As the year winds down, people begin to focus on accomplishments and legacy. I see four major "accomplishments" of the North Carolina Republican Party.
The Great Tax Increase of 2014. They'll spin and they'll blather about a monumental tax cut, but the truth will out. The so-called GOP Tax Reform is the biggest tax increase on working families in history. Fail.
The Insult Our Woman Act of 2013. McCrory said "none" when asked about future restrictions on abortion, and then he signed this legislation into law. No amount of happy-talk will change this reality. It will be the end of his political career.
The Keep Poor People Poor Initiative of 2014. Two pivotal decisions involving Medicaid and unemployment benefits will be on full display next year, costing North Carolina taxpayers billions of dollars. There's no way to put lipstick on this pig.
The No Jobs Act of 2013. Republican policies have put North Carolina at the bottom of the barrel in job creation, at a time when the rest of the country is moving forward. And their only trick - corporate bribery - is losing steam in the face of teacher retention problems, eliminating environmental protections, and good old-fashioned corruption.
Look for Art Pope's Multimillion Dollar Opinion Manufacturing Machine to shift into high gear over the next month. Whenever you see their propaganda on these issues, do two things. First, report it here. And second, respond with a letter to the editor or a comment online to set the record straight.
Thom Tillis has saddled up and is riding hard. In the months ahead, he'll spend millions painting Kay Hagan as a dirty socialist because she voted with Democrats to pass the Affordable Care Act. Next November, he'll regret that move when he loses his bid for US Senate.
Most people agree that the healthcare.gov rollout was botched. Big deal. Websites fail all the time, and this one has had the added burden of constant attacks by Republican obstructionists. More important, there's no point in signing up now anyway because you'll be paying for coverage that doesn't start until next year. Just take a deep breath and come back in January. That's what I'm going to do. Healthcare.gov will still be there, and it'll be running like a well-oiled machine.
Rev. Mark Harris, President of the NC State Baptist Convention and candidate for US Senate, opens the convention in prayer: "Thank you for this beautiful facility, paid for by riverboat gamblers and charlatans."
If next year's election were held today, it's likely Republicans would lose the House of Representatives and fail to win the Senate. I say "likely" because of gerrymandering. In fair elections, it would be game over. The Republican party is a damaged brand, and there's no sign anyone is working to repair it. But because of gerrymandering, the GOP has a built-in structural advantage that gives them a huge cushion. Throw in a raft of voter intimidation tactics, and whatever momentum we're seeing on the left could be dashed.
How do we make it from here to next November without losing steam? It's not rocket science.
We have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party. The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
There is a great risk that voters will forget who squandered nearly $25 billion dollars with this bullshit shutdown. Don't let them. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not a year from tomorrow. Because for all their intransigence in DC, Republicans are even worse here in North Carolina.
We all knew that this legislative session was bad for the environment, and we all knew that extremists have taken over the Jones Street House of Pain, but this report is a stark reminder of just how bad it is:
The League reports that it had awarded 48 zero scores since 1999. But 82 lawmakers achieved that goal in this session alone, amounting to nearly half of the legislature.
And DAG McCrony and Profiteer Skvarla are doing their part to leave smoldering ruins to our kids and grandkids:
DAG McCrony signed the omnibus voter suppression bill today, then tried to spin it as a "popular" voter ID bill, ignoring the most horrific provisions of the bill (which makes us wonder if he actually read the bill, given that we know he sometimes doesn't).
Public Policy Polling found that the GOP extremists took something that was popular (voter ID) and added so much stuff to it that the overall bill was entirely unpopular -- 39% overall support, and opposed by 70% of moderates.
Maybe that's why Prevaricating Pat wants people to think it was about voter ID. He still hasn't figured out that he's not fooling anybody.
Bottom line? The GOP has been claiming they're fixing an education problem that doesn't exist. And their solution is guaranteed to shred the integrity of North Carolina's public school system. As many have said, their goal seems to be simple: make public schools suck so much that regular people will turn against them.
Now that The Old Backward State is a national laughingstock (Colbert, Maher, Maddow, others), the right-wing nut jobs are in the spotlight. You'd think that they'd be embarrassed and trying to find a hole to hide in. Some of them are, but apparently at least one GOP strategist thinks it's all good:
“I think McCrory is going to end up being one of the most popular governors in the country,” [Marc] Rotterman is quoted saying in the It’s All Politics blog last week.
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