Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Who Is John Bell?


I watched all of Dawn Vaughan's interview with NC House Majority Leader John Bell because he's a Republican lawmaker -- and a powerful one -- about whom I have known very little. And it's time we got to know these cats who are imposing so much bullshit on us, now that they can override the governor's veto.

From the "Under the Dome" podcast, you might want to peg John Bell as 100% pure-Dee good-ole-boy -- aw-shucksing and never meaning any harm -- someone you would want with you on a cold morning in a duck blind. But there's obviously intelligence and cunning in that country boy, because though he doesn't seek the camera nor preach, he has made sure the bullet trains run on time ... to achieve all the regressive, hard-right laws the General Assembly has passed already this session (not to mention previous sessions, going all the way back to Bell's election as Majority Leader in 2016). I'm not going to name them all, but the harsh rules affecting women and children who don't conform, and the power grabs aimed at the guv, and the targeting of the freedom to vote -- that's more than enough to settle his tea!

Bell was elected to the House in 2012. First, he had to get through a primary with a very powerful lawmaker named Stephen LaRoque (who was about to be indicted for stealing Federal money and attempting to launder it), beating LaRoque by only 39 votes. That's a measure of how much the Republican voters of House District 10 liked their lawmakers a little bit shady, or adept at skimming. Two months after losing so barely that May primary, LaRoque was under indictment and would eventually do time. (Because he had better lawyers than you do, he ended up only being convicted of "aiding and abetting theft.")

So that's the guy that John Bell went on to easily outshine in the House. Quickly, by 2014, in his first term, Bell won an election to be Majority Whip, and then two years after that, he got elected by his caucus to be Majority Leader. He has skills. And some troubling ideas. He's a big opponent of wind energy, because someone once told him that low-flying military aircraft might hit a windmill, and Bell is religiously protective of the Seymour Johnson AFB outside Goldsboro (in Bell's district). He supports Ron DeSantis for president because he likes what DeSantis has done to Florida. (No kidding! That's what Bell told Dawn Vaughan.) Bell opposes expanding Medicaid coverage. But -- did we say "good-ole-boy"? -- he voted to allow state universities to sell beer on game days.

No comments: