North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory does not "put a lot of attention" to his job, making one wonder why he is Governor in the first place. (Image Sources: Flickr: Hal Goodtree, James Willamor)
The role of the governor in any state is similar to that of a President: It is meant to serve as a check for the legislature and the judiciary branches of state government. They have the power to veto, and even line-item veto a piece of legislation, in addition to signing bills sent to his desk. So it is always kind of unsettling to hear a governor essentially saying they are a sycophant to their legislature. Such is the case with Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina, who said that he does not "put a lot of attention" into the bills he signs if they are not in his specialty of education and the economy. McCrory's phrasing also suggests he just lets the legislature do whatever they want outside of his core tenets.
Governor McCrory's statement, in the long video above with the Heritage Foundation, essentially sums up as this:
"With my legislature, I focused on, primarily, three areas: the economy, education, and government efficiency. Frankly, everything outside that area, I didn’t put a lot of attention to. Now I had certain state reps and state senators who focused on other things, which they need to. But I wanted to focus, as the executive branch, on the economy, education, and government efficiency."
The problem with this line of thinking is that, regardless of what Governor McCrory thinks should be his focus, it sets a precedent that the Governor is not important in North Carolina state government, and that legislatures can simply ignore whatever the Governor believes is best for the state, and cause government gridlock in the event the Governor disagrees with whatever the Legislature imposes, even if the Governor uses a veto or other measure to block legislation.
To be fair, the Governor's office in North Carolina has historically been weak. In particular, veto power, the key element of any executive branch, was not granted to the Governor of North Carolina until 1996, the last state in the Union to do so. Furthermore, Governor McCrory, a Republican, is either backed or faces a supermajority of Republicans in the State Senate and near-supermajority of Republicans in the State House of Representatives, depending on your view. Even if he wanted to side against them, he would likely be overruled.
However, the fact that McCrory himself does not seem to care about what his duties are as governor displays a subtle level of incompetence that can only be described as pathetic. The Republican-controlled legislature could, in theory, quietly add a measure rescinding McCrory's veto powers, perhaps to some bill on farming, and kill off his ability to fight against measures even he finds extreme. Would McCrory even notice? Probably not. He might even support it as part of his attempts to improve "government efficiency."
If one were to suggest that this is the general feeling of the governor's office, then North Carolina should just get rid of it all together, and let the state legislature run the government, like they do in other parts of the world. After all, up until Reconstruction, one part of the North Carolina state legislature was called the House of Commons.