Hillary Clinton and Renee Ellmers: A Tale of Two Women

Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together darlin’
Join the human race

–John Winston Ono Lennon

History will look back on the night of June 7, 2016 (and the early hours of June 8, 2016) as a remarkable period of time in American history, particularly as it relates to women. Hillary Clinton’s victories in Tuesday’s primaries put her in line to become the first female nominee of a major political party in our country’s history. That’s the headline

But, there were other stories of female candidates that were playing out the same day that Secretary Clinton recorded her historic triumphs. In tiny Dunn, NC, a congresswoman headed to the polls to cast her vote in the Republican primary

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) on Tuesday commented on a woman’s weight during an exchange caught on video.

“You’re eating a little too much pork barbeque,” Ellmers said in Dunn, N.C., according to CBS’s local affiliate. “Whoo!”

CBS’s local affiliate identified the woman asMaggie Sandrock, former chairwoman of the Harnett County Republican Party who once supported Ellmers but is backing her opponent this cycle. Shortly after the video clip went viral, Ellmers lost her primary.

“Typical Renee,” Sandrock said when asked about Ellmers’s remarks. “She has become a mean girl on steroids, in my view.”

While Hillary Clinton was trying to show women everywhere that the days of keeping women down were over, Rep. Ellmers decided to give aid-and-comfort to misogynists everywhere by reinforcing the stereotype that women are catty to each other on the most petty levels possible. One can almost imagine a scenario, not unlike the first Terminatorwhere Ms. Ellmers cycled through a few options that scrolled in front of her eyes before playing the “fat card”. She completely skipped over “you smell” and “nobody likes you”

At this point, it’s important to realize who Renee Ellmers is and how she got to be the representative from North Carolina’s 2nd district. Six years ago, the man who previously represented NC-2, Bob Etheridge (D) had a You Tube moment

And that was pretty much it. Ellmers was swept into office in the “Tea Party” midterms of 2010. She appropriately showed contempt for Obama, Obamacare, and Bo Obama. That was enough to turn out the voters who hated Obama and sent Ms. Ellmers to Washington. She’d never held elected office before. Heck, she wasn’t even born in North Carolina. Didn’t matter. All that mattered is that she had that sweet “R” by her name and she was going to give Barack Obama hell

When she got to DC, she rose to prominence…at least visually

Boehner and Ellmers 1Boehner and Ellmers 2

GOP leadership loved to put her right next to Speaker Boehner at press events. Message: Hey, we’re not just a bunch of white guys. We’ve got ONE WOMAN. Whoa! In that one picture, we’ve got TWO! Suck on that, Gloria Steinem

But, as often happens with the anti-establishment types, Renee was seen as a sellout in her home district. I mean, she failed to impeach Barack Hussein Benghazi Jihad Solyndra Death Panel Obama, so what good was she, anyway? There were missteps along the way, such as the “I need my paycheck” stinker during the 2013 government shutdown. Also, there were those nasty rumors about a sordid affair. While nothing was ever proven, Ms. Ellmers, presumably, struck a bow for women everywhere as she held on to her job, while the man in question resigned and headed back home to California. Suck on that, Susan B. Anthony

Which brings us back to Tuesday: Rep. Ellmers had become so unpopular to the folks back home that she was being primaried. Now, kids, that means people in her own party were trying to take her down

And they did

Despite last-ditch efforts, Rep. Ellmers lost her primary

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump made a late endorsement for Ellmers over the weekend and recorded a robocall to try to save her, but it was too late to make much difference. Instead, Ellmers placed a distant second behind Rep. George Holding and only narrowly edged ahead of a third challenger, physician Greg Brannon

My God! Built up by one orange man (Boehner) and torn down by another (Trump). If Donald can’t save you…

Certainly, there were a lot of factors here, including a redrawing of Ellmers’s district, which left her in a tough spot. But, I’d like to think the karma gods took a moment to reflect and said “Let’s take out that woman who called the other woman fat”. Simple, decisive action from the people who balance the universe. And Renee was gone

However, I’m sure that Ms. Ellmers has made many important contacts in the last six years in our nation’s capitol. And I hope these contacts bear fruit as Ms. Ellmers transitions into the next phase of her life. I don’t know if there’s a fat shaming think tank, but, if there is, my bet is they’re on the phone right now to Renee. Or perhaps she could be Fox News official “Hillary’s cankles” correspondent

