What exactly would voters get in Dan McCready? Don’t ask him

Democrat Dan McCready couldn’t say this week whether he supports Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, or what he would do about illegal immigrants living in the US.
Democrat Dan McCready couldn’t say this week whether he supports Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, or what he would do about illegal immigrants living in the US. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Democrat Dan McCready has a lot of fine attributes. Giving direct answers to tough questions is not one of them.

Charlotte’s McCready has made North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District race one of the most-watched and most competitive in the nation. With Republican Mark Harris’s upset of incumbent Robert Pittenger in the primary, Democrats have targeted the 9th District as one of the key places where they can pick up a seat in their effort to take control of the U.S. House.

McCready, a former Marine and entrepreneur, has portrayed himself, in this conservative-leaning district, as a centrist who will work across the aisle and put “country before party.” That has prompted Republicans to complain that McCready avoids taking stands on controversial issues.

At a luncheon Wednesday hosted by the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club, he did little to dispel that notion. Over and over again, he dodged direct questions and barely disguised it.

An audience member asked about immigration reform and specifically what to do about the 10 million immigrants who are currently in the U.S. illegally.

McCready said the country needs to secure the border and make changes that don’t “go against American values.”

“More importantly,” the audience member pressed, “your position on the 10 million who are here now, what do we do?”

“Well, I think, I don’t have all the answers on immigration. The reality is these are complex challenges,” McCready said. “We need people actually sitting down and rolling up their sleeves to work together to solve the problems that we have.”

“But what would you do?” another audience member asked.

Pause. “I’m sorry?” McCready said.

“What would you do is his question. If you could write it, what would you do?”

“Well, it starts with securing the border,” McCready said, and “we also have to reform immigration in a way that’s in accordance with our values.”

We’ve heard. We never did learn what McCready would do with the millions of immigrants who are already here illegally.

He was similarly evasive when he wouldn’t say whether he supports or opposes Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

“I found Dr. Ford’s testimony extremely credible … and I support the FBI investigation and I look forward to seeing the results of that investigation.”

Asked if that meant he would support Kavanaugh’s confirmation if the FBI report didn’t substantiate Christine Blasey Ford’s claims, McCready said: “I don’t know all the facts and evidence. I’m not in that room. I’ll look forward to seeing the report when it comes back and making a determination at that time.”

And so it went.

How do you feel about labor unions? Businesses can be forces for good, and they need to treat their employees well, he said.

What about fake news, slanted TV news channels and how anyone in Washington can effectively get their message out? “I don’t watch TV. We don’t even have a TV. That might be a better question for someone who watches TV.”

Health care? We need to lower costs while keeping coverage for people with preexisting conditions, he said, a challenge that has flummoxed others for years.

McCready is smart, has raised buckets of money, has an impressive background and articulates a badly needed message of the importance of bipartisanship. But he needs to get more courageous about answering tough questions.

We get why he doesn’t; it very well might be his best strategy in a district that hasn’t elected a Democrat in generations. But voters deserve to know what they’re really getting. McCready hasn’t told them yet.