Wednesday, August 14, 2013

North Carolina: GOP Extremism Unrestrained

If one wants to see what the GOP agenda for America, North Carolina offers a pretty good glimpse as a GOP controlled legislature and GOP governor run rampantly out of control and enact far right dream legislation that does everything from further restricting abortion to disenfranchising a significant percentage of voters.  Voters in Virginia would be wise to look southward to see what a GOP victory in Virginia in November would usher in.  A piece in the New York Times looks at what is happening in North Carolina - things that should have been foreseen by the cretins who either stayed home on election day or who stupidly believed GOP lies.  Anyone familiar with today's GOP base should have seen all of this coming.  Here are article excerpts:

When Pat McCrory, a Republican former mayor of Charlotte, was elected governor last year, he pledged to “bring this state together,” and to focus on bread-and-butter issues amid an ailing economy.

But with Republicans controlling all branches of the state government for the first time in more than a century, the legislature pushed through a wide range of conservative change. The Republicans not only cut taxes and business regulations, as many had expected, but also allowed stricter regulations on abortion clinics, ended teacher tenure, blocked the expansion of Medicaid, cut unemployment benefits, removed obstacles to the death penalty, allowed concealed guns in bars and restaurants, and mandated the teaching of cursive writing. 

Just this week, Mr. McCrory signed into law strict voter identification requirements, prohibiting same-day registration and cutting early voting.
Lawsuits have been filed — including one on Monday by the N.A.A.C.P. — and protests are taking place almost weekly in Raleigh, the capital, and other cities, leaving North Carolinians across the political spectrum worried that the state’s often-hailed political pragmatism may have given way to the ideological warfare of Washington. 

[I]n the 2010 elections, a cycle deeply unfavorable for Democrats nationwide, North Carolina Republicans won both houses of the legislature for the first time in a century. More critically, they also won control of redistricting. One year later, they drew districts guaranteeing safe seats for a Republican majority for years to come. 

In 2012, with Ms. Perdue’s late decision not to run again, Mr. McCrory won the governor’s office easily. Naming Mr. Pope as his budget director, he promised an agenda focused on economic growth, even pledging not to sign into law new restrictions on abortion. But Republicans in the legislature were not interested in half-measures. 

Doug Clark, a columnist for The News and Record of Greensboro, welcomed the partisan change, but he now sees the state’s Republican leadership as fostering “extreme partisanship and abuse of power.” He questioned why the legislature, after passing laws governing abortion, guns and voter identification, and frequently trying to exert control over issues traditionally left to local governments, never got around to passing the governor’s plan to overhaul job recruiting. 

While the number of North Carolina voters over all has risen since 2008, the number who are registered as either Republicans or Democrats has shrunk.  Unaffiliated voters now make up more than a quarter of the voting population. 

“Honest, I’m not much into North Carolina,” said Cyril Seacat, 78, who moved here decades ago to work in a Glen Raven-owned mill and was sitting in his truck outside a Walmart. “I don’t think they’re doing much of anything right.”

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