After all, Renee: Some women were meant to lead a great nation. And some were meant to take cheap shots in a parking lot in Dunn as they exit public life

 

 

Kenneth Starr, Jesse Helms, and Bill Clinton

As Donald Trump continues his I Love the 90s tour, it’s instructive to look back and remember some of the details relating to the impeachment of our 42nd president

Kenneth Starr was a pivotal character in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He had been appointed as a special investigator to look into Whitewater. For those of you not old enough to remember, Whitewater was the Benghazi of it’s time: Conservatives relentlessly pursued it, knowing that it would end the Clintons. In the end, nothing was there. There’s a reason that Donald Trump doesn’t add this to the litany of Hillary’s sins. Even he knows the witch hunt was bollocks

It seems impossible to believe, but the expansion of the Whitewater investigation lead us down the primrose path to the discovery of Monica Lewinsky and her affair with President Clinton. Conservatives were so enraged at Bill Clinton and his “far left” policies that they went to great lengths to try to destroy him, politically. One of the political figures most intent on destroying Clinton was North Carolina’s senior senator, Jesse Helms

Helms served thirty years in the United States Senate and delighted his supporters by mocking Ted Kennedy and, generally, opposing anything that didn’t help Big Tobacco. Helms said no quite frequently and he said it loudly. This earned him the title of “Senator No”, which he wore proudly

By the time the 90s dawned, Mr. Helms needed some new material. His homophobia still scored points for the fans, but he needed a little something that let him pivot and refresh his act. Enter Slick Willie

Bill Clinton stood in stark contrast to Jesse Helms. He was handsome, well-spoken, Ivy educated…hell, Bill Clinton had even been to Europe…AND LOVED IT! Jesse Helms made it his life’s work to hound Bill and Hillary Clinton, with some help from his buddy Lauch Faircloth

In one particular episode, Mr. Helms said that if Mr. Clinton was so popular on military bases in North Carolina that “he’d better have a bodyguard” if the president visited. Mr. Helms quickly called the comment “a mistake”, but his fans loved it

And, so it was, that when it came time to appoint a special investigator to Whitewater, Mr. Helms made sure his lawyer buddy from the Big Tobacco wars was put in charge: Mr. Starr

Mr. Starr has been in the news a bit recently. First, he made some surprising comments about the man who was impeached, in great part, thanks to his efforts

His genuine empathy for human beings is absolutely clear. It is powerful, it is palpable. The folks of Arkansas really understood that

 

Umm…thanks? I can only imagine the mix of emotion that must have entered Bill Clinton’s mind when he read that

Also, Kenneth Starr may or not still be president of Baylor University

So, you see, when you see Donald Trump revisiting Monica Lewinsky and the impeachment of Bill Clinton, it’s another great gift from the wellspring that is/was Jesse Helms. His legacy lives long and now his words are coming out of the mouth of a tangerine billionaire

On behalf of the citizens of North Carolina, you’re welcome

Some Good News About North Carolina’s HB2

On Wednesday’s Brad & Britt Podcast, we discussed a story about Braeburn Pharma deciding against cancelling an expansion in the state. From the article:

In the company’s statement, Sheldon said that she elected to keep the company in North Carolina after meeting with Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate who urged Braeburn to stay in the state and fight discrimination.

“The Attorney General argued that Braeburn could help more by advocating from within North Carolina than by protesting through departure,” the statement said

This indicates good news for North Carolinians who have been fighting HB2 for two months. Business leaders may get the message that they can talk to someone other than the governor for reassurance. This could mean that some business leaders don’t have confidence that McCrory will be North Carolina’s governor next year (Cooper is mounting a stiff challenge and is the Democratic nominee for North Carolina’s top office)

The state had previously enjoyed a progressive, pro-business reputation going back decades to leadership provided by governors like Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt. It is difficult to gauge the exact economic impact from HB2, but multiple stories have told stories of companies cancelling plans to come to North Carolina and organizations cancelling plans to hold gatherings in the state

In the next six months, Cooper and McCrory will mount a vigorous campaign for the office. Cooper will be able to tout the fact that Braeburn was given comfort by him at a time when the chips were down. This could be very helpful in reaching out to traditionally Republican voters and independent voters, who may not be engaged on LGBT issues, but are concerned about the negative economic impact of HB2. This will be key to Cooper’s campaign if he is to get beyond the Liberal vs. Conservative paradigm

