Thursday night’s forum was the fourth that Tillis has skipped as he pursues what he describes as a methodical strategy for winning not only the primary but a high-stakes general election. Critics accuse him of ducking tough questions and skeptical voters.
Tillis’ primary reflects the tension between the tea party and GOP establishment that’s evident across the country. Several incumbents including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham face challenges from the right.
Make no mistake, establishment Republicans do want to win a majority of the seats in the US Senate, but they don't want to bring the craziness of the House over into their corporate boardroom Senate. And NC's Senate race is shaping up to be ground zero in that battle, with Tillis doing exactly what they tell him to. And Greg Brannon is doing his best to capitalize on that:
Thirteen legislators, all Republicans, have tried to quash subpoenas requiring them to produce any documents they created or received concerning the “rationale, purpose and implementation” of House Bill 589.
Sen. Phil Berger, leader of the state Senate, was among the group, as was Thom Tillis, the speaker of the House. Others include Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County, Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Mecklenburg, Rep. Larry Pittman of Concord and Rep. David Lewis, the Harnett County Republican who helped lead the 2011 redrawing of legislative and congressional districts being challenged in court.
According to a statement from the legislative leaders' offices, "The committee is being formed to explore the real world impacts that the Affordable Care Act is having on North Carolina's economy and citizens through disruptions in the insurance marketplace, dropped coverage for families and higher premiums without improved access to providers."
We know it's a politically motivated sham because they've all but said that they will ignore positive effects of Obamacare and ignore the negative impacts of the NCGA's own stupid policies such as not setting up a state exchange and refusing federally funded Medicaid expansion.
Tillis looks and sounds like the Mitt Romney that people hated in 2012: a wealthy corporate boardroom guy surrounded by white men in suits. The ad screams: I’m most at home in the corporate suites and at the head of the conference table.
More to the point, the ad screams the truth. Divide-and-conquer Tillis is all about the 1%.
One day last September, Thom Tillis said some nice things about extending the tax incentives for the film industry in North Carolina. Less than two weeks later, good ol' Thom received $28,600 in campaign contributions from out-of-state executives at Screen Gems. Who knew Tillis could be bought for that kind of chump change?
Thom Tillis is out with his first commercial, 'splaining how he likes to clean up messes. Too bad he won't start with the dozens of messes he made as Speaker of the NC House. His commercial is like his Senate campaign, counting on Obamacare to fail. There's a chance that could happen, but it's slim.
I'm worried about a lot of stuff this year. Having Thom Tillis become a United States Senator isn't one of them.
But Tillis, a 53-year-old former IBM executive who has the strong backing of the GOP establishment but is by no means the prohibitive front-runner, is betting that Southern Democrats who once thrived here are dying breeds because of the liberal policies coming out of Washington. He is defiant about North Carolina’s hard-right turn, calling it a “reform agenda unlike any other state in the United States.”
“I think for the most part, what I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers,” he said in an interview in his Raleigh office. “They lost, they don’t like it, and they are going to try to do everything they can to, I think, cast doubt on things that I think are wise and that the average citizen when they know what we’re doing, I think, like it.”
Um, what? Did Thom's doctor cut him off from caffeinated coffee or something? I think his repetitive use of the phrase "I think" (four times, no less) is an effort to jump-start his brain, not unlike when you get a straight-gear car rolling and then pop the clutch. It's not working.
Of course, there is the requisite lie about characterizing NCAE as a union:
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) issued the following joint statement today in response to a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina affiliate of the national teachers’ union and a liberal special interest group
But this one really takes the cake. This has to be a candidate for whopper of the year:
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