Thomas Mills: Tillis tries to draw Trump’s favor
Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from posts by politicsnc.com publisher and founder Thomas Mills on his website.
I suspect that at some point, Sen. Thom Tillis had a modicum of self-respect. I also suspect that those days are long forgotten.
Today, he debases himself regularly trying to stay in the good graces of the man in the White House.
This weekend, he tweeted, “Eric Trump’s birthday is coming up. We’re putting together a birthday card for him—will you add your name?” Conservative columnist Matt Lewis commented sarcastically, “This seems like a perfectly dignified thing for a U.S. Senator to be doing.” Another Republican political consultant wrote, “Straight up embarrassing.”
Tillis, though, has lost any sense of dignity so he’s also lost the capacity to be embarrassed. In his mind, he’s convinced himself that his tweet will draw favor from the president. What a pathetic view.
Tillis can be summed up by the lyrics of a cheesy country song: “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. You’ve got to be your own man, not a puppet on a string.”
Tillis, of course, stands for nothing. Last March, he began a transformation from a centrist senator who bragged about working across the aisle to a toady of President Donald Trump matched only by Sen. Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina.
The pivotal event was an op-ed Tillis wrote gently criticizing Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build his border wall. When the president expressed his dissatisfaction, Tillis flip-flopped and voted for a senate resolution supporting the measure.
Since then, he’s done all he can to curry favor with Trump, debasing himself regularly and showing no independence.
For some people, politics is really damaging vocation. The adulation and sense of power feeds narcissistic tendencies that otherwise might be kept in check. For some, it leads to affairs or other unsavory relationships. For others, like Tillis, they fear losing their sense of entitlement and influence. They’ll do almost anything to keep it.
Tillis has so wrapped himself up in his political identity, he’s forgotten who he was.
He got involved in politics to get more bike paths in Cornelius. Just 15 years later, he’s the U.S. senator from North Carolina who will do or say essentially anything to curry favor with Trump.
His rapid rise in power is proportional to the rapid demise of his self-respect. What a pathetic trade off.
In a post I wrote last week, I said that I didn’t think Democrat Pete Buttigieg could win North Carolina because the state isn’t ready to elect a gay man president.
I should have said more. I don’t believe Buttigieg can win North Carolina and I don’t believe he will be the Democratic nominee, but I do believe he has run the most extraordinary campaign of the election cycle.
Buttigieg first came on my radar screen when he decided to run for chair of the Democratic National Committee shortly after Trump won the presidency.
He traveled the country making the case for new leadership and working with organizations popping up to recruit candidates and register voters.
He was clearly a smart guy committed to rebuilding the Democratic Party in the wake of a devastating loss. He was impressive but also seemed to have limited political options coming from a state that has become as red as Indiana.
I was surprised when I saw him jump into the presidential race but was quickly impressed with his performance. He made himself available to reporters in candid interviews and came across as more thoughtful than most politicians. He seems unflappable and quickly built a loyal following.
Today, Buttigieg is among the top five contenders in a field that started out with a bunch of people with much meatier resumes. His success shows a political savviness that heralds a bright career. It also shows that he’s tapped into a sentiment of more moderate voters who still want something different from what we’ve had.
I do believe he can lead a wing of the Democratic Party that’s less enamored with the false promises of socialism than the Bernie wing of the party seems to be.”
Right now, I don’t have faith that enough of my fellow North Carolinians will support a gay candidate to overcome the backlash against one. I would love to be proven wrong.
I also think that, as we get closer to voting, more people will have doubts about Buttigieg’s thin political resume. And finally, I think that his age will be a liability.
There may not be a single factor that lowers the ceiling of his support, but I believe the combination of factors makes it hard for him to win the nomination.
All of that said, the fact that his sexual orientation plays so little role in his candidacy says a lot about how far we’ve come as a nation.
Buttigieg is not seen as “the gay candidate” and his nomination is a real possibility.