Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain:
There’s an important distinction, however, between spirited debate and character assassination. Republicans don’t favor tax cuts, regulatory reform, energy exploration, or school choice because some shadowy special-interest group has paid them off. Republicans favor these ideas because they believe them to be good public policy.
The thing is, it's not "either or" as John Hood would like his readers to believe. Whether he's referring to ALEC or Art Pope's Civitas/JLF/AFPNC propaganda machine, that "shadowy special interest group" has been engaged in an aggressive education campaign for years, spoon-feeding anti-government fear-mongering parables and arcane and unprovable economic fantasy scenarios to potential GOP candidates and their supporters, while dangling the prize of $4,000 checks from the Pope family bundlers if they have the free-market Kool-Aid stain on their lips. Here's one of the many ways to get that stain:
Underwritten by the E.A. Morris Charitable Foundation and the John William Pope Foundation, the Morris Fellowship program encourages committed, diverse, and principled North Carolinians to pursue greater leadership roles within their professions and communities. Morris Fellows will explore the dynamics of public policy, principles of individual liberty and free enterprise, the role of private and nonprofit institutions in a free society, and the role of citizen leaders in a hands-on manner. Through the Fellowship program, these committed individuals will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become leaders in business, nonprofit, education, government, and other areas of public service.
The candidate's commitment includes mandatory attendance at three Morris Fellows retreats, each to be held in a different location around the state, plus a choice of at least four other approved seminars or conferences. The additional events, chosen by participants, may be sponsored by think tanks, universities, trade associations, civic clubs or other organizations. Morris Fellows must also demonstrate their leadership initiative in the form of a community leadership project.
As emerging leaders, the chosen Fellows will gain new opportunities to advance the principles of individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise, the principles that allow our society to thrive.
If you take a look at each year's graduating "fellows", you'll see several current Legislators in the mix, and probably several future ones. Back to Hood's lame request for critical restraint (or whatever it is), once again published under Rob's byline:
It would be unwise for legislative Republicans to claim credit for this modest but welcome improvement in North Carolina’s economic momentum. There are many factors at work. Still, it would be even more unwise — and unpersuasive — for their critics to try to construct an empirical argument against the state GOP's economic policies in light of these statistics.
That leaves them with fewer rhetorical arrows in their quivers. So they quarrel. At some point, perhaps, they will be in a position to argue once again.
The damage being wreaked by Republicans on our state, and the pain that damage is bringing to tens of thousands of families already living on the edge, is far from rhetorical. John and his associates would like people to believe that opposition to their ideas is simply based in ideology and political party identification. In reality, the bulk of the opposition, from the NAACP and environmental groups and citizen support organizations like the NC Justice Center is specific in nature, backed by solid research and observation, focused almost exclusively on protecting people from the negative effects of irresponsible governing.
I know Republicans would prefer to blunder along, destroying families left and right, without having to worry about those pesky bleeding-heart Liberals calling attention to the destruction. But that ain't gonna happen.