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Sun May 26, 2013, 12:54 AM

In North Carolina, unimpeded GOP drives state hard to the right (GREAT Washington post article) [View all]

Last edited Sun May 26, 2013, 02:28 AM - Edit history (1)

For Sunday's Post, Michael A. Fletcher has this wonderful profile of the right wing takeover of NC state government:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Backed by throngs of chanting supporters, dozens of liberal demonstrators are subjecting themselves to arrest each Monday at the state legislature here to protest a flurry of bills that could transform North Carolina into a model of conservative governance.

The state’s hard turn to the right comes less than five years after people took to the streets here to celebrate the 2008 victory of Barack Obama, the first Democratic presidential candidate to capture the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The win prompted Obama’s supporters to crow about the growing influence of progressive and minority voters not only in North Carolina but across the South.

But that euphoria is now a distant memory. Since the recession hit, North Carolina has been saddled with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates. The bad times helped prepare the way for a carefully executed strategy, with big financial support from a major conservative activist, that helped the GOP win control of both chambers of the state General Assembly in 2010.

Those victories were capped last year when Republican Pat McCrory was elected governor, giving the party control of all levers of state government for the first time since 1870.

And who is the NC equivalent of the Koch Brothers? You guessed it...ART POPE.

The victories were aided by the strong financial support of Art Pope, a multimillionaire who spent heavily in support of the state’s GOP candidates. The Institute for Southern Studies, a North Carolina-based research organization, said Pope’s advocacy network spent $2.2 million on 22 legislative races, winning 18. Overall, conservative organizations largely supported by Pope accounted for three-fourths of the outside money spent in North Carolina legislative races in 2010, according to the institute.

One of McCrory’s first acts after being elected governor was to install Pope, a former legislator, as the state budget chief. (The governor’s office declined to make Pope available for an interview.) And now, GOP lawmakers are moving swiftly to enact a long list of legislation they say is largely aimed at limiting government debt and snapping the state’s economy out of a years-long malaise.

What kind of legislation would that be?

Legislators have slashed jobless benefits. They have also repealed a tax credit that supplemented the wages of low-income people, while moving to eliminate the estate tax. They have voted against expanding Medicaid to comply with the 2010 federal health-care law. The expansion would have added 500,000 poor North Carolinians to the Medicaid rolls.

Mike Malloy (an alum of NC State) commented about the NC unemp. insurance cuts on Feb. 14:

Lawmakers are also considering proposals to reduce and flatten income tax rates while expanding the sales tax, perhaps to even include groceries and prescription drugs — which some advocates see as a first step toward eliminating the state income tax.

The North Carolina House has passed a law requiring voters to have a government-issued identification card, and legislators are considering bills to roll back the state’s law allowing same-day voter registration and to sharply limit early voting — measures that supporters of the current law say were integral to the high turnout of minority voters in the past several elections.

The legislative effort has mobilized liberals who see North Carolina as a laboratory for conservative ideas propelled nationwide by the money of a handful of key patrons. They note that many of the initiatives being pursued by legislators here have long been championed by a network of conservative organizations supported by Pope and billionaire activists Charles and David Koch, including Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Another wacky idea from the new NC legislature: for the May 15 edition of The Young Turks, guest host John Iadarola (substituting for Cenk Uygur) commented about NC wanting to ban Tesla:

By the way, as the linked Raleigh N&O story reports, the NC Senate Commerce Cmte UNANIMOUSLY passed the proposed bill! UNANIMOUSLY - so even DEMOCRATIC Tarheel legislators are buying into the right wing Art Pope agenda?

I am glad that NC progressives are getting active!

With the crowd behind them, 57 protesters walked inside the building and stood in front of the large brass doors leading to the Senate chamber. The demonstrators — pastors, students, college professors and senior citizens among them — were arrested and led away in plastic handcuffs. They joined a group of more than 100 North Carolina residents who had been arrested and jailed in three previous protests.

Unfortunately, NC doesn't have recall elections for governors, unlike Wisconsin where an unsuccessful one was held against Scott Walker.

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Reply In North Carolina, unimpeded GOP drives state hard to the right (GREAT Washington post article) [View all]
alp227 May 2013 OP
DCKit May 2013 #1
hollysmom May 2013 #2
life long demo May 2013 #3
freshwest May 2013 #4
NC_Nurse May 2013 #5