Okay, we promise to give it a rest of after this, but yesterday’s right-wing rally featured so many absurd moments that we have to call attention to a few of them. Here’s a quick list that the Policy Watch staff cobbled together this afternoon:
#10 – A movement to “take back our state” being, in effect, keynoted by a man from Kansas who has spent the last several decades living in a pricey condo at the Watergate and seconded by the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.
#10(a) – Repeated lectures from right-wing speakers about the need to take government back from arrogant political insiders at an event headlined by – you guessed it – the consummate political insider, Bob Dole.
# 9 – The spectacle of the national head of Americans for the Prosperous announcing the group’s appropriately and ironically named, “Hot Air Tour” that is supposedly designed to demonstrate that global warming is not a human influenced phenomenon.
#9(a) – That it took place right after a speech by the husband of a senator who is sponsoring a bill to attack global warming by reducing human carbon emissions.
#8 – Bob Dole (a high-priced lobbyist for, among other clients, one of the wealthiest oligarchs/robber barons in Russia at the same time that he’s married to a U.S. senator) claiming that neither he nor his wife had ever had any ethics issues and telling the audience that it should make ethics in government one of the key issues when they vote in the upcoming election..
#8(a) – After his speech, political activist, blogger and visiting Duke Law prof Zephyr Teachout approached Dole to ask him if he would make public all of his foreign lobbying clients. He (rather grumpily) gave her his card and told her to call his office. Stay tuned.
#8(b) – The fact that Dole’s candidate for president was a member of the ethically challenged “Keating Five.”
#7 – Lt. Guv wannabe Robert Pittenger waving a gavel while he spoke in an effort to convey that his goal is to “preside” over the state Senate and promising the audience what a difference this would make. Pittenger may want to check out how much authority the gavel ended up providing to past Lite Guv’s (Gardner, Wicker) who tried to do battle with the Senate leadership. Hint: not much.
#6 – Some N.C. Democratic Party volunteers handing out flyers that quote the John Locke Foundation for the premise that Charlotte is a “high tax city” in an apparent effort to embarrass Pat McCrory. Come on guys, you can do better than that.
#5 – The hypocrisy of AFP spokespeople claiming out of one side of their mouths that their group and event are about supporting “libertarian solutions” while calling for a adoption of an explicitly conservative religious agenda out of the other. Libertarian huh? Would that be like the national Libertarian Party? Check out its pro-choice, anti-censorship, pro-LGBT rights platform here.
#4 – Dole claiming that people who make $87,000 per year are in the top 1% of income earners. Uh, Bob, that number would be more like $600,000.
#4(a) – Dole also claimed that the Democrats would raise taxes on everyone. Click here to see Money magazine’s analyses of the impact of the McCain and Obama plans.
#3 – McCrory attempting to rouse the overwhelmingly socially conservative crowd with the drumbeat from the rock anthem “We Will Rock You” – which, of course, was made famous by the band Queen and its extravagantly gay front man, the late great Freddie Mercury (who died of AIDS).
#3 (a) – Bob Dole attempting to entertain the same audience with multiple Viagra jokes.
#2 – Multiple speakers lambasting the practice of congressional earmarks whilst implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) supporting the candidacies of Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Robin Hayes – two of Washington’s leading earmark abusers.
#1 – The fact that a collection of 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations sponsored what was clearly a partisan political event. According to the Internal Revenue Service:
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.”
Read more of what the IRS has to say on this topic here.