This could amount to a “lack of confidence” vote from the business community for McCrory, which could mean bad news for the governor in November

NC’s General Assembly: The Week Ahead

Amid much strife and controversy over North Carolina’s so-called “Bathroom Bill”, our General Assembly will be back in session doing The Work of the People™ this week. Let’s look in our crystal ball and see what we can expect from this group of exceptional public servants

MONDAY, APRIL 25: President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate Phil Berger, Sr. (R-Tidy Bowl) introduces a bill setting aside $12.9 million for construction of a giant banner that says “F–k You Obama!” that will stretch from Hickory to Wilson and will be visible from space. When a reporter challenges Berger and calls the act “nakedly political”, Berger responds that tourists will come from miles around to see the banner and their revenue will replace revenue from the “dirty hippies who come to wallow in the filth of The People’s Republic of Asheville”

Meanwhile, Governor McCrory is said to be sitting in a quiet room, weeping softly as he watches “Sleepless in Seattle” and eats Ben and Jerry’s Blue Bell Ice Cream™. After some investigation, it turns out the ice cream was a gift from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who sent it to McCrory after some companies thinking about relocating to North Carolina did and about face and went to Texas, instead

TUESDAY, APRIL 26: In a fit of pique, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Saniflush) nearly beats a page to death after someone puts a “Pecker Checker” badge in Moore’s bathroom. Declaring “If someone doesn’t take the blame for this, I will end this boy’s life”, Moore holds up the page’s nearly lifeless body as his phone rings. Someone has programmed “Born in the USA” as Moore’s ring tone, which sets him into an entirely new fit of absolute rage. Before State Troopers can separate him from the page, Mr. Moore can be heard shouting “KING KONG AIN’T GOT S–T ON ME!”. Troopers then tase him and he loses consciousness

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27: House and Senate Republicans propose a law outlawing any radio station in North Carolina from playing the music of the rock group Pearl Jam. A reporter suggests that Republicans are simply proposing the ban because Pearl Jam cancelled an April 20th show in Raleigh, citing their opposition to HB2. Speaker Moore calls the band’s fans “socialist wieners” and states that “their 90s nostalgia is really getting in the way of our 80s nostalgia”

Meanwhile, Governor McCrory is feeling well enough to get lunch at a Subway™ on Fayetteville Street. When someone pulls out an iPhone to record him, the governor shrieks, declares the device to be “a tool of the devil” and sprints down the streets of Raleigh back to the Governor’s Mansion

THURSDAY, APRIL 28: After Attorney General Roy Cooper condemns a Republican proposal to ban Bruce Springsteen “or any non Duke-related New Jerseyite” from traveling to North Carolina, Berger and Moore attempt to extract Cooper from his office physically. Cooper is able to keep the duo at bay by flashing a picture of Caitlyn Jenner to the men via his phone. This has the effect of garlic to vampires and the men run from Cooper’s office, hissing and gasping for air

Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans introduce bills banning “German porn”, and allocating $6 million for a study of the 1992 film “The Crying Game”

FRIDAY, APRIL 29: Governor McCrory is remanded for psychological evaluation after being pulled over doing 100 mph in Petersburg, VA. Authorities believe he was traveling to the DC area to do harm to Meet the Press host Chuck Todd. McCrory’s wife tipped off the authorities after discovering e-mails detailing the governor’s failed attempts to hire a hit man through Craig’s List. Ironically, even killers-for-hire were morally opposed to doing business with McCrory

At arraignment, a judge politely refuses the governor’s request for a “private commode”

Pat McCory’s Poll Numbers: Worse Than You Think

Many people are talking about the new Elon University poll, showing Governor McCrory trailing trailing Attorney General Roy Cooper 48-42 (with a 4% margin of error) ahead of their November showdown. Matthew Winkler of Bloomberg is scratching his head because Pat’s commitment to HB2 has hindered his ability to tell the “Carolina Comeback” story. SLOW DOWN, MATTHEW! Even before McCrory signed the “Bathroom Bill” into law, he was a fairly unpopular governor, who faced stiff competition from a seasoned, organized foe. With Donald Trump on top of the ticket, the uphill climb would probably be too great. With Ted Cruz, still tough, but doable

