Opinion: The Sound of Pat McCrory Slamming the Door

The N.C. governor joins the march of GOP governors rejecting Syrian refugees
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Gov. Pat and First Lady Ann McCrory with their dog, Moe.

Gov. Pat McCrory this afternoon joined a stampede of Republican governors announcing that their states would accept no Syrian refugees because some of them might be terrorists. This took neither rational justification nor courage. Once President Obama announced his opposition to the idea of rejecting refugees, it was a political necessity.

McCrory’s stated rationale was instructive. “My primary duty as governor is to protect the citizens of North Carolina,” he said this afternoon during a news conference in Charlotte. Good to know. But then he got to the meat of the reasoning: “… because of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the very real possibility that one of the terrorists entered France as a recent refugee …”

That requires the broadest definition possible of “very real.” I understand that information about the Paris attacks is far from complete, but every reputable news source I’ve checked is reporting that the terrorists were largely French and Belgian nationals, and that one may have been a migrant—not a recent refugee—with what appears to be a fake passport. There’s no hard evidence I can find that any of the attackers was a recent refugee.

Regardless, it hardly matters; we shouldn’t hunt too hard for an evidence-based reason. The political equation is too tidy (from John Wynne at Politics North Carolina):

Notably, none of the other governors who have made statements refusing refugees are imperiled politically. McCrory is. Strategically, it’s a golden opportunity for him to re-establish his relationship with the conservative base while also staking out a position that is almost assuredly a winning won [sic] with mainstream North Carolina voters.

Because telling a handful of victims of Islamic extremism to go pound some more sand is “a golden opportunity.” Lovely world, and state, we’re living in.