“One could write off Pence’s surprise at the RFRA-inspired boycott of his state as the natural result of a person who lives in a right-wing bubble. After all, even though he must have known about Indiana’s struggles, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory seemed similarly shocked by the national outcry over the infamous anti-trans ‘bathroom bill’ he signed into law earlier this year. A religious conservative like Pence, even one who worked in D.C. for better than a decade, could easily have been trapped in a bubble of epistemic closure.”
It seems a place to start. Gary Legum’s analysis of why Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would be a poor pick to run alongside Donald Trump certainly had its merits, though in truth we can speculate with reasonable confidence that selecting the Hoosier dullard will not, ultimately, be what sinks Republican presidential hopes. To the other, Gov. McCrory’s infamy has taken an even more compelling turn of late; Steve Benen offers three of the most uncomfortable paragraphs you might read this season:
The point is not to diminish the pain of the woman featured in the ad, who was the victim of a horrible crime. Rather, the point is the disconnect between what happened to Gina Little and the purpose of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law.
Let’s not forget how we reached this point: city officials in Charlotte approved a broad anti-discrimination measure, which included protections for transgender North Carolinians, allowing people to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity. The Republican governor and state legislature took action soon after, undoing what Charlotte had done.
Five months later, McCrory’s re-election campaign is defending the policy by pointing to a woman who was molested as a child in her home by members of her own family.
It really is an unfortunate turn. Mark Binker reports, for WRAL:
The campaign rolled out a second ad with no announcement or discernable social media push. That ad features a sexual abuse survivor and slams Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is running against McCrory, for not defending House Bill 2, a measure which, among other things, requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom corresponding with their birth gender.
“At nine, I was molested by a teenager,” a woman named Gina Little says in the ad, titled “The Truth About Roy Cooper.”
“When I found out that President Obama and Roy Cooper want to force school children to share the same locker room, shower and restroom with someone who claims to be the opposite sex, I was horrified,” Little says.
The ad goes on to praise McCrory’s efforts to defend House Bill 2 against a federal lawsuit.
Little has told her story in public before, saying she was abused by a family member.
Or, as Mr. Benen put it: “Perhaps the governor can explain how HB 2 relates in any way to what happened to Gina Little?”
This is a particularly cynical exploitation, even if Ms. Little actually wants to be exploited this way. Who needs or deserves the unfortunately requisite dismissal and invalidation that comes with being the wrong example?
Sometimes it works well enough to postulate that an outcome is either sinister or stupid, because the next part is to point out that even the sinister requires a certain degree of stupidity. How Mr. McCrory can justify this extraordinarily excremental exploitation of a sex abuse survivor is the sort of question illustrating that proposition: Fine, he’s evil; doesn’t mean he’s not a complete imbecile.
We’re approaching cartoon villain overcomplexity; perhaps after the election, the governor can take up a new career as the next Hooded Claw.
Image notes: Top ― North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory addresses the Wake County Republican Party 2016 Convention at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, 8 March 2016. (Photo: Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/Getty) Right ― The Hooded Claw. (Image: Hanna-Barbera)
Benen, Steve. “NC’s McCrory still struggling to defend controversial HB 2”. msnbc. 24 August 2016.
Binker, Mark. “McCrory launches new ads on HB2, education”. WRAL. 22 August 2016.
Horsch, Lauren. “New Poll: Pat McCrory Is Screwed”. Indy Week. 24 August 2016.
Legum, Gary. “Pence for Trump VP? Three reasons why that could be a huge mistake”. Salon. 12 July 2016.