When you go back in history and examine North Carolina’s gubernatorial races, you see that the bad news is even more profound for McCrory. Since 1980, incumbent governors have run for re-election four times (winning all four contests) and they averaged 57.25% of the statewide vote. Even if we take away Jim Hunt’s gaudy numbers (62% in 1980 and 56% in 1996), we get to a level of support that’s 55.5%. Even if we give McCrory all four points in the margin of error, that only gets him to 46%, which is a little less than Richard Vinroot did in 2000 against Mike Easley, but a little better than Patrick Ballantine did against Easley four years later (Jim Martin’s 55% is the worst performance by an incumbent since 1980)

But, what is the absolute floor for Pat McCrory in November? It’s a safe bet that he’ll outperform Beverly Lake’s 37% in 1980.If we throw that one out, the second-place finisher in North Carolina has done no better than 43% (which was what McCrory’s challenger Walter Dalton earned in 2012). But, remember, those were all non incumbents, who faced major obstacles in terms of basic resources like name recognition. Jim Gardner in 1992 and Robin Hayes in 1996 both were fairly well-known to followers of state politics, but they didn’t have the name recognition of Jim Hunt. That’s probably why each garnered only 43% of the vote

The Cooper campaign must be ecstatic. Cooper has floated around Raleigh for a while, but he doesn’t have the name recognition of Pat McCrory, who was fairly well-known as Mayor of Charlotte before mounting a losing then a winning campaign for governor

Curiously, North Carolina’s gubernatorial races haven’t been terribly close in the past 36 years, with the exception of McCory’s losing effort, a 50-47 affair in 2008

Of course, there’s a lot of ground to cover until November and many factors simply can’s be accounted for. North Carolina’s Voter ID law will be in effect for the first time in a general election. These laws have traditionally knocked a couple of points off of Democratic totals. We also don’t know who will be on top of the Republican ticket come November. Political experts say that a Trump nomination could depress GOP turnout. A Cruz nomination would only be a little more helpful to McCrory. And, of course, any number of catastrophic events could change the election. But, still, Cooper’s got to be happy about his standing six months ’til judgment day

It remains to be seen if a repeal of HB2 would help McCrory much. At this point, the damage may already be done. But, before we get too cocky about Roy Cooper’s chances, remember a North Carolina incumbent governor hasn’t been defeated since 1892…which is a tad misleading because the position was a one (term) and done proposition until the state constitution was amended, allowing Hunt to run for a second term in ’80

Beating an incumbent is never an easy task and the Cooper campaign would probably be happy with a neck-and-neck performance, at this point. As it is, they’re ahead of the game. But, we’ve got a lot of game left to be played

A Thousand Words

 

Photo credit: Mark Binker, WRAL.com (twitter.com/binker)
Photo credit: Mark Binker, WRAL.com (twitter.com/binker)

What you see above is a man who finally understands that his empire is crumbling. We’ve been given few glimpses in history to the exact moment that someone realizes it’s over. Governor Pat McCrory finally realized he had followed a path of doom around 1:30 pm on April 19th, 2016. That’s when he was informed that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against barring Gavin Grimm, who was born a woman, but identifies as a man, from using the men’s restroom. Legal experts say that the ruling puts North Carolina’s controversial HB2 out of commission

Maxine Eichner, a University of North Carolina law professor who is an expert on sexual orientation and the law, said the ruling — the first of its kind by a federal appeals court — means the provision of North Carolina’s law pertaining to restroom use by transgender students in schools that receive federal funds also is invalid

“The effects of this decision on North Carolina are clear,” she said, adding that a judge in that state will have no choice but to apply the appeals court’s ruling

Already, some are comparing the McCrory pic to this

Andy Card tells President Bush America has been attacked
Andy Card tells President Bush America has been attacked

Shortly after 9:00 am on September 11th, 2001, President George W. Bush was told by Chief-of-Staff Andrew Card that planes has crashed into the World Trade Center. That wasn’t the photo that struck me when I saw McCory’s moment. This one was

Y.A. Tittle

That is Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle, photographed on September 20, 1964 as a member of the New York Giants, after being hit by John Baker of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the old Pitt Stadium. Tittle suffered a concussion and a cracked sternum on the play. He would play the rest of the season, but the once-mighty Giants finished with worst record in the league. In 1963, he threw 36 TD passes (a record that stood until Dan Marino broke it in 1984) and earned MVP honors. The next year, he was done

