Meet the new boss

Art popeWhen the rumor surfaced yesterday that arch-right-wing money bags and politcal attack ad king Art Pope would be Pat McCrory’s new budget director, there was a lot of denial amongst the folks we talk with over here at Policy Watch. Folks simply couldn’t believe that the new Guv would take such an outrageous and politically risky step.

This would be like a President Romney appointing the Koch brothers as his directors of the EPA and IRS.

But, here we are, 24 hours later, getting our arms around the idea that the man actually did it! Today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File will explore this momentous decision in more detail so be on the lookout, but here is a preliminary take:

In one fell swoop, before he’s even taken office, Pat McCrory has done at least three very ill-advised things:

1. He’s destroyed any notion that he has moderate tendencies that might allow him to govern somewhere closer to the middle. Pope is the leader of one of the nation’s most extreme, right-wing Tea Party groups, Americans for Prosperity. You can’t place such a man in charge of your most important legislation (i.e. the state budget) and pretend to be a moderate.

2. He’s raised enormous ethical issues for himself and his administration. How do state lawmakers work with a man with millions of dollars and a record as long as your arm of mounting destructive attack ad campaigns against politicians with whom he disagrees?

3. He’s called his own authority and role into question. How can McCrory be Pope’s boss when it is Pope who has all the money and power? Is he really going to crack the whip and tell Pope to toe the line that he establishes? Obviously, to ask that question is to answer it. If anyone’s going to be giving orders in the new administration, it’s clearly going to be Pope. The bottom line, if Pope is now the state’s “deputy budget director,” Pat McCrory is now Deputy Governor.




  1. Lisa

    December 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    To paraphrase Lincoln, government of the people, by the people, for the people, must not perish from the earth. Staying informed about what’s happening is the first step. The next step is taking action to hold those accountable who would sell our democracy to the highest bidder. We should publicize Pat McCrory’s unethical appointment through our public media and flood him with emails and phone calls letting him know this is NOT what democracy looks like.

  2. david esmay

    December 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    The quality of life in NC will now be lowered exponentially.

  3. Regina

    December 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    How gross. McCory ran in the middle to win and now shoots far right and hires a Tea Bagger to run our state budget? Expect losses in: income, jobs, benefits and anything else that helps out the poor/middle class or workers.

  4. Doug

    December 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    It is about time we get someone with some sanity in charge of the state budget. Hopefully we can cut a lot of the perks that the state government has expanded during the interminable Democrat expansion.

    For example there is no way the government should be the single largest employer in the state. Hopefully these appointments can reverse the direction so that the ponzi scheme will not become a full blown Madoff situation.

  5. Rob Schofield

    December 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    The point, Doug, is that even if Pope were the most qualified person the world (an obvious untruth), it is inappropriate in inumerable ways for anyone with a self-financed poltical advertising machine to be serving in such a role.

  6. Doug

    December 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I am sure there has never been a Democrat in NC to buy himself into a position of influence in an important role in the state government. Now that you have enligtened me I am very concerned that the government may become smaller and less oppressive. The apocalypse is truly upon us, just like it was when the legislature did not raise school funding the other year…you know the “cuts” where can see any ill effects.

  7. Alex

    December 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t the previous Budget Director, Andy Willis, a long-time lobbyist in the state ?

  8. Frank Burns

    December 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I would like to give the new Governor the benefit of the doubt. As mayor of Charlotte, he was never a politician who was influenced by any one person or group. He often made controversial decisions which conservatives did not support. Mr. Pope may prove to be an outstanding budget director, the fact that he is a successful businessman should help him with his duties and benefit the state.

  9. david esmay

    December 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, AlexDoug aren’t you on Pope’s payroll? Your comments are a little heavy on the boot licking. Are you bucking for a raise over at Civitcat?

  10. jlp75

    December 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    The government will become neither smaller nor less oppressive Doug. It will only shift to catering to those who are already well off and screw the lower and middle classes. If you think this is a good move, come back here in four years so we can see if you still believe that. I suspect there is going to be a lot of buyer’s remorse in the near future. Hopefully for all of us I am wrong.

