2013: 'You Know We Can Hear You, Right?'
25 memorable quotes from a gobsmacker of a year
It was a year when public life in the Carolinas turned tragic and farcical. Public figures opened their mouths. What emerged was, frequently, rank idiocy.
Herewith, a sampling of 25 memorable quotes, some smart, some staggeringly dumb. Try to guess the speaker. Answers below.
It’s not an exhaustive list, although I found myself getting exhausted just digging them up, which is why I stopped at 25. Feel free to add more in the comments if you want.
You need me, I’ll be over here with a bottle of Bushmills Irish Honey and a rocks glass.
I’ll see y’all in 2014, which can’t be dumber than 2013. It just can’t. (Can it? Of course it can.)
1. “It’s time for America to get off the sidelines and support a proud people in a region where religious freedom, women's rights and democracy itself hang in the balance. I’m talking, of course, about North Carolina … Take every crazy, angry idea your drunk, right-wing uncle mumbles at Thanksgiving, turn it into a law, and that’s North Carolina today.”
2. “Woodrow Wilson’s dream is coming to fruition (where) we have a monarchy.”
3. “The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt … If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.”
4. “You know that we can hear you, right?”
5. “One is, is, when you start to look — they say say ‘clean CR,’ that translates into truly a blank check, and so Obamacare is an issue for me and my constituents, but what happens is today is, is we’ve got to figure a way to open it back up, and with that, in opening it back up, we start to look at these issues, it is critical that we make the decisions we make to be as least harmful as they possibly can be.”
6. “Thank you, New York Times. We southern hillbillies are always honored when the Old Gray Lady’s beacons of intelligence bestow their political wisdom from on high.”
7. “For giving him shelter and food and all that?”
8. “I go out in the crowd all of the time. Frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of those who call themselves moral by cussing me out. But that’s the way things go sometimes.”
9. “I haven’t forgotten about Benghazi. Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view.”
10. “It’s rolling downhill, and the turd is getting bigger and bigger, collecting grass and dirt.”
11. “People will say it’s because you didn’t get your way. I say no because there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. And if you don’t stand on principle, why should you be up here representing the people?”
12. “You know, an economy, economically, that is strong is one that can allow us to continue to move us forward.”
13. “If you have a person who you think is a good person you try to support them. That’s the way it goes. Thom Tillis is a good person. Did he help us? Yes. So I support him.”
14. “I think for the most part, what I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers. They lost, they don’t like it, and they are going to try to do everything they can to, I think, cast doubt on things that I think are wise and that the average citizen when they know what we’re doing, I think, like it.”
15. “It’s an orgy of meanness, prejudice, nastiness, cruelty, shortsightedness, selfishness, spite, arrogance and conscious brutality. Three examples, among many, are the cynical forfeiture of extended unemployment insurance, expansion of Medicaid and repeal of the earned income tax credit. Now, they’re hatching a tax scheme that will increase the burdens of the poor and middle class, give a windfall to the wealthy and impose more destructive cuts on the schools and colleges. The pretext for all that is to make North Carolina more attractive for investment. That is, to put it politely, enough fertilizer to enrich the soil of a thousand farms.”
16. “It’s almost like we’re stepping back in time. To suggest in the 21st century that women would be prevented from having access to birth control — even as far to the right as I am — is going off the cliff. This is going too far.”
17. “He’s a county manager. I don’t think that’s important. Presidents have legacies, governors, maybe. Not a county manager.”
18. “They don’t want to have conversations. They want to have the right to do whatever they want. ‘Arrogant’ is a word I would use.”
19. “I love South Carolina, but we’re a crazy state. I think we invented crazy.”
20. “I just want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances but of third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth chances, because that is the reality of our shared humanity … I am one imperfect man.”
21. “Just voted against amendment limiting gun magazine capacity … Just voted against the Feinstein assault weapons ban … Just voted to guarantee the rights of gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines & within other states that have conceal-carry … President Obama wanted 3 things on gun control — ban assault weapons, limit magazine sizes, and expand background checks. He’ll lose all 3.”
22. “My strength is concepts and strategy and theory and also facts. But I’m not real good at pronouncing names or understanding names.”
23. “Whereas, the Constitution of the United States … does not grant the federal courts the power to determine what is or is not constitutional …”
24. “We’re sitting in here tonight, and you’re going to win this debate and feel really good about yourselves, because you — all you big, grown-up, gray-haired men — have beat three women. I want to see what you do with about ten thousand of them, ‘cause they’re coming. They’re coming.”
25. “We’re supposed to be big kids.”
1. Comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show, Real Time With Bill Maher, in August.
2. Cary obstetrician and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon during a November forum in Gaston County.
3. Then-Buncombe County GOP official Don Yelton in October during an interview with The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Yelton was dismissed from the party.
4. The Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi, who conducted the interview.
5. Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows of Jackson County during the government shutdown, responding to a reporter’s question about his continued support of the shutdown when he’d just said its supposed rationale, Obamacare, was no longer an issue.
6. N.C. GOP Chairman Claude Pope in July, responding in an open letter to a New York Times editorial bemoaning the state’s rightward turn.
7. Scott Terry, a North Carolina man attending the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference in March, responding to an African-American presenter’s reference to Frederick Douglass having forgiven his former slavemasters.
8. N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, apparently referring to Moral Monday protestors, who had never seen the governor walk among them. McCrory later clarified that he meant the general public on the streets of Raleigh.
9. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who should feel very stupid now but surely does not.
10. Charlotte City Councilman (and now Mayor Pro Tem) Michael Barnes during an April meeting, referring to a bill that would create a regional authority to run Charlotte Douglas International Airport instead of the city.
11. N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews in July, responding to criticism of his legislative proposals, which included eliminating the state income tax and hiking the sales tax on food and medicine.
12. Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, upon taking office in December.
13. Royce Everette, president of Time Investment Corp. in Greenville, N.C., and a major contributor to Tillis campaigns; he and family have hosted multiple fundraisers for the House Speaker. Everette owns 19 consumer finance firms across the state, and Tillis helped push legislation to allow the industry to charge higher interest rates on loans.
14. N.C. House Speaker and U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis, in a December Politico story on the Senate race.
15. Martin Dyckman, a Waynesville resident and former St. Petersburg Times editor, in a July op-ed for the Asheville Citizen-Times.
16. N.C. Rep. Bob Steinburg, a Republican from Edenton, in May, referring to the elimination of contraception coverage in North Carolina’s health care exchanges. The bill died in committee.
17. Pat Cotham, then chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, having just orchestrated the firing of longtime County Manager Harry Jones.
18. N.C. Rep. Bill Brawley, referring to Charlotte’s “arrogant” resistance to a state proposal to take the airport out of city hands.
19. Stephen Colbert, appearing at a Charleston bowling alley in February to stump for his sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who was running against Republican Mark Sanford for South Carolina’s First Congressional District seat.
20. Mark Sanford, ex-governor and philanderer, in his May victory speech after defeating Busch.
21. Graham again, via Twitter in April, after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a weak gun control bill mere months after the Newtown slaughter.
22. McCrory again, in a November News & Observer story about his propensity to speak when he does not know what he is talking about, which is often.
23. N.C. House Joint Resolution 494, the Rowan County Defense of Religion Act of 2013, which in April sought to declare an official state religion. Tillis, as Speaker, refused to allow a vote on it, rendering the measure dead.
24. N.C. Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt of Asheville, referring to Senate Republicans’ tacking a series of sweeping anti-abortion measures onto a July bill banning foreign laws in N.C. family courts.
25. Then-Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, after a February City Council retreat devolved into a shouting match over spending and the city streetcar plan.