Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Arrogance of Phil Berger


The most powerful man in the General Assembly, Phil Berger, makes a useful poster child for the damage the Raleigh bunch is doing to democracy in North Carolina. But rarely do we get insight into his character from a member of his own Republican Party. Mike Clampitt (Dist. 119, in the southwest mtns) put out a public newsletter to his constituents following the disastrous meeting Clampitt's House Freedom Caucus had with Berger shortly before Berger gave up on getting casino gambling into the state budget. The Freedom Caucus was his main hitch, as House Republicans wouldn't go along.

Here's Clampitt's description of the meeting between Freedom Caucus and Berger:

Mr. Berger ... stated that he was giving an information meeting and was not interested in debate, questions, or amendments. This meeting lasted an hour, and it was very disturbing the way I and my colleagues were talked down to, bullied, disrespected, intimidated, and threatened that if we did not agree to have this included in the budget ... that the entire budget process would be reset." (Hat-tip Chris Cooper)

"Budget process ... reset," meaning that every Republican House member's preferred pork project would be in jeopardy -- a threat indeed!

The fact that the threats and intimidation didn't work this time provides its own lesson about authoritarian control, that if enough people band together, their strength is greater than one.

No comments: