Pope's tax reform Kabuki dance continues

Deputy Assistant Governor McCrory is having second thoughts about his short leash, resulting in a bizarre kabuki dance that looks more and more like a good-old-fashioned shell game.

As you'll recall from last week, Governor Pope gave Phil Berger permission to say the General Assembly would put an end to income and corporate taxes in favor of raising sales taxes, including a tax on food. Right on cue this week, Pope told reporters in Chapel Hill that he didn't think that was a good idea. Then yesterday, Deputy Assistant Governor McCrory told reporters that he didn't really agree with Governor Pope, and that he'd continue to push the ALEC agenda of drowning government in Grover Nordquist's bathtub.

In case you're having trouble following this, here's the real story. Governor Pope and his Deputy are embarrassed that so many people have seen through their charade. Despite the fact that Pope is not a controversial figure, he needs to find a way out of the spotlight and let Deputy Assistant Governor McCrory look like he's in charge. What better way to do that than to have a public spat, let McCrory win, and then slide back into running his slum-retailing empire, leaving a gang of Lockers behind to do his absentee bidding.

What's even more remarkable is the fact that these guys know North Carolina voters will fall for their smoke-and-mirrors scam, and that all this tap-dancing will distract people from seeing the harsh reality of their regressive agenda.