Even Pope group, former GOP governor join opposition to legislative power play

Lest anyone find themselves falling for the absurd claim emanating from GOP excuse makers in the state Legislative Building that this week’s special session power play is just “business as usual” in North Carolina politics, think again. It is, in fact, an unprecedented and outrageous assault on democracy that lawmakers are taking so many enormously complicated and important concepts readjusting the fundamentals of state government from the back of the envelope to state law in just a few hours.

But don’t just take my word for it. Listen to the words of prominent conservative groups and politicians.

Last night, I had the opportunity to appear on Time Warner Cable’s Capital Tonight program with Mitch Kokai of the conservative, Art Pope-funded John Locke Foundation (click here and go to about 15:30 mark to watch) and even Kokai was highly critical of what’s going on.

As he noted, the lack of process in the special session “causes lots of problems for anyone who wants to see good government” and “to see this being done as it’s being done, has to raise some red flags.”

Meanwhile former Republican Governor Jim Martin told Raleigh’s News & Observer that lawmakers have “gone too far” in grabbing the powers of Gov.-elect Ropy Cooper for themselves.

The criticisms from the Locke Foundation and Martin, of course, echo the scathing critiques of the session that have been coming from major news outlet editorials. On this front, perhaps none put it better than this morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com:

“Amid the sorry spectacle, we see a fundamental question North Carolinians must ask: What kind of person puts partisan politics above the orderly functioning of state government?

This special session is giving us a clear answer to that question – every GOP legislator who votes for these ‘get even’ bills is guilty of that sorry charge.

They are motivated, not by seeking to do good for the state, but by imposing their personal partisan and ideological views, regardless of the popular will. They maintain power by unconstitutionally manipulating election laws and gerrymandering representative districts.

Now, when a majority of the state’s voters picked a new governor not of their liking, they are rushing to make ill-conceived changes in essential functions of state government, strip the governor of long-standing authority and duties while dishing out plum state jobs and judicial appointments to their political pals.

It is not a picture of political prowess and finesse. Rather it is a portrait of the arrogant ham-handedness of grown-up school yard bullies.”

Stay tuned throughout the day as NC Policy Watch continuing coverage of the special session continues.

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