McClatchy seems to be quite puzzled by the mystery that is Pat McCrory.
Is he “the centrist mayor of North Carolina’s largest city who campaigned as someone able to work across party lines? Or is he more in line with the deep-seated conservatism that dominates the legislature and much of the Southern GOP?” Inquiring minds — in the sparsely populated newsroom behind the paywall — want to know!
“I’ve stepped on some toes on both the left and the right,” McCrory said at one point, suggesting that he was playing it down the middle.
But there were fewer new specific proposals in McCrory’s State of the State than those given by past governors. He mainly kept to his campaign promises, such as his desire for an unspecified reduction in corporate and personal income taxes.
*Wow. Keeping to campaign promises. What a bummer.* More:
While McCrory said he has angered those on the left and the right, he has mainly upset those on his left.
He has sided with the Republican legislature on three key issues that have been controversial: a plan to deal with the debt in the state unemployment trust fund mainly by cutting benefits to the unemployed; declining an expansion of Medicaid that would have provided health insurance to low income North Carolinians largely through federal funds; and rejecting a state-run health exchange.
McCrory let the legislature take the lead on the ideological issues. McCrory took longer to announce his position, saying the issues were difficult, and said he made the decision only after consultations with other governors. The effect was to stand with his conservative legislative allies, but to come across as more moderate-sounding.
In a speech last week to the Emerging Issues forum in Raleigh, McCrory put some distance between himself and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Eden. While both agree on opposing a state health care exchange, McCrory, without ever mentioning Berger by name, said his opposition to the federal health care law should not be misinterpreted.
“I do need to let the politicians know that the national health care plan is the law of the land,” McCrory said. Berger has urged supporters on his website to stop Obamacare.
It’s clear McCrory is in this ballgame for himself. (Just like when he campaigned in 2012.) He’s not out to become a party leader. He’s not out to fundamentally change North Carolina.
The way our state government is set up, most of the power is in the hands of the folks on Jones Street. Those folks CAN shove stuff down Pat’s throat if they want to. (That’s pretty much what they did with ObamaCare. You can tell — from the above comments — that he’s still not happy about it.) If the governor vetoes any of it, he runs the risk of alienating conservative voters he needs to turn out for him in 2016 and beyond.
I don’t understand the triangulation strategy. Our state voted DOWN the man behind ObamaCare. We increased the GOP majorities in the legislature. It’s pretty clear there is a desire for some conservative leadership. Failing to lead — blurring the lines between the Rs and the Ds — in Raleigh will thwart a historic opportunity to(1) reform North Carolina and (2) create a permanent conservative / GOP majority.