RALEIGH – So five former governors coalesced around microphones at the Old State Capitol building Monday and blasted the Republican legislature for having the temerity to let voters of North Carolina decide whether or not to amend their state constitution.
The line up consisted of Republicans Pat McCrory and Jim Martin and Democrats Bev Perdue, Mike Easley and Jim Hunt.
“On Monday, they congregated at the old Capitol in downtown Raleigh to warn voters about a pair of proposed constitutional amendments that would weaken the governor’s office and shift power to the legislature. The proposals are two of six amendments scheduled for the ballot this fall.
One of them would limit the governor’s authority to fill judicial vacancies. The other would grant the legislature — not the governor — the ability to set up a new state elections board and make appointments to state boards and commissions that have historically been made by the governor.”
Yes, the good governors are doing their best to warn the voters of North Carolina to not vote for the dangerous, earth tilting amendments that would let the legislative branch form merit selection commissions for judicial vacancies and make bipartisan appointments to hundreds of boards and commissions that voters can’t name and don’t need.
No, the governors said, these dangerous powers must instead remain with one man, elected popularly statewide every four years, and never be relinquished to a diverse group of lawmakers from across the state and turned over every two years.
The media seems to be playing up the Republican governors’ criticisms of the General Assembly in order to maximize the intended effect of the Democrats’ anti-Republican narrative.
So the first articles out after Monday’s press conference quote Martin and McCrory most prominently.
“”This is not about partisan politics. It’s about power politics. And it must be stopped,” Martin said.”
It must. Be. Stopped. Or the General Assembly, again elected every two years and perfectly capable of actually flipping between political parties or even intra-party factions, will steal the power of appointments from the governor’s mansion and institute a truly bipartisan board of elections and ethics enforcement (!).
Speaking of ethics enforcement. One of the governors opposing that particular amendment Monday was former Democratic governor Mike Easely, who entered a guilty plea to felony campaign finance violations.
Of course, the one the Leftist media will really want to spotlight is Pat McCrory. The governor they loved to drag through the mud at every opportunity just a few short years ago will now become one of their favorite people to the extent that he helps them disparage the Republican legislature.
He played that role on Monday.
“Legislators who want the governor’s powers should have “the courage” to run for governor, McCrory said: “Earn it. Don’t hijack our constitution.””
Are we to assume that former governor Pat McCrory thinks a majority of voters approving constitutional amendments equates to “hijacking our constitution?” He told reporters that he was not worried about his relationship with the NCGOP – does that mean McCrory has officially decided to not run for governor in 2020?
A more appropriate question for McCrory would have been if he is worried about his relationship with grassroots Republican voters, and the majority of voters that seem to support these and other amendments on the ballot.
First of all, the idea that it is a lack of courage that keeps most of these lawmakers from running for governor is laughable. It merely takes networks of moneyed interests to select you as viable, and most lawmakers don’t make the cut, especially ones who adhere to conservative principles.
Second, and most importantly, the individuals of North Carolina form the government and grant it with powers. They also amend the constitution when they feel there is a compelling case for clarification or limitation. Nothing about the people of the Old North State choosing, or not choosing, to modify that document in order to clarify which branch gets what powers is “hijacking” anything.
This is the way it is supposed to work. Perhaps these governors should have the courage to trust the people of North Carolina with their own governance and the decency to avoid contributing to the Left’s hijacking of the amendment narrative, helping them advance movements that really are ravenously interested in power over citizens’ lives.
Republican legislative leaders had a measured response to the big show at the Old State Capitol, in the form of a joint statement from House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger:
“We respectfully disagree with these governors that the people deserve no input on the filling of judicial vacancies, and that our state’s elections and ethics board should be a partisan controlled body despite its key role in our democratic process.”
“While it’s not surprising former governors oppose checks and balances on the unilateral authority of their office, we are confident the people will support a more accountable approach to filling judicial vacancies and approve a bipartisan balance on critical boards like the state’s ethics and elections commission over a system of purely political control.”
To act as if the approach described above amounts to a ‘scheme’ that would trick voters is to discount the intelligence of every voter in the state, whether they support the amendments or not.
Read more of the Leftist media’s gleeful reporting of the former governors’ opposition here.