Editorial: Burn, baby, burn

May. 26, 2013 @ 02:17 AM

Not often does a politician in a position of power so publicly burn a bridge the way that state Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Iredell, did on Wednesday.

Announcing that he was stepping down as chairman of the House Finance Committee, Brawley issued a public letter to the Republican House speaker, Thom Tillis, that WRAL accurately described as “blistering.”

Brawley accused Tillis of killing a bill favoring a local broadband Internet provider because it would hurt the business of Time Warner Cable.

Brawley accused Tillis of hypocrisy for saying that the legislature should not get involved in bills that “create conflicts with towns” even while backing measures that subvert the power of cities controlled by Democrats.

Brawley said that Tillis aided in the passage of a bill in 2012 “giving a monopoly to the family of a Republican legislator,” apparently a reference to a bill giving bail bond agents just one choice for training. Rep. Justin Burr, R-Albemarle, is a bondsman.

The fact that Brawley would commit these to writing and issue them publicly but choose to remain in the General Assembly (“I reserve the right to continue to represent my district and to fight for what I believe is American”) may be more surprising than the allegations.

The comments of Tillis’ spokesman, Jordan Shaw, in response were low-key. We would bet that Tillis’ own private statements to Brawley – whether verbal or by deed – will not be, and that the most surprising thing of all will be if Brawley ever again manages to get a pet bill through the House while Tillis is in office.