pussyfooting but also being bold perhaps in the knowledge that he won't be Speaker for much longer. So pointing out the failures of Phil Berger may seem less taboo (or not seem like you're just begging for a beating).
Republican Senate leader Berger sprang the gambling casino language in the state budget and many members of his own party felt blindsided, especially in Tim Moore's House of Reps, and despite what Tim Moore may have promised Berger beforehand -- that he could deliver the House to legalize casino gambling -- he couldn't deliver the House, and Berger lashed out at him as an unreliable partner, and then Speaker Moore took a small measure of revenge when he spoke with reporters very recently and pointed the finger of blame in the general direction of Mr. Berger: “The way that it was done, the way in not going through a committee process like we did on the sports betting, I think – like you used the word earlier ‘doomed’ it -- I think it did.” That's tortured language to say what you're a little bit afraid of saying out loud, that it's all Phil Berger's fault that casino gambling didn't get legalized in North Carolina in 2023. The Fixer couldn't fix it because of his own arrogance. Berger had been dictatorial and brazen with the budget fiasco, because General Assembly rules mandate that the budget gets voted on as an all-or-nothing proposal, meaning once it’s on the floor for a vote there are no amendments allowed. Many of Moore's House Republicans didn't like that one bit.
“There were people who probably would have supported it as a standalone bill who just felt like the way it was being done and not having any input in it, didn’t work,” said Speaker Moore.
But as some smart people have already predicted, and Tim Moore certainly agrees, casino gambling ain't really dead, because they believe it will reemerge in some new duds in next year's General Assembly session, and Phil Berger has already signaled that will happen. When Berger comes again with his prize package, he'll figure out how to buy off all that conservative opposition, and he'll have plenty of PAC money to do it.