Re: Tillis’ backbone

I probably don’t need to tell you that the News & Observer is–shall we say—disappointed in Sen. Thom Tillis’ decision to support President Trump’s national emergency declaration after stating in the Washington Post last month that “it is my responsibility to be a steward of the Article I branch, to preserve the separation of powers and to curb the kind of executive overreach that Congress has allowed to fester for the better part of the past century.”

The N&O writes about Tillis’ change of heart:

Poor Thom Tillis. For a few shining days the Republican senator from North Carolina had a backbone. Then, in one crumbling moment Thursday afternoon, it went away.

….That blind following of a polarizing president makes Tillis’ decisions simple when it comes to voting in the Senate. It will get complicated, however, when it comes to people voting for Tillis. The president carried North Carolina, but since he took office his approval rating has dropped by 18 points to 48 percent. Support for the wall is at 44 percent with 46 percent opposed, according to a Feb. 22 High Point Poll. Those numbers could go down if Trump uses his emergency powers to take money from North Carolina military base projects to pay for his wall.

Now that Thom Tillis has abandoned his principles in order to stand wherever Trump stands, there will be no need for further op-eds. We can learn what our senator thinks by reading Trump’s tweets.

Now it seems to me if Tillis were “blindly following” President Trump then he would never have expressed doubts in the first place. Politics are complicated business, and we have no idea how many back room deals were forged in order to change Tillis’ mind. And now we learn there is the strong possibility that Tillis will face a primary opponent in the 2020 election. The Hill speculates that 6th Congressional District Rep. Mark Walker is considering a run for the Senate, although he could hold out for Sen. Richard Burr’s seat in 2020. But I’m sure the thought of a primary opponent never entered Tillis’ mind.

As for Tillis’ backbone, funny I see it differently than the N&O. In my mind his backbone suddenly reappeared.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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