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The Old Bull Mooses walked into a meeting with the House to wrangle over the state budget but before they could fire a shot the House’s lead wrangler, Nelson Dollar, threw them a curve ball: He announced he was calling half a dozen school superintendents to testify at the hearing.
The Bull Mooses had been ambushed – Dollar had invited the nice, earnest school superintendents to tell the Senators all the ways their budget  was wrong – while the TV cameras rolled.
Then the Bull Mooses did something that played into Dollar’s hands – they turned a little media event into a big media event: They got mad, stood up, and stalked out of the room.
Later, after the superintendents had left, when the Senators trooped back into the room they were still mad and, right off, Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown raked Dollar over the coals. After Brown finished, Senator Jerry Tillman waved the latest House budget proposal at Dollar and told him it wasn’t worth the paper it had been written on.
The Old Bull Mooses had been sandbagged. Trapped.  Gotten mad.   Dug the hole deeper. Then, still mad, acted like grumpy old men.
In their bones, the Bull Mooses surely believe they’re the true defenders of virtue standing up to House whiffenpoos  but, by the end of the meeting, instead of pillars of rectitude they looked like Liberty Valance pummeling Jimmy Stewart.
They’d turned themselves into the perfect foils and Governor McCrory – who’d already fired a broadside accusing the Senators were playing “inside the beltline politics” and comparing them “to Democrats” – let fly with still another broadside.
Senate Leader Phil Berger’s generally a soft spoken man but a couple more meetings like this and, instead the Old Bull Mooses being defenders of virtue, everybody’s going to be cheering for the man who shot Liberty Valance.



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3 comments on “LibertyValance

  1. Anonymous says:

    Gene Pitney sang the song and his cut was called,”The man who shot Liberty Valance”. The next line is, ” he was the bravest of them all”. Guess we will see who’s brave and who aint. Jimmy Stewart was just born to play that role, don’t know if North Carolina has a Jimmy Stewart.

  2. Anonymous says:

    For someone who was once a conservative leader, it looks strange to have you rooting for the moderate House against the conservative Senate. So it must be more than political philosophy.

    Then one remembers that you work as a political consultant to candidates as well as public affairs adviser to various interest groups. Obviously, someone you work for has their bread buttered better in the House budget than the Senate budget.

    And that term ”old bull mooses”is absurd. It combines the term ”old bulls” a common term for politicians long in power, which would not seem applicable at this point to GOP legislators in either house, with the term ”bull moose” which was a term a century or so ago for the liberal wing of the GOP, which also does not apply as it is the House, not the Senate which is on the liberal side of things.

    Tillis going left on the budget is likely to cost him lots of conservative votes in the Fall and is a foolish political move. McCrory probably still has time not to damage himself too badly with conservatives, as Tillis will likely be the immediate target of conservative anger.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And, so goes politics, Carter. Is there something new here? Politicians being pissed off at other politicians?

    They’ll all get over it, have a scotch together and laugh about it in a few weeks.

    Means squat.

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