McCrory’s cookies crumble

July 31, 2013 

Throughout the legislative session, Republican lawmakers repeatedly gave North Carolinians what they didn’t want. Now that they’re gone, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is keeping up the practice.

On Tuesday, McCrory emerged from the Executive Mansion flanked by security guards and handed a plate of chocolate chip cookies to a woman summoned from a group of protesters. The protesters were across the street from the mansion to object to a new law signed by McCrory that imposes burdensome requirements on abortion clinics and will likely reduce women’s access to abortion.

The cookie exchange was captured in a photo by Irene Godinez, public affairs director for Planned Parenthood Health Systems. It should go into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame, or the Pat McCrory Hall of Shame.

In the photo, the woman, Jamie Sohn of Chapel Hill, holds a protest sign in one hand and the plate of cookies in another. Sohn is looking back to her group as the governor, turning and walking away, gestures as if to say, “No, no, you keep them.”

But it is the expression on Sohn’s face that makes the most vivid statement. She appears to be asking at once: “Did this just happen?” and “What do I do with these?”

In the end, the group put the cookies back at the mansion’s closed gate with a sign that read: “Will take women’s health care over cookies.”

On one level, the incident can be filed with the governor’s other off-kilter moments since taking office in January. But on another level, the cookie incident is not quirky or amusing. Either the governor was having a frat boy moment of mocking the protesters camped outside his door or he was making a genuine gesture that revealed how out of touch he is with the powerful issues and passions behind the bill he made law.

We hope it was the latter, but it’s not much of a choice.

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