August 3, 2014 · 7:00 PM
Is it just me, or is the global political climate really getting hotter? In addition to global warming, we seem to be having global political hotting; and North Carolina is quite an example. We will watch part of a Bill Moyers show, and ask ourselves - is this same thing happening right here in river city? Is Rex Sinquefeld doing to Missouri what Art Pope is doing to North Carolina? And is it just a coincidence?
This week on Moyers & Company, “State of Conflict: North Carolina” offers a documentary report from a state that votes both blue and red and sometimes purple (Romney carried it by a whisker in 2012, Obama by an eyelash in 2008). Now, however, Republicans hold the governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature and they are steering North Carolina far to the right: slashing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, providing vouchers to private schools, cutting unemployment benefits, refusing to expand Medicaid and rolling back electoral reforms, including voting rights.
At the heart of this conservative onslaught sits a businessman who is so wealthy and powerful that he is frequently described as the state’s own “Koch brother.” Art Pope, whose family fortune was made via a chain of discount stores, has poured tens of millions of dollars into a network of foundations and think tanks that advocate a wide range of conservative causes. Pope is also a major funder of conservative political candidates in the state.