The N&O's Steve Ford blasts Pope and the Koch Brothers:
There has to be a certain irony in a group bankrolled by some of the country's wealthiest business types - people with a vested financial interest in low taxes and limp-wristed regulation - using the working man and woman's annual holiday as a springboard for its anti-government agenda.
Americans for Prosperity has as a national director none other than the ubiquitous Art Pope of Raleigh, head of Variety Wholesalers (owners of Roses, Maxway, Super 10 and other bargain-oriented retail chains). Pope, one-time GOP legislator and candidate for lieutenant governor, hardly needs an introduction these days as the kingpin behind the libertarian/conservative John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute.
Oh, it's dripping with irony, but I'm afraid that escapes most people.
Something else I find ironic: the propaganda put forth by AFP, Real Jobs NC and other "arms" of the Pope machine is designed to sway public opinion. Then Civitas runs a poll to see how effectively its money is being spent, and then the media reports on the results of the poll, swaying public opinion even more.
You can despise their ideology and goals, and fret about the future implications of public opinion gone astray. But you have to admire the mechanics involved.
Americans for Prosperity (which has a foundation set up under tax laws that allow it to engage in partisan activity) was a heavy-duty opponent of health care reform, and everybody knows that one of the opposition's motives was to drag Obama down. Now the rhetoric one hears from AFP and its tea party soul mates rips Obama and the Democrats as tax-happy socialists, lusting for power and scornful of American freedoms. When this kind of bilge is being pumped, it's a good idea to consider the source.
Certainly Art Pope isn't shy about spending money to flay Democrats. Just ask nine Democratic legislators whose districts recently have been targeted with mailers from an anti-tax group called Real Jobs NC. It turns out that Variety Wholesalers has given the group $100,000 - a nice gesture indeed by the customers of Roses and other stores under the Pope umbrella who surely wouldn't want the state to have enough revenue to pay for, say, decent public schools. Or perhaps it's Pope who doesn't want that.
That last part is right in line with what I mentioned a few days ago: Proceeds from the commerce of the rank and file being used by a select few to shape the government. A government that is supposed to serve all of us, by the way. And when that select few publishes diatribes bemoaning the impact of "special interests" on our government, the irony grows so thick you can hardly breathe the air.