What others say: Gov. McCrory fails final test of leadership

  • Sunday, December 25, 2016 11:30am
  • Opinion

It was the Last Roundup for Pat McCrory, a governor with a blank slate of a record who was ignored and disrespected even by his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly for his four years in office. But the governor had one final chance to redeem his pride and demonstrate strength and statesmanship.

He failed.

In signing two bills that outrageously take away appointive powers and other authority that resides in the governor’s office, McCrory rolled over. And in the process, the more he kept trying to explain himself, the worse he looked.

The bills, courtesy of the GOP leaders in the General Assembly, shift some appointive power away from the governor’s office, and require that Gov.-elect Roy Cooper’s Cabinet appointees be approved by the Senate. The state superintendent of public instruction, now to be 33-year-old Republican Mark Johnson, will have new powers over public education. And Cooper will have fewer than one-third the patronage appointments McCrory had.

This disgraceful overreach by GOP lawmakers is for one reason: Cooper is a Democrat, and he is a strong leader who upended McCrory’s re-election in a year when Republicans got the presidency and voters returned U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, whose record is lackluster, to Congress for a third term. McCrory was the sore thumb among Republicans, and legislative leaders fear Cooper’s political skills. So with the excuse that Democrats once took powers from Republican leaders — true, but not on this scale — they proceeded to walk all over the separation of powers principle of democratic government.

Ironically, of course, this governor once got help from former Gov. Jim Martin, a Republican, and former Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat, to defend the powers of the governor. McCrory successfully battled legislative leaders over the constitutionality of lawmakers’ creation of some independent commissions. Both Martin and Hunt agreed the maneuvers were illegal.

Even as he signed off on the bills curbing Cooper’s rightful authority, McCrory seemed to want it both ways. He said, for example, that he thought the provisions to make Cooper’s Cabinet go through the Senate was “wrong and short-sighted.” He said the issue needed to be resolved by the legislature and the governor-elect, as if that would be remotely possible. And then he signed the bills anyway.

The governor, as if to show his strength, also tried to take credit for stopping Republican lawmakers from “packing” the state Supreme Court with two additional judges to counter the Democratic majority that will exist after the swearing in of Mike Morgan to replace Republican Bob Edmunds. There are two problems with the governor’s claim: the head of the state Republican Party ridiculed the media for reporting the possible move to pack the court because the issue was non-existent, and GOP leaders themselves put down the story. McCrory just gave them up and proved that there was indeed talk of such a move.

McCrory could have vetoed the bills, whereupon he would have been overridden. But at least he would have made a stand for the separation of powers to protect the authority of his successors. But once again and for a final time, the governor failed a test of leadership.

— The News and Observer of Raleigh,
North Carolina, Dec. 20

More in Opinion

The Alaska Capitol on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Alaska Voices: Legislature deserves credit

A special session shouldn’t have been necessary, but at least it was only one day instead of 30 days.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Alaska Voices: Please be safe, courteous, and legal as you fish in Alaska this summer

As you head out to hit the water this year, here are a few tips to help you have a safe and citation free season

An observer makes an entry in the Fish Map App on Prince of Wales Island. (Photo by Lee House/courtesy Salmon State)
Alaska Voices: Document Alaska rivers with new fish map app

The app provides a way for everyday Alaskans to document rivers home to wild salmon, whitefish, eulachon and other ocean-going fish — and earn money doing it

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Sustainability report is a greenwashing effort

Report leaves out “the not-so-pretty.”

Pictured is an adult Chinook salmon swimming in Ship Creek, Anchorage. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Voices of the Peninsula: Proactive measures key to king salmon recovery

I have been sport fishing king salmon along the eastern shores of Cook Inlet and in the Kenai River since 1977

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Honoring the fallen on Memorial Day

As we honor the men and women who fell in service to our nation, we must keep their memories alive through their stories

Shana Loshbaugh (Courtesy photo)
History conference seeking input from peninsula people

The Alaska Historical Society will hold its annual conference on the central peninsula this fall

Coach Dan Gensel (left) prepares to get his ear pierced to celebrate Soldotna High School’s first team-sport state championship on Friday, Febr. 12, 1993 in Soldotna, Alaska. Gensel, who led the Soldotna High School girls basketball team to victory, had promised his team earlier in the season that he would get his ear pierced if they won the state title. (Rusty Swan/Peninsula Clarion)
Remembering my friend, Dan Gensel

It’s a friendship that’s both fixed in time and eternal

(Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The false gods in America’s gun culture

HB 61 is a solution in search of a problem.

KPBSD Superintendent Clayton Holland
Reflecting on a year of growth and resilience

A message from the superintendent

Jim Cockrell, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. (Courtesy photo/Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)
Honoring the 69 peace officers who have died serving Alaskans

Alaska Peace Officer Memorial Day honors the brave men and women who have given their lives in the line of duty

Rep. Maxine Dibert (Image via Alaska State Legislature)
Opinion: The economic case for a significant investment in education

As our oil production and related revenue have declined, our investments in education have remained flat