N.C. State Sen. Bill Rabon
A top lawmaker shouts down his constituents and trashes the leaders of his own party. Another one puffs his chest and tells a “citizen” to be quiet. And two more openly refer to their critics as “morons.”
Call the show “Lawmakers Behaving Badly.” And look no further than North Carolina’s political arena for a rich trove of material.
Soon after Republicans took power in 2011, an open mic in a private meeting caught House Speaker Thom Tillis talking about giving certain Democrats a “gut punch” and retaliating against political enemies.
Last session, state Sen. Tommy Tucker told a newspaper publisher who confronted him about a bill, “I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.” The Waxhaw Republican disputed the incident.
In January, state Sen. Bob Rucho, a Charlotte Republican, took to Twitter to call a Raleigh resident who criticized him a “moron,” the same word Wilmington Republican state Sen. Thom Goolsby used last year to label protesters at the statehouse.
The latest example features state Sen. Bill Rabon, a Southport Republican who serves as the co-chairman of the Finance Committee.
A transcript and tape from Rabon’s meeting with constituents about the so-called puppy mill legislation leaked last week. It showed him cursing and using crude language, assailing Gov. Pat McCrory and first lady Ann McCrory and touting his “top five” power. (“Let me blow my own horn,” he said.)
And while none of that is in the same realm as New York, where U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm was caught on tape telling a reporter he would “break (him) in half” and “throw (him) off this balcony,” the episodes did reveal the uglier side of politics. Think less “West Wing,” more “House of Cards.”
Such behavior only reinforces the public’s perception about politicians, whose approval ratings at the national and state level remain dismal.
Read More: The NC News Observer