I am going to say something here that I have said privately for years, but will not publish as a writer. Your new "logo" with the Maxway and Roses 'stickers' applied to our state flag are nothing new in NC politics, regardless of political party affiliation or political persuasion.
Over 20 years ago as a Families USA volunteer trying to understand why we could not achieve a reasonable health care plan in the US, I began to study the political landscape and talk to people "in the know," and I soon realized that until we had campaign finance reform, true health care reform would be an unrealized dream for idealists like me.
I have to say that I found it particularly ironic when Wake Commissioner Tony Gurley, a Raleigh pharmacist and an attorney, tried to portray himself in his campaign ads in Wake County as a "compassionate conservative."
This is the same guy who was quoted in an interview with the N&O describing himself as "cranky" and "abrasive," and he called these "skills" (and not traits). He went on to say that he had learned his "skills" in pushing competing drivers into the wall as a young race car driver.
The picture of Tony that came to mind when I read the interview was of him driving a race car covered in corporate logos for all the development and construction companies, whose corporate CEOs filled his campaign coffers. Despite my suggesting to the N&O that they report on the source of his campaign funds, they did not.
Now to be fair, neither candidates like Gurley nor donors like Art Pope invented this game. The master of the game has to be none other than former Governor (the only 4 term governor) Jim Hunt. He was the one who invented "Hunt Keys," who were responsible for raking in the money for Hunt's races for the Statehouse and the U. S. Senate.
While I find Art Pope to be a predator seeking easy meat to prey on in the political world, is he so different from Democrats of the past? His argument that he is just trying to put Republicans on an even playing field in NC politics is not so far fetched.
Just look at the history of the seat to which Richard Burr was just re-elected. This is the first election since 1968 in which the candidate was re-elected. The last candidate re-elected to the seat was the famous Senator Sam of Watergate reknown.
Before Senator Sam Ervin's long reign in the US Senate, Democrats had controlled that seat for over 80 years. NC was then part of the Democratic "solid South," that voted consistently for Democrats after the Civil War, and elections were decided for the most part by the Democratic Primary.
Our memories for such history and the voting traditions in NC are short.
Many people still resent the Hunt Administration and its fierce partisanship and its frequent retribution against anyone challenging it--but mostly any Republican challenging it.
Whether Jim Hunt was a benevolent dictator or just a dictator, he was able to control things by playing to the middle and gaining business and corporate support from many of the most powerful men in Charlotte and Winston-Salem. He would never challenge them, if it meant losing the money that flowed into his campaigns and those of the Democrats he supported.
I do not share the political philosophy of Art Pope, Paul Stam and Thom Tillis, and Phil Berger. But I think attacking them for doing what political parties do is a waste of time, and it even aids their cause among the growing bloc of independent voters.
Anyway, how is what Hunt and his "keys" did so different from Art Pope's aspiring to gain control of the NCGA for his party?
You want real reform in NC and the nation? You must have campaign finance reform. Nothing else will really make a difference in the long run.