  11. jlp75

    December 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm


    Art Pope was handed his empire from Daddy. Don’t think for a minute that he “built that”. Any one can claim hitting a triple when they were born on third base.

  12. jlp75

    December 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Welcome to North Civitas everybody!

  13. Frances Jenkins

    December 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I think Rob has mad dreams about Pope that does not allow him to see the facts clearly. Never about truth, justice or the pursuit of what is right for NC, it is just about being right without the facts.

  14. thomas mccoy

    December 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    The entire GOP is on an spinning spiral of hate turning inward on itself and will eventually self destruct from implosion. The hate,insanity and the lies will not prevail.

  15. JeffS

    December 21, 2012 at 1:31 am

    I told you so? That’s really all I can come up with.

    I must admit, I’m still a little surprised that anyone is surprised. Every time “benefit of the doubt” is uttered, I know it’s by someone who hasn’t bothered to pay attention.

  16. Frances Jenkins

    December 21, 2012 at 6:20 am

    If the new governor elect selected Jesus Christ as a leader, the heirs to the throne of 120 plus years of corrupt rule would develop some kind of negative comments to derail this new administration….Never, Never, Never will Rob, Chris or Sarah examine their own path in terms of truth, justice or the removal of poverty.

  17. Doug

    December 21, 2012 at 8:38 am

    david esmay…I wish I was on his payroll, but am not. I do however keep up with some of his causes such as the Carolina Journal. I totally agree with their philosophy that government needs to be smaller and run more like a business with rational decisions used to allocate resources. This is clearly the one chance this state has to finally break the tax and spend and grow government view that the corrupt Democrat “leaders” have been following since reconstruction.

    jlp75…the middle class has been screwed already. The middle class has suffered exponentially under the Democrat party rule in this state. Do you not notice that these people love to give away your money to huge causes for the rich companies that rarely work out (Dell comes to mind). After that they expand and waste money on perpetual welfare type programs that are never ending (how many years of unemployment do people now get). As far as I am concerned if I get screwed just a little bit softer for once then it is a good thing.

  18. gregflynn

    December 21, 2012 at 9:54 am

  19. Cindie

    December 21, 2012 at 9:58 am

    You know this is the right move when all the commie libs in the state hate it.

  20. jlp75

    December 21, 2012 at 10:47 am


    I have never said that either party is perfect. I think they are both crooks. Only some of you naive people believe the Republicans are the saints sent from above to save us all. If welfare is going to be doled out I would much rather see it go to those in need than ones who have more than any of us could ever imagine.


    I am glad to see you believe replacing a corrupt government with a corrupt government is a good thing. Hopefully it will bring you some solace as you are eventually left to dine on cat food.

    I think the funniest thing I read in all of this is that Art Pope will be in an unpaid position. That is hilarious. He will be paid handsomely when he manages to remove the income tax while the rest of us are left to disproportionately pickup his slack with an onerous sales tax. Republicans have no problem with tax and spend as long as you pay the tax and they get to spend. Wake up folks.

  21. jlp75

    December 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm


    You know one has no valid argument when they resort to name calling. The red Soviets aren’t storming our nation despite what Fox News has been telling you.

  22. david esmay

    December 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    jlp –Alex,Doug,Frances and Cindie are the same person and a fractured one at that, much like the GOP.

  23. […] Pope-Civitaser now in a pretty significant position of power — that, of course, would be the state’s new budget director and Pope-Civitas Institute founder/chief funder. Interestingly, there’s also nothing in the letter about holding that particular person […]

Check Also

NC faith leaders call for action on neglected policy proposals

In case you missed it, be sure to ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

While the North Carolina General Assembly tries again and again to reopen gyms and bars, there is an [...]

GenX study shows contamination in 80% of wells tested; mice studies show liver damage from Nafion By [...]

Black North Carolinians express hopes and fears about the struggle against racism in America “You ar [...]

In the first major abortion case of the Trump era, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts joi [...]

It’s never safe to predict what the current leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly will d [...]

The post The Room Where It Happened appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

In 1980, I moved to San Francisco, living in a collective in an old Victorian in Haight-Ashbury. Sit [...]

For many Americans, the initial reactions to seeing images on the news (or even occasionally in an A [...]