Being mean is not a formula for success in politics, and Governor McCrory may learn that lesson the hard way.
Hold on, you say. What about Jesse Helms? He made a 30-year career out of being mean and picking on politically weak victims.
Glad you asked. Here’s the difference: What works for a Senator doesn’t work for a Governor.
With Helms, people thought: “There are 99 SOBs in the Senate. Let’s send them a real SOB.” After all, nothing really gets done in the Senate.
But voters know that a Governor makes decisions that can help – or hurt – real people.
Like not extending Medicaid to 500,000 people who don’t have health insurance – and might not get life-saving health care.
Like cutting unemployment assistance to people who can’t find a job and may have trouble providing for their families, while raising your Cabinet secretaries’ pay.
Like stigmatizing immigrants on license plates and making it hard for them to get an education for their children.
Now, the Governor is a likeable, affable fellow. But he needs to consider how politically vulnerable he might become if he starts looking like Jesse Helms with a smile – especially among moderate Independents.
Of course, this assumes those voters know what the Governor is doing. That’s the Democrats’ responsibility.