Clash of the conservatives

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2013

N.C. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, speaking to a tea party group on April 27 (in a video posted online):
“I’m potentially getting myself in real trouble telling you this stuff,” Pittman tells the crowd. “Then, none of my bills will go anywhere, but they’re not going anywhere anyway. …
“You know, I was proud to vote for Thom Tillis to be the speaker again, when we got back up there this year because, last session, he was great. You know, I thought, ‘No one could be more fair than this guy is.’
“But, now he’s running for U.S. Senate, or planning to. Things have changed. They tell us all the time about how bad it was when (Republicans) were in the minority and the Democratic leadership wouldn’t let them get their bills moved or anything. Well, now the constitutional conservatives in the Republican part of the House know what that’s like.”

Pittman in a letter of apology issued May 1:
“… I probably gave them a little more information than was necessary about the process, and speculated about other people’s motives more than was appropriate, as I was having second thoughts about the process myself. Thinking out loud in such a setting is not the best thing to do, it seems. At the time, I did not consider that my comments would be given the widespread exposure that did occur.
“… As a result, my presentation has put the Speaker of the House, Rep. Thom Tillis, in a bad light, in a manner that was not fair to him in retrospect. I do wish to apologize to him for that. While we do still have some disagreements about process, I have done damage to his reputation in a manner which I did not consider at the time. I regret that this has damaged our friendship.”

Rep. Thom Tillis, R-Cornelius, speaker of the N.C. House, on Facebook on May 4:
“I was the GOP minority whip in 2009. My job was to get conservative Democrats to help us defeat liberal legislation. The Democratic leaders, heavily influenced by their most liberal members and far-left groups, could not resist the pressure to move too far too fast. They did not compromise and they went too far.
“They got out of step with the citizens of NC and they lost their majority as a result. It was their lack of discipline that laid the groundwork for Republicans to have House/Senate super majorities, a GOP governor, and (lieutenant) governor. Our lack of discipline will lay the groundwork for their ascendency and if they succeed we will only have ourselves to blame.”