The photo became one of the most celebrated sports photographs of the entire 20th century. It captured a celebrated athlete at a moment of vulnerability, at a time when sports media portrayed football players as masked gladiators, conquering any obstacle they pleased. Humanity wasn’t part of the equation in 1964. Tittle would be tagged as “weak” and “helpless” for many year thanks to his moment captured in time

Ironically, the photo was beneficial to Baker, who used it when he ran for Sheriff of Wake County, NC (where he was born and raised) in 1978. He won and served for 25 years. Wake County is where Pat McCrory lives…for a little while longer

It was only yesterday that the fresh-faced former Mayor Pat took the oath-of-office and became the monstrous Governor Pat. Currently, North Carolina is a national punchline and McCrory shoulders a large portion of the blame. He continues to squawk that his solutions are “common sense”. He goes on television with a smile that’s so forced that it’s surely been applied with a sandblaster. Mr. Binker’s picture is a true glimpse inside McCrory’s soul. The consultants are far away and he’s trapped with his own thoughts. The neurons fire rapidly and he searches for the moment it all went wrong

Back to our friend, Mr. Tittle: He finally learned to embrace that awful photo. In 2009, he put it on the back cover of his autobiography. He told the Los Angeles Times

That was the end of my road. It was the end of my dream. It was over

Pat McCrory has just awoken from his dream. Let’s hope North Carolina is about to awake from it’s nightmare

 

Thank You Pearl Jam

At about 11:15 pm on August 6, 2000, I fell in love

It happened at the Greensboro Coliseum on the occasion of my 30th birthday. Pearl Jam was playing and Eddie spotted a kid close to the stage. He said something like this

I’ve been looking at this kid up front and he’s recording the show. And I don’t have a problem with that. I really don’t. It’s just that we’re about to play a romantic one and I wanted you to be able to dance with your girl. I just wanted to put your tape recorder up here on stage, so you can get a better sound

He then put the kid’s tape recorder by the onstage monitors and the band launched into their cover of “Last Kiss”. At that moment, I knew I would love that band for the rest of my life

Saturday night, before the show in Greenville, SC, my buddy Scott, who I went to high school with, asked me if he thought they would cancel Wednesday’s show in Raleigh. I told him that I was pretty confident if they were going to cancel, they would have already sone it

I hadn’t factored in a disastrous performance by Pat McCrory (R-Hamlet NC) on Sunday’s “Meet The Press”

Pretty sure that Pat’s appearance sealed the deal and rendered this Screenshot_2016-04-18-18-25-48-1

useless as PJ cancelled Raleigh on Monday

Their official statement:

It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th.

This will be upsetting to those who have tickets and you can be assured that we are equally frustrated by the situation.

The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens. The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound. We want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.

It is for this reason that we must take a stand against prejudice, along with other artists and businesses, and join those in North Carolina who are working to oppose HB2 and repair what is currently unacceptable.

We have communicated with local groups and will be providing them with funds to help facilitate progress on this issue.

In the meantime we will be watching with hope and waiting in line for a time when we can return.

Perhaps even celebrate.

With immense gratitude for your understanding,

Pearl Jam

 

I don’t know if I’ve been prouder of this band

Make no mistake, I wish they would have made this decision last week or the week before, but what they said here is huge and makes a massive statement. Springsteen has always been a hero to Eddie, so it’s no surprise that he followed the lead of The Boss

I am ashamed of the leadership of my state. They have turned this place I loved into a place I barely recognize. North Carolinians were never people who were fearful or suspicious of each other. We never went out of our way to make people who were different feel strange. We accepted people who weren’t the same with open arms. It’s all changed now. My family has North Carolina roots going back a century and a half. If not seeing Pearl Jam once is enough to wake people up and give me my state back, I’m all for it

This really sucks for the fans because Pearl Jam hasn’t played Raleigh in 13 years. In fact, since a John Kerry fundraiser in Asheville in ’04, the band has only performed one North Carolina show (Charlotte, ’13)

As I watched a tremendous show in Greenville on Saturday, I became emotional thinking about what awaited me Wednesday. I felt that Eddie had made his decision and he would surely roll out an old chestnut from the Bush days. At that point, PJ was quite adamant about their opposition to the Iraq War and they started playing the old protest song “Here’s to the State of Mississippi” by Phil Ochs at their shows

It is a sad, mournful, despairing tune that pleads for those who have done damage to our country to get out. PJ’s version changed the lyrics to reflect Bush, Cheney, etc.

