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These are interesting and confusing times in North Carolina politics. And with the hostile takeover of state government by chain store magnate Art Pope virtually complete, it looks like the lines will only get blurrier and more confusing. Check out this rather remarkable excerpt from a fundraiser sent out by the Pope-Civitas Institute on New Year’s Eve: 

Dear Friend, 

Big changes are happening here in the “Old North State”.

We have a new governor, and a more conservative legislature.

But that’s not the only news, two former Civitas staff members are now in responsible positions in state government. And we plan on holding them accountable! Read More

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: Read More

We still don’t know a whole lot about North Carolina’s new Secretary of Health and Human Services-to-be Aldona Wos, but it does appear that she can be a compelling TV interview. Be sure to watch all three-plus minutes of the video below to see how convincing she was to an Estonian TV personality (a guy who seems to be some kind of Estonian Jon Stewart) as she extolled the genius of George W. Bush during her tenure as ambassador to the small Baltic nation.

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Looks like North Carolina’s Governor-elect  Pat McCrory is not interested in playing the silly Bev Perdue and Raleigh-bashing game enbraced with such gusto by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and the conservative shock troops at Americans for Prosperity.

In the first question at today’s press briefing. Jon Camp of ABC 11 asked McCrory for his thoughts on Perdue’s busy last few weeks in office and the hubbub in some circles surrounding her decision to lease the Dorothea Dix campus to the City of Raleigh.

Here’s what he said:

“She’s the governor. That’s how I feel about it. She has the authority to make those moves. And I uh…I’d expressed my opinion earlier on the Dix — I wish we could’ve waited. I’m, I’m all for the park.” Read More

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Good grief! Can Pat McCrory really be this clueless? The man who ran for Governor on a platform of combating the state’s “culture of corruption” is already selling access to rich people at $50,000 a pop?

No, this is not some kind of weird, Onion-like fantasy story cooked up by depressed Democratic campaign people trying to make themselves feel better a month after the election — the guy is really doing this!!

Earth to the Governor-elect: Sir, you’re in a bigger pond now where people are actually going to pay attention to stuff like this. We know you’re new to state-level politics and that old conservative pols like Jack Hawke can probably make lots of pretty far out ideas sound like no big deal, but this really is a huge error. You need to ditch the fundraiser and dump Hawke from your transition team ASAP or risk starting your new administration out on a distinctly sour (and downright embarrassing) note.