North Carolina provides a cautionary tale about “centrist” mayors

28 Apr 2013 04:53 pm
Posted by: Donna

(Sorry for the lack of posts all last week. Just needed a break.)

I came across this interesting press release from the North Carolina Democratic Party about their current Republican Governor Pat McCrory.

McCrory: Moderate No More

RALEIGH, NC—NYT Poll Analyst and data guru, Nate Silver, is out with some damning figures that erase the façade of Pat McCrory as a moderate Governor of North Carolina. Silver’s data blows McCrory’s cover as a moderate and shows him to be to the right of Tea Party darlings such as Govs. Rick Perry, Jan Brewer, Rick Scott and Nikki Haley.

Then-candidate McCrory in 2012 was billed as a “moderate” mayor of Charlotte by many in the media, a claim he didn’t reject. In his State of the State address, Gov. McCrory deemed himself as an “Eisenhower Republican.”

The North Carolina Democratic Party (NCDP) has held McCrory accountable for signing into law far-right measures, such as gutting unemployment insurance, rejecting Medicaid expansion and raising taxes on North Carolina’s working families by letting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expire.

“This is what we’ve contended all along and now there’s data to back it up: Gov. McCrory is at the front of the far-right, extreme proposals coming out of Raleigh,” NCDP spokesman Micah Beasley remarked, “The Governor wants to have it both ways, he wants to present a moderate façade to North Carolinians while signing into law every radical proposal coming out of the General Assembly. North Carolinians need a Governor who will rein in this legislature that continues to embarrass our state nationally and address our state’s stagnant unemployment rate.”

The exchange with WCNC’s Dave Wagner, where McCrory welcomed the comparison of being a “moderate Mayor”:

Dave Wagner:
“I’m going to play something for you here that was said by Walter Dalton, if you talk to many people here in Charlotte, they’ll tell you that Pat McCrory, they believe was a moderate mayor…But your Democratic opponent Walter Dalton is trying to portray you as a changed man, take a listen.”

Walter Dalton:
I’m not sure that the Pat McCrory we see today is the same Pat McCrory that the people of Charlotte are familiar with. I think that if you look at some of his policies gnaw at what he has embraced through the North Carolina General Assembly, he pretty much was asked one time, is it, have they done anything you don’t like? He said he did not like the midnight session, but didn’t articulate any other reasons.

Dave Wagner:
Have you changed your political position at all?

Pat McCrory:

WCNC- FlashPOINT – May 13, 2012

Are you getting the same drift of familiarity that I am? Mesa, Arizona’s “moderate” Republican mayor is being touted as a strong candidate for Governor and (sigh) I’m even hearing from some of my fellow liberals (when will they learn?) that Scott Smith seems like a decent fellow. I’m sure Smith would welcome being described as an Eisenhower Republican and his people are clearly pushing that image, as evidenced by the favorable comments to this AZ Republic profile of him last September:

Mayor Smith runs things based on what is good for Mesa as a whole and not for himself or one individual group. That is what I respect most about him.

I wouldn’t paint Smith with the broad Republican brush. He really has been impressive these past few years.

Mayor Smith is a centrist with a view for the future of Mesa. He is not a tea party kook. Stop buying into the party system and instead judge politicians by their actions, not the letter beside their name. Arizona needs more republicans like Mayor Smith.

I’ll take people at their word when they say Smith a competent mayor with an easygoing personality. But running a city in Arizona is a different endeavor than running the state in a lot of crucial ways, not the least of which is the very right wing state legislature we have, similar to North Carolina’s. Even if Smith is truly a moderate, he would have to rubber stamp a lot of their right wing bills in order to work with them. But he’s very likely not a moderate at all, since he proudly claims to be both “pro-life” – which is about the biggest signifier of wingnuttery there is. I get a real strong (you guessed it) Jeff Flake vibe off the guy, frankly. (Speaking of which, guess who is the most right wing GOP Senator, according to Nate Silver’s analysis?)

Smith is not the odds-on favorite for winning the primary, despite all the swooning of establishment pundits over him. But it’s a big GOP field so who knows how the votes could split. I will predict that whoever emerges will run on jobs jobs jobs and downplay their right wing cultural stances. That’s usually all they have to do to snooker enough moderate – AKA “I vote for the person, not the party” – voters. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get those voters to understand that when you vote GOP you get that crazy party and its agenda, whether you want it or not.


  1. Comment by Mike Slater on April 29, 2013 1:18 pm

    When you vote Democrat in Arizona it’s kind of a waste of time.

  2. Comment by dude on April 30, 2013 1:54 pm

    If you voted Republican for President in 2008 or 2012 you kind of wasted your time.

  3. Comment by George DeMarse on May 17, 2013 6:37 am

    I like the comparison of NC with AZ here. I do see similarities.

    Both states had and have extreme right wing legislatures. When the NC governor’s race came around (which was handicapped by Perdue’s implosion) the electorate swung to the Republican candidate who was touted as a “moderate” past mayor. His opponent was a last-minute replacement candidate who was doomed to failure (Dalton).

    What did we get? Extreme right wing legislation merely rubber stamped by so-called “moderate” McCrory.

    What will Arizona get? Same thing.

    The difference being North Carolinians do have somewhat of a progressive history that is now being reversed. Many will miss the progressive nature of the state and stay active to bring it back.

    Arizona, on the other hand, has been red since Goldwater and has stayed that way. Thus, they have no “progressive” state to restore. They won’t miss it.

    The Sage of Wake Forest

  4. Pingback by Democratic Consortium Message No 2 May 6 | WakeDemConsortium on July 2, 2013 11:04 am

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  5. Pingback by Democratic Diva » No, wobbly Democrats, Scott Smith is (still) not your GOP boyfriend on August 10, 2014 5:16 pm

    […] a jobs-focused centrist mayor will turn into an entirely different creature once elected Governor, as happened in North Carolina, where the “Eisenhower Republican” Mayor of Charlotte morphed into Michele Bachmann […]

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