Airwaves of Crap

On 'Charlotte Talks,' our governor gets something dead wrong, again

I was thinking yesterday about the times during Pat McCrory’s tenure as Charlotte’s mayor when I reacted to something he said by thinking, “Wow, this guy is ignorant. He just flat doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” I couldn’t think of any offhand.

Oh, he said some things that hacked people off — “corridors of crap” comes to mind, and his characterization of young African-Americans arrested during a Fourth of July celebration as “thugs” back in 2007 — but both of those had kernels of truth to them. You could reasonably disagree, and you could criticize him for insensitivity, but his opinion was defensible. Charlotte does have stretches of road lined by billboards, car repair shops and bottom-feeder retail. Those kids weren’t, on balance, behaving like Eagle Scouts.

These days, as governor, it seems McCrory can’t leave the mansion without stepping in a giant pile of the stuff he says clogs the corridors.

He was the featured guest Monday on WFAE-FM’s “Charlotte Talks With Mike Collins.” Among the subjects McCrory addressed was Obamacare. This turned out to be a tactical error (from WFAE’s Lisa Miller and Michael Tomsic):

Governor McCrory said the Affordable Care Act could lead companies to junk their employee health care plans. Here are two examples he gave of that already happening:

“Just in the past three months, it’s been under the radar screen, companies like IBM and Duke Energy do not have any longer their employees on a health care plan,” he said. “They’re putting them on basically Obamacare.”

But McCrory is wrong. IBM and Duke Energy still offer employees health insurance, and spokesmen for both companies say that coverage has not changed because of Obamacare.

The companies have changed the way they handle their retirees’ health insurance. They moved those aged 65 and older from a company-run program to a private marketplace that's not part of Obamacare — the spokesmen say it had nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.

The governor was not just wrong on the facts. He was wrong in a way that revealed a fundamental lack of understanding of how the ACA works — Obamacare isn’t a government program like Medicaid or Medicare, as his odd formulation, “putting them on basically Obamacare,” would imply. (What is that even supposed to mean, anyway? Forcing them to use the Obamacare exchanges, I guess? Who knows?) And you’d think McCrory would take pains to know what was happening with his former employer before he blabbed about its personnel policies on a radio show he had to know half of Charlotte was listening to.

Nope. Just go on ahead, Pat, with feeling. Step on those toes. Tell it like you’ve heard somebody from somewhere say it is, you think, correct you if you’re wrong. (You’re wrong.)

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest