Patty Mac’s Comeback

Catch up in 8 minutes: Trump’s other legal problem + McCrory’s probably running for Senate + Walker thinks Cawthorn will help him + NC restaurants need the NCGA’s help + NC teachers on the vax list

Thurs., Feb. 11, 2021 

Lots of clouds today, with a high around 47 and rain likely. If you’re looking for something to binge on a cold and miserable evening, give this a try.


On This Day 

  • 1808: Anthracite coal was experimentally burned as fuel for the first time in Pennsylvania. 

  • 1812: Massachusetts governor Eldridge Gerry signed a redistricting bill, giving birth to the “gerrymander.”

  • 1813: Writer, abolitionist, and fugitive slave Harriet Jacobs was born in Edenton. 

  • 1905: A man in Seattle bowled a 299½. (The final pin broke in half but remained standing.) 

  • 1917: Annie Oakley showed off her shooting skills for a crowd in Pinehurst. 

  • 1919: Sen. Lee Overman of North Carolina, who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, opened hearings on Bolshevism in the U.S., one of the first appearances of the Red Scare. 

  • 1979: Ayatollah Khomenei seized power in Iran. 

  • 2011: Eighteen days of protests in Egypt forced the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. 

  • 2013: Pope Benedict announced that he would become the first pope to abdicate in 598 years. 

One Year Ago 

One Century Ago

  • The New York Times, A1, Feb. 11, 1921: “British Interests Bargain for Russian Oil, Betting Bolsheviki Fall Within 10 Years

  • Shell and other British oil companies paid landowners — under the czarist regime — a significant amount for exclusive rights to the oil they formerly controlled, which would be worth untold fortunes should the communist government collapse and a new regime against recognize private property rights. 

  • The deal had a 10-year window. The Soviet Union lasted for another 70 years. 

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+TODAY’S TOP 5 

1. Trump Has Bigger Problems Than Impeachment

Day 2 of former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment played out a lot like day 1. House managers used previously unseen video of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and Trump’s own words to lay out a damning case that many Republican senators tuned out

  • As was the case a year ago, the result of this impeachment trial has never really been in doubt: It remains highly unlikely — as in, sun-rising-in-the-west unlikely — that 17 Republicans will vote to convict. 

  • Why? Start here: “There are only three sitting GOP senators from states that Trump lost in 2020 and only nine others from states where Trump’s margin of victory was less than 10 points.”

Once again, Republicans will let Trump off. But this time, that might not be the end of it. 

  • “Prosecutors in Fulton County have initiated a criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results, including a phone call he made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Mr. Trump pressured him to ‘find’ enough votes to help him reverse his loss.” (NYT)

  • The county’s recently elected DA, a Democrat, sent a letter to state officials asking them to preserve documents. You can read the letter here

  • A Trump adviser called it “the Democrats’ latest attempt to score political points by continuing their witch hunt against President Trump.”

—> OTHER COUP NEWS

  • While 56% of Americans support convicting Trump, 73% of Republicans say it’s important for GOP senators to be loyal, and 57% believe Democrats are not political adversaries but “enemies.” (CBS News)

  • Leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, talk radio championed election fraud fantasies and told listeners to “go to war” and “kick their ass.” (NYT)

  • Mike Shirkey, the Michigan Senate’s Republican majority leader, told the Hillsdale County Republican Party that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a “hoax from day one.” (Detroit Metro Times)

  • The Hillsdale County GOP censured Shirkey anyway — not for calling the riot a hoax, but for “condemning the armed protesters who stormed the [Michigan] Capitol.” (Metro Times)

—> OTHER POLITICAL NEWS

  • Iranian officials suggested they might renege on their pledge not to pursue nuclear weapons. Israeli intelligence believes it will take Iran two years to build a bomb. (NYT)

  • With the Biden administration pressing the Saudis on human rights issues, the kingdom released prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul from prison. (WaPo)


2. Patty Mac Is Back

Last week, NCGOP apparachik-turned-journalist (LOL) Dallas Woodhouse wrote in the Carolina Journal that recently ousted state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley and former governor Pat McCrory were gearing up to enter the 2022 Senate race. 

Let’s talk about the Democrats first. 

  • Beasley’s entry will complicate things for state Sen. Erica Smith, who won’t be able to match Beasley’s name recognition or fundraising. A tenet of Smith’s campaign was that the party should nominate women of color. With Beasley in, she won’t have that lane to herself. 

  • That might benefit state Sen. Jeff Jackson, who is battling Democrats’ Cal Cunningham hangover. 

  • Woodhouse — citing Dem consultants Brad Crone and Thomas Mills, both Beasley stans — writes off Jackson as a “white male Democrat” with a “thin legislative record.” In other words, Cunningham Jr.  

On to the Republicans, where Woodhouse is better plugged in: 

  • “McCrory has been in contact with key donors, consultants, and former staff. … Sources indicate those close to Republican leadership in Washington are encouraging a McCrory bid because of his ability to raise significant money needed to mount a creditable campaign and his ability to appeal to suburban voters and ‘soccer moms’ who turned away from Republicans in 2020.”

  • Soccer moms may deliver the state, but they won’t deliver the primary. Former Rep. Mark Walker is already in, and Rep. Ted Budd is thinking about it. Lara Trump hasn’t ruled it out, per Woodhouse.  

