Dear Gov. McCrory,
Before we start, I should make you aware of a few things.
First, I voted for you in 2012, based on your comments and your experience in Charlotte. Following the troubled Easley and Perdue administrations, you and other Republicans said you were going to be above board and honest in all your dealings. I liked that. But, as you may recall, I haven’t been particularly happy with your move to the right.
Second, I don’t know who is right in this spat between you and the Associated Press. I do know that a reporter’s job is to seek the truth, and a politician’s job is, well, something else. But, I’ll repeat, I have not fact-checked the AP story in question.
Third, we don’t know each other, but by all accounts, you’re thin-skinned — more thin-skinned than most politicians who get as far as you have. I suspect my calling you thin-skinned will annoy you. I hope not, because its intent is constructive; there are ways to set the record straight, but this isn’t one.
I’m sure you were angered by the report by Michael Biesecker that revealed the special payment you received from serving on a corporate board. I know the idea that your personal ethics were being questioned must have got on your last nerve.
But I wish there had been an adult in the room when you decided on your response because you went all in, and, as a result, you look like a 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.
Your staff released a 34-page list of grievances against Biesecker, dating to last February. Keeping a list and checking it twice? It’s complete with snarky comments from you or your staff that are more in keeping with cynical newspaper chatter than the dignity of the governor’s office.
Your campaign operatives wasted no time using it as an opportunity to send out a fund-raising letter, accusing, once again, unfair media treatment. The letter refers to an attack with “false claims and innuendo,” which could also apply to your own 34-page list.
In the News & Observer, Claude Pope, leader of the N.C. GOP, called AP’s story about you a “smear campaign.” When I first read the story, I had to make sure whom he was referring to as the victim of the smear.
Maybe this is good politics as you prepare for your next election. No one likes the news media, after all, so reporters are fair game, as you’ve demonstrated a few times. Me, I’d have stopped at your statement insisting that you did everything by the book. If the story had no legs, it would have died quickly in the December news doldrums. Instead, you’ve kept it alive for at least a few more cycles.
Maybe that was your political intent. But protesting so vociferously — and childishly — over a straight forward story makes you look small, and, well, kinda guilty. Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have done that, although, I’ll admit, Jesse Helms probably would’ve.
You’re better than this. At least, that was what I was hoping when I voted last time.
P.S. three days later: Had I known that you had appointed a Helms representative as your deputy chief of staff, I wouldn’t have written “probably” in the paragraph above.