NC Primary Winner Thom Tillis: “Divide & Conquer”

Via Ed Kilgore: “What a nasty, nasty piece of work. And this is the “Republican Establishment” candidate for the Senate. Tells you a lot about them, eh?”

Partial transcript, via Wonkette:

“… What we have to do is find a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance … We have to show respect for that woman who has cerebral palsy and had no choice, in her condition, that needs help and that we should help. And we need to get those folks to look down at these people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government and say at some point, “You’re on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies, but we’re not going to take care of you.” And we’ve got to start having that serious discussion.”

He seems nice!

Greg Sargent, in the Washington Post:

[T]he 47 percenter-ism on display in this video didn’t occur in a vacuum. Tillis not only opposed the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which would have expanded coverage to 500,000 people he would represent; he also boasted in an ad that he was personally responsible for stopping that outcome “cold.” Tillis and North Carolina Republicans also dramatically slashed unemployment benefits, which, in the words of one national observer, turned help for the jobless into a ”thinner safety net than it has been in decades.”

Tillis has heaped contempt on those protesting such policies, arguing: “What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers.”…

Beyond the overt 47 percenter-ism, during the primary Tillis also called the minimum wage hike a “dangerous idea” and even cast doubt on whether we should have a federal minimum wage, another issue where Dems may be able to gain some traction among swing voters, even in a state carried by Mitt Romney….

Dave Weigel:

The “establishment” is spending money early, and winning. Josh Kraushaar, who’s always got the first comment from the behind-the-scenes victors, reports that American Crossroads polled in North Carolina before jumping in. Five months ago Speaker of the House Thom Tillis only had 16 percent name recognition statewide. (Pretty weak for a guy who works in the state’s most populous county and lives in the second-most.) American Crossroads responded by slathering TV screens with $1.6 million in pro-Tillis ads. The Chamber of Commerce jumped in, too. This is basically what Karl Rove had told donors he’d do last year, and hey, it’s working…

And to sum it up, Mr. Charles P. Pierce:

Point The First: As regards the issues, there is no Republican “Establishment” any more. This is because the notion of a Republican Establishment requires that there be at least an occasional flirtation with moderation and there are no Republican moderates any more. (It also requires that there be at least an occasional flirtation with reality, but I don’t expect miracles here.) Tillis is a perfect example. Not only has he presided over a legislative body that is extreme in the legislation it passes, but Tillis himself has signed aboard the “personhood” crusade on reproductive rights, and he has resolutely stood in opposition to marriage equality. The difference between Tillis and Brannon, in terms of what their campaigns say about what they’d do if they were elected, is solely based on the theory that Brannon was so far off the wall that Tillis could be positioned by the media as being a moderate. The goalposts, by now, probably can be found on Mars.

Point The Second: As regards the politics, there is no Republican party any more. There is merely a universe of powerful conservative institutions, each of them with their independent sources of income and power, and none of them under the effective control of the formal party apparatus. They operate on their own imperatives, and they support whoever they want to support, regardless of what Mitch McConnell or obvious anagram Reince Priebus thinks about what they’re doing. Because, within the party, the gamut of positions on most issues runs from A to A, these independent institutions can simply line up behind the candidate whom they feel is more electable, since they can rest easily knowing that their interests are covered by whomever is elected. Brannon was more easily cast as a crackpot, so those institutions decided that Tillis could be elected. Nothing about him is remotely risky…

Kay Hagan’s website. Do we need an ActBlue page?

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46 replies
  1. 1
    Violet says:

    NC Primary winner–I thought you were talking about Clay Aiken, American Idol Season 2 runner up. He may have won the Democratic primary in his district, although absentee votes are still coming in.

  2. 2
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “You’re on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies, but we’re not going to take care of you.” Sounds like something Jesus would say.

  3. 3
    RSR says:

    They’re also trashing the public education system and the profession of teaching in NC.

  4. 4
    Morzer says:

    The irony of it is that the teabaggers think of this vile brute as a RINO. Red State was having themselves quite a conniption about him in the comment threads when he won the primary,

  5. 5
    greennotGreen says:

    Of course, the woman who has cerebral palsy might not have had it if her mother had had access to good prenatal care – which Tillis is more than happy to deny women by opposing Medicaid expansion.

