News-Record & Sentinel, October 16, 2019
The story is told of a basketball team that came with a secret plan. They took the floor with seven players. They ran without dribbling. They body-checked opposing players.
To succeed, their plan had to be a surprise. The other team had to come expecting to play by the rules.
A real-life version of this tale unfolded last month in Raleigh. It opened September 10 with the Republican chairman of the House Rules Committee calling the top Democrat to tell him that the next day’s session would be a “skeleton session,” with no vote to be taken. He told the press the same thing.
Next morning, the Speaker of the House, Tim Moore, gaveled the session to order. Immediately, the floor filled with Republicans. Only a dozen Democrats were present. Very soon, a GOP representative made a motion to override the governor’s veto of the state budget. Democrats hollered foul, but Moore didn’t allow debate, which would have given Democrats time to rally their people. One protesting representative had her microphone turned off. The override passed, 55-9. No reporters were present.
This maneuver brings back memories of past Republican surprises, doesn’t it? Like how they came to power.
In the spring of 2010, national Republican bigshot Ed Gillespie came to Raleigh with a plan. Republicans would wait until the closing days of that year’s campaign, when Democrats would have no time to respond, and then they’d spend millions to smear Democratic candidates, especially with twisted mailbox fliers. Surprise! They took both houses of the General Assembly.
Republicans hadn’t been in control since 1898. Their leaders had no experience — so they did what came natural to them: arrogance and trickery. In January 2012, with an hour’s notice to Democrats, they called a special midnight session to override a veto. Their reply to criticism: “Whenever the will of the majority is to pass legislation without further delay, we should move forward.” In all, over eight years, 21 of their acts have been ruled unconstitutional by the courts.
Most were done when Thom Tillis was Speaker. What about our current Speaker? You can Google him at “Tim Moore scandals.”
Madison County Republicans aren’t Raleigh Republicans. But Hise and Presnell still expect to get thousands of votes here. You have to wonder: what if Hise and Presnell are the ones who are surprised?