higher than a piddly ol’ Senate seat from North Carolina:
As speaker of North Carolina’s House of Representatives, he presided over perhaps the most sharply conservative legislative swing that state residents have witnessed in modern times.
But now as a freshman in the U.S. Senate, Thom Tillis has looked for ways to moderate his image. These days, he’s not shy about emphasizing that he’s reaching out to Democrats.
That was Tillis, joining Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota in pushing a program to help military veterans sickened by toxins released from burn pits.
There he was in early 2015, just weeks after narrowly winning his Senate seat, the only Republican to join 13 Democratic senators in sponsoring a bill to establish an apparatus for monitoring conflicts worldwide and detecting early warning signs that might enable the United States to prevent genocides.[…]
Okay, is this what we voted for? I mean, KAY HAGAN worked with Klobuchar and Mikulski quite a bit. If we wanted more of that, why would we throw ol’ Kay out? MORE:
[…] “When you’re in a race like mine … you come up here, the first thing you want to do is dispel any myths about what you may be like,” Tillis said in an interview. “The only way you do that is just by building good personal relationships.[…]
Kinda like what he did with Glen Bradley and Robert Brawley. (Jus’ sayin’ ….) MORE:
[…] “Now what I’m trying to do is figure out how we continue to translate that into legislative initiatives.”
His shift to the center can be particularly important in a politically balanced state like North Carolina, where voters backed Barack Obama for his first term as president in 2008 and only narrowly supported Mitt Romney in 2012.[…]
Oh, yeah? Like defunding ObamaCare? Stopping amnesty? (*What? What do you mean, ‘don’t hold my breath’?*) And a “politically-balanced state”? The GOP has the governor, lieutenant governor, both houses of the legislature, both US Senate seats, and TEN of thirteen US House seats. MORE:
[…] And less visibly, he has been jetting across the country raising money for Senate colleagues whose holds on power and majority control could be imperiled if Donald Trump secures the Republican nomination. Tillis, who endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s failed candidacy, says he will support whomever the party nominates.
Just as he made a meteoric rise from town board commissioner in the Charlotte suburb of Cornelius to speaker of North Carolina’s House five years later, Tillis is establishing himself as a Capitol Hill dynamo who can deftly navigate most any political terrain.
Wearing a suit, tie and neatly trimmed beard in Washington, he oozes confidence, mixing a quick wit, flashes of fierce partisanship and an eagerness to forge legislative alliances with members of the minority.[…]
Partisanship? Wait. I thought this guy was all about making friends on the other side of the aisle? MORE:
[…] Arriving in Washington, Tillis sensed a need to recast his image. He began searching for slivers of common ground in a polarized Congress, collaborating on legislation with a growing list of Democrats, especially on issues surrounding the health and well-being of military veterans.
Why would you need to reach across the aisle when you are in the majority? THEY should be coming to YOU. MORE:
Mindful of North Carolina’s huge Army and Marine bases at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, and the presence of nearly a million veterans in the state, Tillis secured seats on both the Senate Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees.
[…]“I’m very much a process person,” Tillis said. “That’s what I did in my professional career. I want to stay focused on that, so we can put a stake in the ground on systemic changes, improvements we will make … and measure them and really help the VA get through that process.”[…]
Oh, and here comes AMNESTY:
Tillis also has begun framing a relatively moderate position on one of the hottest issues before Congress: immigration reform.
He said he objects to amnesty for the estimated 10 million to 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States because the mere discussion of granting them legal status and a path to citizenship “provides an immediate incentive for people to try to get in so they could be a part of it.”
But he drew a sharp distinction between his positions and those of Trump, who wants to deport millions of illegal aliens and build a wall along the Mexican border to block any more from entering the country.
“I’m not the sort of person who thinks it makes any sense logistically or otherwise to have a program to send them all back home,” Tillis said. “That does not mean amnesty … You have to figure out some way to provide them a path to legal status, which is not citizenship.”
Tillis said he believes political leaders pushing for broad immigration reform are chasing a rainbow.
“The reality is, comprehensive immigration reform has been tried, and it has failed,” he said.
Rather, he said, all visa programs should be studied to see whether visa recipients are taking jobs that could have gone to qualified American job candidates. He would make an exception for one visa program that he said is keeping North Carolina’s coastal seafood industry alive.
The H2B visa program allows seafood packers and other employers, who face a shortage of domestic workers, to provide temporary work visas to foreign workers.[…]
THIS is the kind of interview you do if you are trying to get the attention of DC powerbrokers. Is he eyeing a move into Senate leadership? With talk of an open / brokered convention, is he holding himself out there for a spot on the national ticket?
[…] Just as he did upon winning a seat in the state House, Tillis has become a booster for fellow Republican senators and congressional candidates. Wicker, who chairs the Senate Republicans’ fund-raising arm, said Tillis has “helped us enormously,” traversing the country to to attend colleagues’ campaign fundraisers.
Will Tillis seek to succeed Wicker in the post, which can serve as a springboard to higher leadership jobs?
Wicker said the North Carolina freshman would be “well received by the current membership of our Republican Conference if he were to become a candidate.” […]
Yes, this is a man with personal ambitions. A man on the move. Visions of dollar signs and even more power are flashing in his eyes. And we’re just along for the ride — a distant thought (until 2020).