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03
Roy whacked Pat. Pat then slapped Phil. Phil poked Pat back. And no one laid a glove on Roy.
 
That was last week.
 
This week Roy whacked Pat again. And Pat gabbed Phil three times.
 
Last week Pat said Phil was cutting taxes too much – and this week he said  Phil was ‘raising taxes’ too much. And added Republican State Senators sounded to him a lot like John Edwards talking about ‘class warfare.’
 
Pat also said Phil’s bill saying magistrates don’t have to perform gay marriages – if it doesn’t sit well with their religious beliefs – is wrong-headed. And the Senate’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Bill” (which also relates to gay rights) isn’t needed.
 
And four gay mayors then invited Pat to join their gay rights coalition.
 
It’s been a messy two weeks. But there’s a method in the madness.
 
Roy wants to be Governor so he’s attacking Pat on education.
 
Pat figures Phil is too conservative and attacking Phil will help him defeat Roy.
 
And, well, Phil’s simply for old-fashioned conservative. Who’s for lower taxes and opposes gay-marriage.
 
And that’s the way of things: Take a bit of logic, add politicians, taxes, and gay-marriage – and you end up with a quagmire.  


 

 

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02
For Christians, Easter is more than eggs, ham and bunnies. It’s a celebration of the central miracle and mystery of faith – the resurrection of Jesus, the hope of salvation and the promise of everlasting life.
 
Meanwhile, the secular political world is roiled over laws that, critics say, would let people of faith discriminate against LGBT people.
 
This Easter weekend, then, let’s ponder what Jesus might do. Condemn LGBT people and condone discrimination against them? Turn them away from the inn, as it were?
 
Apparently, many people of faith fervently answer yes.
 
Many others find it abhorrent to their faith and their understanding.
 
Maybe we ought to do more praying and less judging.

 

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01
Governor McCrory and Speaker Tim Moore have two big reasons to worry about the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” (aka, the “Freedom to Discriminate Against Gays Act”): business and politics.
 
It’s bad business for North Carolina. And bad politics for McCrory, Senator Burr and House Republicans.
 
Business first. Indiana shows how such a law can hurt a state’s brand and scare away business. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla vetches about not having incentive money. This could make his incentives moot.
 
Then there’s politics. Republican strategists are worrying, and they should, over how much political money could flood into North Carolina against their candidates because of the law. If they think they saw a lot of independent money flow in last year against Thom Tillis, wait until they see how much money this issue attracts.
 
That could cost Burr and McCrory reelection. It could also take out House Republicans in Wake County like Nelson Dollar, Marilyn Avila and Gary Pendleton.
 
Philosophically, this is a classic American debate. It pits two of our strongest impulses: on one hand, to respect every individual’s sincere religious beliefs and, on the other hand, to knock down all forms of discrimination against any individual.
 
But forget philosophy. This is politics. For Republicans, it’s Business Republicans against Church Republicans.
 
Democrats may hate the legislation. But they can love watching Republicans fight over it – and lose over it.

 

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31
Thanks to a TAPster who remembers the 1980s for this one:
 
 
“(North Carolina Congressman) Patrick McHenry is listed as an organizer of a new joint fundraising committee named – drum roll – Whip It Good PAC.  At first I thought it was a joke, but apparently not.”
 
 
For those not familiar with the Devo song and video “Whip It,” enjoy.
 
 
Whip it, Patrick.

 

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30
Going back to the days of Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt, Young Democrats were a breeding ground for extraordinary leaders. But the current crop may become the best ever.
 
I spent several hours in Chapel Hill Saturday morning at the annual state convention of YDs, College Dems and Teen Dems. They are just as smart, capable and determined as their predecessors. They are extremely focused, serious and hard-headed in their politics.
 
They know the party faces tough challenges in North Carolina, so they’re free of the overconfidence and sometimes-overweening personal ambition of some past YDs. Above all, they are committed to Service with a capital S.
 
One panel, far too brief, featured eight young Democrats who hold elected office across the state, including Wake County Commissioners Matt Calabria and Jessica Holmes. Each panelist had four minutes to talk about the rewards and challenges of running for and serving in public office. They should have had 20 minutes each.
 
I was on a panel just before them, serving as the designated Old White Guy. The last question to us was whether the Democratic Party has a strong bench of talent. Judging from Saturday, the clear answer is Yes.
 
Being there did more than pump me up. It told me this crowd is ready. They get that the Democratic Party has to update its message for a new state, a new generation and a new economy. They understand how data, analytics and social media are transforming political communications and organization.
 
They don’t see themselves as “leaders of the future.” They’re ready now. Older Democrats need to be ready for them. If they aren’t, they should be pushed aside. And I’ll help push.

 

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27
After capturing the capital the rebels are now hurtling toward Aden.     
 