I closed my eyes Saturday and imagined how Eddie might lay into North Carolina by changing the lyrics on Wednesday and I got pretty emotional just thinking about it. Mississippi was shorthand to a generation of Americans for everything that was wrong about this great country. To think that North Carolina has become the modern-day Mississippi for LGBT folks, hurts me deeply. We can tell these people that we don’t support HB2 all we want, but it’s still a law and it’s still a North Carolina law

There’s a part of me that hoped Eddie would sing these hard truths to us on Wednesday, but I’m not certain I would have been able to bear it

God has richly blessed me in my life in so many ways. God has seen fit that I should attend 11 Pearl Jam shows, each unique memories I will carry for me to the grave. I hope the Lord makes it so that I can see my favorite band a 12th time one day. But, my greater hope is that He lets me see the day when I get my state back

Interview: NC Senator Dan Blue (D) On NC’s HB2

Brad and Britt spoke with NC state Senator Dan Blue (D) about North Carolina’s controversial HB2 law, the so-called “Bathroom Bill”. Blue detailed the special session of the General Assembly that took place in March and how Democrats were completely shut out of any discussion about HB2

Blue went on to detail the economic damage done to the state, including the cancellation of a PayPal operations center in Charlotte, which would have provided about 400 jobs. Deutsche Bank, Red Hat, and many others have decided against planned expansions in North Carolina. Additionally, Charlotte and Raleigh have both reported several conventions or gatherings that have either cancelled or said they will not consider coming to the state, costing North Carolinians millions in hotel tax revenues, restaurant revenue, and related revenues

Blue stated that it was his hope that Governor McCrory and Republican leaders will see the light and repeal HB2 so that North Carolina’s image can recover nationally. Brad and Britt bring up the fact that tourism season in the state is just beginning and many NC families rely on tourism to put bread on the table. A tourism boycott could severely hurt North Carolina families. Additionally, North Carolina agriculture is a $70 billion a year industry that could suffer from a boycott

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Summer Winds Blow Cold in North Carolina

Every schoolboy knows the story of the Roman Emperor Nero, who famously fiddled (allegedly) while Rome burned. Turns out, it was a fire that Nero started himself, historians say, to clear land for a palatial expansion. In modern day North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory has carried on Nero’s tradition, watching as an economic brush fire he started by signing HB2 into law continues to sweep across the state. Quick! Someone mail him a violin

The announcement that PayPal would cancel its plans to build an operations center in Charlotte is only the beginning. The Washington Post compares HB2’s passage to The Religious Freedom Restoration Act that became law in Indiana last year and finds that North Carolina has much more to lose

The business community is largely on PayPal’s side on this, and it could be just the first of several major companies decide it’s not worth it to be involved with North Carolina anymore

Red Ventures has already said it’s reconsidering plans for expansion. But, let’s consider a “worst case” scenario: What is the maximum damage that HB2 reactions could do to the North Carolina economy? Truth is, the sky is the limit

Take, for example, the tourism industry. Domestic tourists spent more than $20 billion in North Carolina in 2013 and the most recent data says that nearly 200,000 jobs are supported by tourism dollars. While no one expects people to cancel beach or mountain trips en masse many of these businesses are “mom-and-pops” that can suffer great damage from a boycott that results in a loss of even five or ten percent of their revenue. For many tourism-related businesses in North Carolina, ten percent can mean the difference between paying the bills or heading to the bank to borrow money to cover those bills (and even worse if borrowing isn’t an option). Many of these businesses already have exposure to inherent risks (hurricanes, for example) and don’t need anything else taking money out of their pockets (potentially). Finally, many of these business owners are reliable Republican voters, so they’re likely to see damage inflicted on their bottom line by people they put in office

And what about North Carolina’s leading industry, agriculture? More than eight million acres of the state are dedicated to agriculture and many of these are family farms. North Carolina agriculture is a $70 billion a year business (greater than the entire GDP of The Dominican Republic). What would a boycott of North Carolina agriculture do? Again, many of these family farms are already dealing with razor-thin margins and a loss of even a few percentage points of revenue can mean the difference between keeping the farm or selling the farm. And, once again, many of these farm families have voted Republican for decades