  6. 6
    Elizabelle says:

    I was shocked to see the MSM proclaiming Tillis “establishment” too. He’s the mean spirit of the Tea Party in all but name.

    Some establishment you got there, Republicans.

    I think Hagan could win if she has enough ground troops and volunteers. It’s a big race. Reach the people who are remorseful that Art Pope and conservatives are running amok in North Carolina.

  7. 7
    feebog says:

    These people have no moral compass whatsoever. What an asshole.

  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    These creatures need to be destroyed. I don’t see a away around that now.

  9. 9
    Morzer says:


    Hagan’s held up better in the polls against Tillis than the other contenders, so there’s that. One of the little gems that Red State came up with was describing Tillis as “Kay Hagan without a skirt”.

  10. 10

    He’s just saying what they’re all thinking. It’s like open mic night at the Tourette’s convention.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    I’m donating to Hagan. Done complaining.

  12. 12
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Elizabelle: Tillis is the fucking poster face of the NC state legislature run amok during McCrory’s first two years. The fact he is considered ‘establishment’ even though he’s batshit crazy is nuts. Just look at where the damn reference point for the Republicans is now. Orange Julius is considered a ‘moderate’, even though he’s arguably more conservative than Gingrich or Hastert was.

    There are no true ‘moderates’ in the Republican Party now, and the lazy-ass MSM uses ‘moderate Republican’ as a synonym for ‘Republican who does not long to eat an anthrax omelet cut with glass once in a while’ way too easily nowadays.

  13. 13
    Violet says:

    Kay Hagan came out strongly in support of Obamacare during a confirmation hearing for Burwell for HHS:

    While Republican senators mostly went through the motions with their anti-Obamacare talking points or outright endorsed Burwell as Kathleen Sebelius’s replacement, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) used her time to trumpet the benefits of Medicaid expansion — and emphasize the downside of not expanding.

    Left unsaid, but strongly implied, was that her opponent, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, who locked up the GOP nomination earlier this week, had been instrumental in stopping the state from expanding Medicaid under the law.

    “Last year in North Carolina, our state legislature and governor decided against expanding the state’s Medicaid program,” Hagan said as she started her questioning, “and as a result, about 500,000 people who would have qualified for coverage through Medicaid are not now able to do so.”

    “These are some of the most vulnerable in our society,” she said, “who will continue to seek care in emergency rooms and then will leave chronic conditions unmanaged, which we know is detrimental to their health and the economy.”

    I hope it works for her. I want Dems to stand up for Obamacare and stand down the Republicans. Make them explain why they want people to die because they don’t have healthcare.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    yes we do!

    Edit: and guess I am not good at anagrams. Best I can get out of ‘ol Reince is ‘Cue p* n * s brier’.

    Edit2: which I guess is a nasty kind of d i c k weed

  15. 15
    Bostondreams, PhD says:

    It’s funny. I have a friend, semi famous here in NC for a letter he wrote to the governor saying he would be better off working at BK than as a teacher, who was just today informed by twitter that Tillis asked to follow him. A couple other outspoken teachers did as well. One wonders why…

  16. 16
    Another Holocene Human says:

    While these people are on their nasty testosterone jag (a hormone associated with seeking justice but as in this case it’s gone way past the rational point) real evidence in the real *world shows that making poverty suck AS LITTLE as possible actually improves life and health for everybody, less money from the economy spent on healthcare overall, which means more money to spend on education, R&D, infrastructure, basically having a future.

    When you make poverty suck AS MUCH AS possible you are basically writing that ticket for your children to have a stressful, miserable, shortened life.

    Enjoy roasting in hell, asshats. Oh wait, there is no so place. Guess we’ll have to shame you while you’re still breathing, you putrid pituitarious pinheads.

    *too angry to read over before posting, I guess

  17. 17
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Violet: I hope she runs on Medicaid and wins, dammit.

  18. 18
    AMinNC says:

    It is absolutely stunning that anyone paying any attention at all to what’s happened here in N.C. over the past year and a half would think of Tillis as anything other than rabidly reactionary.