  • Woodhouse avoids the words “HB 2,” but that’s the sort of soccer mom kryptonite the DSCC will put on a loop leading up to the election.

Axios Charlotte — the rebranded Charlotte Agenda — marks its first day with a profile of the city’s former Mayor Pat. 

  • Tl;dr: McCrory wants the office. He’s not sure he wants to run for it. 

  • “McCrory’s decision isn’t imminent, but a University of Nevada poll in December showed him nearly tied with Lara Trump among Republican-leaning voters in the state. Whether he runs or not, he still believes he has something to offer. And if his radio show’s success is any indication, people still will listen to what he has to say.”

—> OTHER MCCRORY NEWS

  • The North Street Journal, a newspaper founded by McCrory cronies, forgets to put disclosures on stories about its investor’s spouses, including the new chief justice of the state Supreme Court. (N&O)

—> OTHER MEDIA NEWS

  • Facebook has started tweaking its algorithm to show users less political content. (NYT)

  • Hustler publisher and First Amendment champion Larry Flynt, the smut peddler who cared, died at age 78. (TMZ)

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3. Walker Gets Cawthorn’s Endorsement

As the McCrory boomlet blossoms, Walker is trying to lock down as much GOP support as he can. Yesterday, that meant touting an endorsement from right-wing fabulist and bumbling insurrection proponent Madison Cawthorn. 

  • Cawthorn: “Mark is exactly the kind of leader we need in North Carolina and in America. He is a man of faith whose allegiance is to God, not to lobbyists or special interests in DC.”

  • Then again: “Walker, a former pastor, was the first establishment Republican to back Cawthorn during his House bid last election cycle. And now Cawthorn says Walker is a ‘bridge-builder’ who he thinks can bring both parties together, rather than just Republicans.” (Politico)

Perhaps no one was more excited than Jeff Jackson. 

Walker — forgetting that Cawthorn had Hitler’s summer home on his bucket list — hit back by pointing out that Jackson was endorsed by Planned Parenthood. 


4. NC Restaurants Ask NCGA for Help

No industry has suffered more during the pandemic than bars and restaurants. The hospitality sector has produced three-fourths of the state’s job losses. Thousands of establishments have closed. Countless others are on the brink. As we near the first anniversary of the COVID shutdown, the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association says the General Association needs to help. 

The NCRLA wants (N&O): 

  • A $300 million stimulus for hotels, restaurants, and bars, capped at $500,000 per establishment. Establishments will have to prove that they’ve lost at least 15% in YoY revenue. The group says $300 million is 10% of the $3.1 billion need that’s left over after two rounds of PPP funding. 

  • A one-year ABC permit waiver.

  • Commercial property reevaluation.

  • Sales tax exemptions for PPE. 

  • PPP tax deductibility. 

  • Property tax payment flexibility.

  • Support for tourism.

The NCRLA wants the state to tap its rainy-day fund, which currently has more than $1 billion. 

  • NCLRA president Lynn Minges: “Our industry needs a stimulus program now. They’re out of cash and need help now. There’s a healthy rainy day fund in the state. If it’s ever been raining, the time is now.”

  • “We’re looking at a long, protracted recovery. These businesses have taken on so much debt just to stay open. Even when they’re able to open back up at 100% capacity, which we have no clue when that will be, they’re not only going to have to make revenue to cover operational costs, they’ll have to make new revenue to pay back debt.”

  • Republicans have blamed Governor Cooper’s pandemic restrictions for the industry’s job losses, and the General Assembly is usually reluctant to use reserve funds. So I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the $300 million. 


5. Teachers Gets Vaccines in 2 Weeks

With everyone — except for teachers — pushing for schools to return to in-person instruction, this isn’t a surprise: Teachers, K-12 school staff, and childcare center employees will be included in the next group eligible for the COVID vaccine, starting Feb. 24. So will frontline workers, including first responders, farmworkers, restaurant workers, and grocery store workers. (N&O)

  • “The push to vaccinate teachers comes as a bill works its way through the General Assembly that would require all K-12 public schools to offer an in-person learning option. Cooper has stopped short of making it a requirement to reopen schools that have been remote-only.”

  • “The North Carolina Association of Educators called the announcement about vaccine priority an ‘important step forward’ for in-person instruction.”

  • Meanwhile, the Biden administration appears to be backtracking on its pledge to have most schools open within 100 days. The new goal: Have “most” schools open “at least one day a week.” This is already happening. (Twitter, Burbio)

—> OTHER COVID NEWS

  • Gov. Cooper signed a COVID relief bill into law, distributing $1.6 billion in federal funds to help schools reopen and pay for other COVID-related programs. (WRAL)

  • The CDC is encouraging people to double mask, using a cloth mask over a surgical mask. (CNN)

  • A new study pours cold water on the theory that children are more resistant to COVID because childhood colds are preventative. “Most people are exposed to seasonal coronaviruses by age 5. As a result, about one in five people carries antibodies that recognize the new coronavirus. But these antibodies are not neutralizing — they cannot disarm the virus, nor do they mitigate the severity of symptoms following infection.” (NYT)

  • Having COVID could increase your risk of dementia or other brain disorders decades from now. (Newsweek)