I’m obviously not a big fan of Governor McCrory, but I want an accurate read on him. It doesn’t do Democrats any good to underestimate him.
Two in cases in point: (1) Democrats who dismissed Ronald Reagan as an “amiable dunce” and (2) all of Barack Obama’s opponents, Democrats and Republicans, who dismissed him in 2008.
Since the legislature left town, I’ve talked with several Republicans who know the Governor, including a couple who have worked with him.
First I wondered if McCrory – how do I say this politely? – just doesn’t have the intellectual horsepower to handle the job. Not very smart, to be blunt. No, I’m told. He’s smart, especially on the issue he cares about: economic development.
Well, then, is he lazy, someone who doesn’t do his homework? No, I’m told, he reads his stuff and works hard. He stays on top of details and his administration.
So what’s the problem? Two answers came back:
First, he isn’t politically deft. He has never been in Raleigh before, and he doesn’t know how to handle Raleigh politics. He had a tough election only one time, and he lost it (2008). He doesn’t have the seasoning to hit big-league pitching yet. That’s why he pulled the politically clumsy stunt of taking a plate of cookies to a group of angry abortion protesters. He thought that was smart.
Second, his experience in government is limited. As Mayor of Charlotte, he was a presider, a greeter, a cheerleader. He was paid to schmooze (and be Mayor) by Duke Energy. He had a city manager to run things.
So, he doesn’t get big-time politics, and he doesn’t know how to run a big-time government. Which explains his rough start. The question is: Will he learn?
If he doesn’t, those two qualities – or lack thereof – will doom him in 2016.