    As Speaker of the House, he presided over a laundry list of evil: defunding teaching assistants in elementary schools; enacting a slew of voter-supression laws; refusing to expand Medicaid; cutting unemployment insurance; cutting teacher pay; supporting a fetal personhood amendment; enshrining anti-gay bigotry in the state constitution. It just goes on and on.

    While Kay Hagan is no Elizabeth Warren, she’s light years better for the state and nation than Tillis. I am hopeful that the awful record he has compiled in the state house (and the attention generated by the Moral Monday protests) will push Hagan past the finish line come November. There is going to be all kinds of Koch (and other) money flooding in, but we are working hard on a real grassroots ground game. People here are pissed at what these creeps have done to our state.

    And before folks weigh in with “you get what you vote for,” Governor Pat McCrory and many of the GOP representatives sold themselves to voters as moderates and only showed their true colors after the election. Even many Republicans are horrified at how much awful we have seen.

  19. 19
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Morzer: They meant “Kay Hagan without a heart” but they don’t spell too good over in them red states.

  20. 20
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Patricia Kayden: And you don’t want to know what they mean by “take care of those babies” once they’ve “taken care of” the parents.

    Although you can always google “Magdalen laundries” to get some idea how that usually tends to go.

  21. 21
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @AMinNC: I’m starting to get the picture that power (like being speaker) covers a universe of faults in the eyes of the MSM. By having power they become “establishment” or “moderate” while “tea party” is a term for Republicans out of power.

    Just like “racist” is for punk white trash Klansmen who can’t spell in any language and don’t have all their teeth, but if a rich powerful guy says it (and doesn’t use the Klansman’s vulgar patois) it’s not racist and you’re a racist for thinking it’s racist.

    Yes, nothing has more bleaching power to eliminate the appearance of sins than POWER™.

  22. 22

    Tillis will do the one thing that Republicans fear, it will energize the base democrats and get out the vote come November. He is despised in North Carolina, even among some independents. The new voter suppression efforts do not come into effect until 2016, so they cannot help him in 2014. You can guarantee that the Moral Monday people will be getting people to the polls in November and supporting Kay Hagan.

    Violet – I checked out the info had NC done the Medicaid thing, my bosses premiums would have gone from $1,100 a month to $300, the Governor is costing him $800.00 a month. So much for being “small business” friendly. Fuckers.

    I make $28,600 a year and thanks to the new withholding rules my State taxes have gone up, so that the richest North Carolinians could get a tax cut.

  23. 23
    rikyrah says:

    these Red State Dems need to step up and FIGHT.


  24. 24
    smith says:

    @Violet: Interesting, isn’t it, that some of the most endangered Dems are using this in their campaigns? I believe both Pryor and Landrieu are also using Obamacare, and especially the Medicaid extension, against the Rethugs. Given how much the Rs gained from their scorched earth approach from 2010 up to now, it would be sweet indeed to see the tables turned. Kinda makes you wish Dems had spoken up sooner…

  25. 25
    Elizabelle says:


    Yeah. The Washington Post is crowing about Tillis as an establishment figure.

    How far that paper has fallen.

    It fits the MSM narrative, but today’s “establishment Republican” is not a 1990s Republican.

    And we’re seeing so many articles about Democrats are doomed! Minorities won’t turn out to vote! In Louisiana, Mary Landrieu has to pick up support among whites because those minorities won’t turn out at the polls.

    Really? We can do something about that.

    Also: re Hagan: no one writes about how much buyer’s remorse North Carolinians might be feeling about the state’s hard right turn.

    14% of all voters turned out to vote in the NC GOP primary: maybe that does not say what pundits think it does. It’s not necessarily apathy. Why can’t it be extraordinarily unappealing candidates?

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:


    Go Moral Monday people!

    I laugh when I see the pundits declaring the Senate gone Republican. I think voters are smarter than that.

    The MSM, even the Pulitzer-winning papers, are behind the curve.

    Although we have to work for victories in the midterms.

    How crazy do the Republicans have to get before American media will say what their international counterparts have already concluded about our political system and social policies?

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    @Litlebritdiftrnt: This is the kind of real information that will resonate with voters. “Republicans cost small businesses real money.” I hope Democrats say it loud and proud.