The President’s fled. No one knows where he is. Or if he’s in the country.
 
And the rebels have put a $100,000 bounty on his head.  
 
Our Embassy’s been shuttered. Our troops have been evacuated.
 
Saudi Arabia’s making airstrikes but it looks like it’s too late.
 
Last fall, President Obama hailed Yemen as a prime example of his success in the battle to stop terrorists like ISIS.
 
Now, in Yemen, the terrorists have all but won.
 
In Washington, the best President’s press spokesman can do is say, ‘We call on them to stop the instability and violence.’
 
And we’re a pretty long way from the days when Presidents ‘walked softly and carried a big stick.’


 

 

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27
We’re going to have to start thinking before we hit Send, Share or Post.
 
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has spent a couple of weeks wallowing in a media mudbath over her State Department emails. Jeb Bush pounced on her. Then we found his staff deep-sixed many of his emails.
 
Roy Cooper called for more open government. Then the Republican Party called on him to release 14 years of his emails. Good thing Roy’s folks didn’t ask my advice. I’d say, “Screw ‘em. It’s a political stunt and a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
 
The latest advance in opposition research is scouring the social media profiles of newly hired campaign staffers, many of whom have posted statements and photos that don’t read so well or look so amusing in retrospect. A few promising careers crashed as a result.
 
How would you like someone examining every email you’ve sent, plus every online post, picture and hot-headed comment?
 
Carter and I may well have posted blogs that we would regret today. But writing a longer post, as opposed to a quick, a Facebook retort or a 140-characer tweet, usually gives you time to realize that what you’re saying is best left unsaid.
 
As super-lawyer Edward Bennett Williams once observed, “Nothing is frequently a very good thing to do and always a brilliant thing to say.”

 

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26
Folks who vote in Republican primaries, if asked, will tell you they’re Conservative and most will firmly add they’re Very Conservative as opposed to A Little Conservative.
 
In the uncompromising depth of his conservative beliefs, Ted Cruz is their cup of tea.
 
But…
 
It’s hard to put your finger on that ‘but…’ but instead of marching onto the Presidential battlefield at the head of an army of Conservatives, Cruz trails Scott Walker and Rand Paul.    
 
National Review published an article by Charles Cooke that may touch on the reason why.
 
Mr. Cooke described the first time he heard Cruz speak: He listened, agreed, admired Cruz’s intelligence, never doubted his sincerity but added, For all his obvious talent Cruz’s rhetorical style frankly makes my hair curl a little.
 
He heard both Cruz and Marco Rubio speak a year later: The audience, he wrote, was more excited to hear Cruz – but after the speeches that changed.
 
Rubio talks to you – Cruz seemed to lecture, one attendee told him.
 
Ted Cruz is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative running in a primary full of two-fisted conservative voters and being tough and smart and sincere may be all it takes at the end of the day. But… how you explain your beliefs matters and a glimmer of conversation, and speaking to people rather than at them, might be the fuel to ignite Ted Cruz’s campaign.


 

 

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25
Sometimes in politics you have to rise above principle.
 
Republicans vow to resist fight President Obama’s “redistributionist” economic policies. Then GOP legislators plot to redistribute sales tax revenues from urban (Democratic) to rural (Republican) counties.
 
Senator Ted Cruz vows to repeal Obamacare. Then he signs up for insurance under Obamacare.
 
Governor McCrory pledged to end the corrupt, secretive practices of his Democratic predecessors. Then he repeatedly fails to accurately report his financial affairs.
 
Legislative Republicans promised to end the partisan machinations of their Democratic predecessors. Then they gerrymander congressional and legislative elections and then move on to county and municipal elections.
 
John Hood has a timely warning in his blog about the unintended consequences of monkeying with elections: “…my message to today’s North Carolina Republicans is this: change an electoral rule if it makes sense on the merits, but don’t do it assuming that your party will benefit. Back in the day, Democrats checked their swing. Now they’re glad they did.”

 

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25
Yesterday in Mosul, the New York Times reports, a man and woman were handcuffed then stoned by ISIS for adultery.
 
Later in the day ISIS took three young men from their uncle’s home and beheaded then in a public street after hearing a rumor the uncle had met with a Kurdish leader.


 

 

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Carter & Gary
 
Carter Wrenn
 
 
Gary Pearce
 
 
The Charlotte Observer says: “Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But they both love North Carolina and know its politics inside and out.”
 
Carter is a Republican. 
Gary is a Democrat.
 
They met in 1984, during the epic U.S. Senate battle between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt. Carter worked for Helms and Gary, for Hunt.
 
Years later, they became friends. They even worked together on some nonpolitical clients.
 
They enjoy talking about politics. So they started this blog in 2005. 
 
They’re still talking. And they invite you to join the conversation.
 
 
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