Duke Magazine, a publication for alumni of the university, has a lengthy piece in the current issue written by journalist Barry Yeoman. The title says it all: "The End of Moderation? To some Duke professors and alumni, the NC legislature's recent rightward is a dismantling of Terry Sanford's legacy".
The article takes a close look at Sanford's vision for the state, pushing it from being a poor second-rate Southern backwater to one attractive to business, research, and innovation by tackling poor education, racial disparity, and poverty wages. And Yeoman looks at how Pope's stink tanks created the infrastructure to dismantle Sanford's work for North Carolina.
Since Pope is a Duke alum and has made some donations to the school, the magazine apparently felt compelled to devote another article to his response, "The Truth About Pope".
You've heard his talking points before:
He believes that voters would have swept in the state’s first Republican legislative majority in modern history even without the influence of a handful of Pope-funded conservative organizations. “But the left-wing groups had to come up with an excuse,” he says. “So they used me and my name as the bogeyman to blame [the GOP victory on] the state being sold.” “But the left-wing groups had to come up with an excuse,” he says. “So they used me and my name as the bogeyman to blame [the GOP victory on] the state being sold.”
What the author of the articles and Pope himself fail to mention are the millions Pope poured into campaigns for state legislators in addition to his funding for the think tanks that now guide the McCrory administration and Republican legislators. Does anyone recall the ads with race-baiting and homophobic slurs that look like something out of the Helms-Gantt campaign in the last couple of election cycles? Anyone besides me that had to do considerable Googling to figure out that the ads were paid for by Pope and Variety Wholesalers?
The Duke Magazine article doesn't touch on Pope's high-level position with the Koch's Americans for Prosperity or ALEC and how his funding of think tanks in NC and candidates might create a slight conflict of interest with his role as McCrony's Budget Director.
As with his role in state politics, Pope believes his academic critics treat him like a “bogeyman” because of the Pope Center’s views. “University professors are very protective of their academic freedom,” he says. “Yet they presume, or just lie, about my saying various things as if I controlled and edited and directed everything written by independent organizations like the Pope Center for Higher Education [Policy]. Would you ascribe to the president of Duke University every single thing that’s written by a professor at Duke University?”
The last time I checked, the president of Duke, of course, doesn't fund the salaries of Duke professors, their studies and publications from his personal fortune.
Pope, as usual, paints the left in broad strokes. No, Pope, we don't think you single-handedly bought and paid for the NC legislature.
We recognize that you simply bought a soapbox and rounded up a group of misfit Ayn Randian extremists and gave them a platform to spew bullshit that was rejected by Democrats and sane Republicans fifty or sixty years ago. Throw in a few thousand bucks here and there for extremist Christian bigots pushing for Amendment One, some bone-headed racist Tea Baggers looking for a seat in the legislature, and some coordination with your friends at ALEC, and you've made quite an investment in your own future, while the rest of us get screwed.
No, Mr. Pope, we don't begrudge you your inherited fortune. Nor do we wish to restrain your Constitutional right to freedom of speech.
What we do find disturbing is how you've bought a theater, packed it full of people, and handed out megaphones to nutcases to go around yelling "FIRE!" There are people getting maimed and killed in the mad rush for the exits. But I guess they don't matter, since you're making a few bucks off the suckers who bought a ticket to your little production.