    @smith: In general people like it when people stand up for what they believe. Democrats passed Obamacare and running away from it just makes them look timid and uncertain. Stand up for it. Support it. Push back against the lies the Republicans tell. Republicans are bullies and bullies don’t do well when people stand up to them. It’s a winning position for Democrats and they has the advantage of having facts and truth on their side.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    Thom Tillis — or “Thom Thillis” as I call him — is a knuckle-dragging imbecile and all-around asshole. He, Pat McCrory, and Art Pope form a true Axis of Evil in this state. Several people have pointed out his despicable record in Raleigh. His latest ads are nothing but chum for the religious right (anti-gay rights and anti-abortion).

  29. 29
    Summer says:

    In defense of Clay Aiken (those are some words to type!), what I’ve heard is that he came out strongly in favor of public education. People are voting for him for that and marriage equality.

  30. 30
    Violet says:

    @Summer: He used to be a special education teacher in the public school system. He’s got experience in the school system, which is more than most candidates have wrt education.

  31. 31
    MomSense says:

    My son just watched this asshole and now is seriously considering taking a leave of absence from school and applying for a job with the DSCC or DCCC in North Carolina.

    What Tillis is saying in this video represents the mainstream Republican Party. It is vile and morally bankrupt but it is not the fringe.

  32. 32
    kindness says:

    So much is going to come down to a get out the vote thing. That scares me. So many folk are so apathetic & clueless and happy to be that way. I could see it if you were on opiates but most these folk aren’t. They’re tv junkies & that fills the void.

    How do you get folks to care?

  33. 33
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @kindness: Give them hope.

  34. 34
    RepubAnon says:

    The difference between an establishment Republican candidate and a Tea Party Republican is whether they cloak their racism in code words and dog whistles. Establishment candidates use the term “undeserving” or “urban youths” – Tea Partiers would say “blahs.”

  35. 35
    JoyfulA says:

    @AMinNC: That’s what I was thinking. Moral Mondays are amazing.

  36. 36
    danielx says:

    Yet another edition of Republican Prick with Ears.

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    open mic night at the Tourette’s convention.

    You called it.

  38. 38
    danielx says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    It’s like open mic night at the Tourette’s convention.

    For today’s innertubes win.

  39. 39
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Tillis is only establishment in the sense that the batshit NC GOP given the keys to the state in 2010 is now the establishment. It is yet to be seen whether Hagan has the spine to point this out, because it’s the only way she’s going to win.

  40. 40
    Rusty says:

    The goalposts, by now, probably can be found on Mars.

    Yeah but Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods can see those goalposts on Mars from her front porch in Wasilla.

  41. 41
    cleek says:

    @Bostondreams, PhD:

    Gov McCroury just announced that he’s giving all teachers a pay raise this year.

    i’m sure it’s just a coincidence that he did it right at the start of the election season.

    i wish i could’ve voted for Clay. that district splits my little town in half: he’s running for the west side, but i live on the east side.

  42. 42
    Brendan in NC says:

    @AMinNC: Not to mention that Tillis deliberately avoided any and all candidate forums so no one could compare him to the other 2 “winners”…

  43. 43
    S-Curve says:

    The question about who is “establishment” in the Republican Party is all down to where they get their money from. American Crossroads and Chamber of Commerce = Establishment, Koch Bros = Fringe-y Tea Party. Doesn’t matter a bit to most media what their policy positions are. And Tillis is both troglodytic in his politics and a first-rate asshole personally. I think the more we NCers see of him, the less we’ll think of him.

    And Kay Hagan voted for the ACA and gun regulations at a point when either one was thought to be akin to signing her own death warrant. She’s a hell of a lot more courageous than Chuck Schumer, for one.

  44. 44
    Matt says:

    @jl: I believe the “obvious anagram” thing is a bit of a joke – it’s really more that you get “RNC PR BS” if you drop all the vowels…

  45. 45
    Bostondreams, PhD says:


    And the Lt. Gov wants to use license plates to pay for it. License plates.

  46. 46
    Tyro says:

    @Violet: This is the kind of real information that will resonate with voters. “Republicans cost small businesses real money.” I hope Democrats say it loud and proud

    The thing is that small business bias for republicans is not about money so much as control and low taxes. There’s more resentment about having to pay a higher minimum wage and having decisions about who gets health insurance and who doesn’t than there is concern about sales and expansion.

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