George Washington supposedly said the Founding Fathers created the Senate to cool House legislation just as a saucer cools hot tea.
In North Carolina, it looks like the House and Art Pope are cooling the Senate’s hot tea.
The House promised to take a long second look at the Senate’s boards and commissions bill. The House says it, unlike the Senate, will hear Governor McCrory’s concerns about the Medicaid/health care reform bill.
And in the most interesting story I found from when I was gone, Pope threw cold water on the Senate’s blazing hot tax-reform tea.
One-party rule notwithstanding, institutional imperatives will prevail. Houses and Senates are born to fight. So are legislatures and Governors.
And you can’t separate the institutions from their leaders’ ambitions. Speaker Tillis wants to run for Senate next year. So does Senator Berger, maybe. Their calculation: How do they position themselves for both a conservative Republican primary electorate and a moderate general election electorate? And how do they draw a contrast with each other?
McCrory has his own separate calculation: how to maintain the broad appeal that got him into the Governor’s office.
It’s instructive that Pope, not McCrory, raised doubts about replacing the income tax with a broad sales tax on services. That gave McCrory some distance from the fight. Plus, Pope can claim credit for Republicans taking control of the legislature.
Not that they’ll give him credit. When politicians win an election, as Carter once noted, they are firmly convinced they got there because of their own moral goodness.
That noise you hear is the sound of four egos and ambitions colliding.