More rope, please

I've long called for progressives to be more selective about what they fight in Raleigh. Despite the best of intentions, progressives and their lobbyists often give Republican lawmakers cover by urging compromise on some of their most extreme instincts.

With #peegate, the GOP forced an issue through the legislature without the benefit of moderating forces. There wasn't time to rein them in, and thank goodness. The Senate Democrats did exactly what they should have done: they refused to negotiate and walked out.

In other words, Senate Democrats gave the GOP more than enough rope to hang themselves. And that is exactly what is happening.

#peegate has been an unmitigated disaster for the North Carolina GOP in general, and for Pat McCrory in particular. Instead of celebrating the passage of his bond package, McCrory is spending every waking minute wondering how he could have been so blazingly stupid. Economic development people are pulling out their hair, and the Republicans everywhere are trying (and failing) to do damage control.

This won't be a disaster for North Carolina. Local governments and businesses will ignore the new legislation, which will eventually be overturned in court. In the meantime, Roy Cooper will be elected governor, along with a Democratic Council of State. And even Richard Burr will take a shellacking by association.

There's a lesson here. If you want citizens to understand the dangers of extreme behavior, sometimes you have to let that behavior run its course. It may hurt for a little while, but the long-term benefits will surely come.