Editorial: Opportunity was missed on new laws

Sep. 05, 2013 @ 10:30 PM

Gov. Pat McCrory’s muddling first year in office got a little dirtier this week.

Time will take care of the stain. He’ll hitch up his pants and move on, as will legislators.

Back around the mud hole behind them is some fine peacock posturing from the governor, Republicans bent on overturning a century of Democratic rule and Democrats licking their chops at the GOP power struggle.

In the mud hole are the rest of us.

McCrory has shown a big-city smugness more than once since stepping into the Governor’s Mansion. Among other times, he did it with a plate full of cookies and not a word to the protestors receiving them, he’s done it by planting his foot in his mouth and he’s done it by choosing principles of convenience.

Voters like to hear about transparency, and McCrory likes to flip on the vocabulary as needed. Ironically, his actions can’t be hidden, like the law he signed enabling judges to cover for each other in secret.

Lawmakers spiked his vetoes with authority Wednesday, after which the governor’s office quickly sent out a preplanned beating speech. In it, the freshman governor chided lawmakers for putting education policy in the budget and not having debate, understanding or transparency on the issues.

That’s the same budget McCrory signed.

And the message he loaded in his slingshot came after Republican leaders like Sen. Phil Berger had rightly praised the few differences of lawmakers and McCrory amid an avalanche of bills sent to his desk.

The Democrats’ Senate leader, Martin Nesbitt, was among those not missing opportunity either. He fired a message to the masses pointing out McCrory didn’t comment on the vetoed bills during the legislative session and wasn’t present for the vote to override. He said the governor was passing blame on the budget.

House Bill 392, drug-testing for some collecting state welfare, has a chance to help those who truly need it while crippling some of the system’s cheaters. House Bill 786 expanded the period for seasonal workers and hit more than its target. Neither bill is set up for the overall benefit of North Carolinians, and both sides missed a second chance to get it right.

That’s going to leave a muddy mark.