Pat McCrory is the governor of a thriving state with a robust economy. He should be leading by six or so percentage points in his race for reelection. He is losing by six or so, and it’s mostly because of one bad law.
This week, the NCAA and ACC made it worse. What can the governor do? He can try a different path than the one steering him toward a sure loss. This is the next speech he should give:
“My fellow North Carolinians:
Today I’d like to talk to you about losing.
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It’s not something a lot of us like to talk about, but we should, because losing helps us realize how we can be better.
This week, North Carolina lost. The NCAA and ACC have decided to move their athletic championships from our state because of HB2. Cities like Charlotte and Cary, Greensboro and Greenville, will lose events that fans and students looked forward to – and that businesses were counting on.
Now, as your governor, I must tell supporters of this law: We’ve lost, too.
This is not an easy thing to realize. When we passed HB2, we did so in part because our conservative values tell us that government should not interfere in how businesses operate, that the market will inform businesses when they’re doing something wrong. I still believe that’s true.
But now, the market has spoken to North Carolina. Events are leaving, and dollars are going elsewhere. Real damage is being done to cities and business owners. We are losing in so many ways, and it will not stop with the NCAA and ACC.
This should trouble all of us. Our state has long been a model for others, a Southern state with a vibrant economy and a university system that’s the envy of our neighbors and the country. We’ve been a place where people wanted to live and businesses wanted to call home.
But with HB2, people are seeing a North Carolina I don’t believe exists, one that wants to promote discrimination and hurt. Our business recruiters say companies are uneasy about us. Our business leaders say the young talent they need is wary of moving here.
As governor, I must recognize this. Although I believe in HB2 and the reasons we enacted it, I can’t endanger the economic health of our state. So today, I am calling for the General Assembly to convene immediately and reexamine HB2.
Some of my fellow North Carolinians won’t like this. They will say we’re compromising our values, and that we’re letting others – the elitists – tell us how to run our state. To you, I want to offer a reminder:
When I campaigned for this office, I told the people of North Carolina that I would bring to the governor’s mansion the same values and principles that helped me lead Charlotte. Those principles included a willingness to bring diverse people together to accomplish great things.
I believe that’s how we can thrive as a state, especially now. But for that to happen, we must acknowledge that we’re different in some ways. What’s good for a city like Charlotte might not be what’s good for a county like Yadkin.
But whenever possible, we should allow our cities and our counties to determine what’s good for them. That’s a conservative principle, too, and I think it’s one that has helped North Carolina become the place we love.
Today, we need to move in that direction once again, together. For our state, our great state of North Carolina, I hope you will join me.”
... Or something like that.
Will the governor try it? Probably not. Would it save his candidacy? Maybe not.
But there are times when the savvy move and the right move are the same move. Right now, North Carolina needs some kind of move. We’re losing.
Peter: @saintorange; email@example.com