#NCSEN: The two faces of Thom

tillistwoHollywood gave us “The Three Faces of Eve.”    This year, the GOP establishment is trying to force-feed us a real stinker called “The Two Faces of Thom.”

Americans have a real respect for flexibility when it comes to athletes and, um, cheerleaders.  In politicians?  Not so much.  Today, the shih-tzu gives us a pretty good look at how flexible state House speaker Thom Tillis has been in his positions on the issues:

• On the federal health care law, the House under Tillis’ leadership advanced HB 115 in 2011 to create a state-based insurance exchange as a way to “protect state-based authority.” The effort died in the Senate, and two years later, lawmakers approved a measure to reject any ties to “Obamacare.”

• On Common Core, Tillis said recently in a Senate debate that he supports a repeal of the national education standards, which are loathed by some conservatives who consider them an intrusion into local decision-making. But in 2011, the House approved Senate Bill 479 to direct the state to participate in Common Core.

Adding to the suspicion on this issue?  Tillis appointed — and keeps in place — pro-Common Core legislator Linda Johnson as House Education Committee chairman. He’s been endorsed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush and The US Chamber of Commerce — two HUGE cheerleaders for Common Core.

• On renewable energy standards, as a freshman legislator, Tillis voted with Democrats in 2007 to support Senate Bill 3, which required at least 12.5 percent of retail power sales by electric utilities come from renewables and energy efficiency programs by 2021. Republican efforts to repeal these standards died in 2013. But amid the campaign, Tillis said he supports their repeal.

ttshrugTillis was blamed for killing the repeal of the mandates in 2013.  He’s also — coincidentally — a significant investor in a bank that has financing of renewable energy ventures as a centerpiece of its business plan. 

Let’s not forget amnesty.  Theam Tillis swears their man is not for amnesty.  Yet, he spoke to the NC Farm Bureau using some of the familiar ‘code words’ of the pro-amnesty crowd.  Tillis  has warmly embraced some Super PACs that have campaigned aggressively FOR gay marriage and FOR amnesty.   Speaker Thom has also been endorsed by pro-amnesty warriors like Renee Ellmers and Jeb Bush — who has described illegal immigration as “an act of love.”

A source of mine, who has a vote on the floor of the General Assembly’s upper chamber, threw in his two cents about working with Tillis:

“We’d try to get together with him and his team to work together on certain issues.  He’d tell us they were on board and ready to work with us.  Then, he’d apparently go talk to his campaign folks and find out this position might not poll well in the Senate race, and he’d leave us hanging out to dry.  We got hung out to dry time and again on things like repealing the Racial Justice Act.  A promise of teamwork up front does not necessarily mean yeoman’s effort to the very end. In the end, with Thom Tillis, it’s not about what’s best for North Carolina.  It’s what’s best for him and his ambitions.”

Back to the N&O article.  Tillis attempted to defend himself on the contradictions pointed out by The Shih-Tzu:

If anything, Tillis said, these issues reflect the nature of lawmaking. “That’s the difference between someone experienced who actually understands the legislative process and someone who is maybe speaking before they think about the consequences and how they would do it in an orderly fashion,” he said.