So, there are a lot of families in North Carolina who are looking at the summer months with trepidation. The game changed for them on March 23rd due to no fault of their own. Most of these families don’t have the luxury of a PayPal or a Labcorp, to look down the line at long-term projections. They can’t look beyond the upcoming tourism season or harvest. All of that is in jeopardy

History tells us that old Nero eventually offed himself, becoming the first Roman emperor to take his own life. It remains to be seen if Pat McCrory committed political suicide when he signed HB2 into law. It also remains to be seen if the people who put him in office in 2012 will hand him the knife in 2016

 

McCrory Discovers Privacy

Republicans in North Carolina are in full “pushback” mode from criticism over the passage of HB2 last week. As the negative economic impact of the controversial law becomes clearer, Governor McCrory and other proponents have stepped up their p.r. game. Senator Phil Berger launched standwithmccrory.com to help supporters of HB2 network and express their thanks to the Governor McCrory. The website features this image

McCrory Bathroom

which turns North Carolina’s Chief Executive into “The Guardian of the Crapper”. I’m very interested in how they cast the creepy, lurking guy in the background. Was it a Craig’s List ad?:

Wanted: Creepy-looking, somewhat ethically ambiguous pseudo-Caucasian guy. Must look like the guy who spent a little too much time looking at your wee wee in the shower after 8th-grade gym. Also, must be a tad more sinister looking than the governor of the state of North Carolina

Also, it doesn’t help that they picked a shot of McCrory that looks like he’s straining as if to…well, you know

Another great “pushback’ initiative is this video, which looks like it was shot by a mid 40s dad, who was trying out his iPhone upgrade

Governor McCrory looks into the camera earnestly and appeals to North Carolinians to put away the rancorous politics and work for solutions to make HB2 better

  1. You created the rancor. This is sort of like the guy who cut one decrying the lack of air quality in the car. He who smelt it, dealt it, guv
  2. Why does it need to be fixed? You didn’t sign an unsustainable bill into law just for political gain, did you, Pat?

Previously, I looked at McCrory’s curious, consultant-driven use of language and I found an interesting tidbit in his 5-minute “Pushback Video”. He uses the phrase “expectation of privacy” three times, which I found very interesting. First, because I’ve never, personally, had much of an expectation of privacy when I use a public restroom. It has the word public right before the word restroom and that lets me know that, in many cases, people can walk in while I’m doing my business and they can see me in the throes of answering nature’s call. So, my “expectation of privacy” isn’t much

But, when I’m having a medical procedure done, that’s a different story

You see, Mr. McCrory signed a bill into law last year that would have some interesting consequences on women seeking abortions

The bill also requires doctors who perform abortions in which the fetus is older than 16 weeks to send an image of the ultrasound and other information to the state Department of Health and Human Services. No other state requires that

And, gosh, we know that stuff that’s sent to government entities never gets leaked to the public. And who knows who might see these images in the doctor’s office and as HHS. So, it seems, when it comes to privacy, Mr. McCrory’s concern ends at the urinal

But, hey, at least he’s not advocating that women who get an abortion be punished, like the (likely) guy at the top of the ballot. Well, at least, he isn’t yet

But, this wasn’t Pat’s first crack at putting restrictions on the procedure. In 2013, the state passed the infamous “Motorcyle Abortion” law, which made the agonizing, private decision of some women even more difficult. It may be difficult to remember this one, as it was many belly laughs ago, but it was one of the governor’s first forays into making the state he (allegedly) loves into a national punchline

You see, the word “privacy” has been, traditionally, a word that’s been used by pro-choice groups. While there is not an explicit “right to privacy”, the Supreme Court of the United States found that the Fourteenth Amendment, informed by the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments formed a de facto Right to Privacy in Roe v. Wade. I won’t bore you further with the legalize because we’re talking about language. Thus, the mantle of “privacy” has been carried as a banner by groups who advocate that abortion should be kept safe and legal. That is why it’s quite curious that an anti-choice governor like Pat McCrory should co-opt the language for his own purposes here

I expect that McCrory will continue down this path and claim that his vision advocates for a “freedom of choice”. The freedom to choose a urinal where you can be free from the prying eyes of some “creepy lurker” (see above pic) who just wants look at your willy. Something like that

It’s not that I dislike privacy, Pat. It’s just that I think a woman should have a greater expectation of it when she goes to the doctor than I do when I’m hitting the head at Applebee’s