It may still be unclear what this legislature did, but it’s very clear how they did it: with remarkable bile, bitterness and backstabbing among the forces of McCrory, Tillis and Berger.
Oddly, there wasn’t the usual simultaneous adjournment, with members from both houses sharing smiles and handshakes at the end. The Senate passed its budget and left town. The House was left to clean up. (And the state was left with no plan to clean up coal ash.)
The once-united troika of Governor, House and Senate fell apart this year. One Republican even said the Senate pushed for the so-called 7 percent pay raise just to put up a number that McCrory had said he would veto, challenging him to put up or back down.
Then there was the Governor comparing Berger to Marc Basnight, Tony Rand and even Harry Reid. Plus the obvious glee that McCrory and Tillis allies took in the defeat of Berger Jr.’s congressional race – and their possible involvement in that defeat.
In return, there was the Senate’s very public and pointed killing of the puppy-mill bill that was a pet project (so to speak) of the Governor and First Lady.
Certainly Democrats fought with each other when they held those positions. Jim Hunt had Jimmy Green, for Pete’s sake. But Republicans took it to a new level this year.
Democrats can’t be happy with what the session did. But they can learn to like the political damage it did to Tillis’ Senate candidacy, the issues they now have for the 2014 and 2016 elections and the prospect of more GOP division ahead.