The way Art Pope sees it his blasting Richard Morgan (because Richard blasted Governor Perdue) wasn’t defending Governor Perdue...
… but how did Perdue see it?
“Well, miracles do happen!” the Governor chortled, delighted to have Pope’s support.
What’s ironic about all this is for years Art’s been hammering Richard, saying he’s too cozy with Democrats and now, suddenly, Art’s cozying up to Perdue. I’m beginning to think the fact is Art just doesn’t like Richard and all his past homily’s about his concern for party loyalty were just window dressing to hide what is really just a good old-fashioned feud that’s been going on for over a decade, since Richard ran against Art for Republican Leader in the State House and beat him.
Anyway, whatever the reason, Art’s latest broadside against Richard is a little strange: Last Wednesday, Richard filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission accusing Governor Perdue’s Cabinet Secretary (and former lobbyist) Lanier Cansler of giving a $30 million no bid state contract to one of his former clients, which in turn paid Cansler’s former lobbying firm, which in turn’s been paying Cansler.
Now, none of these facts are in dispute: Money flowed from Cansler’s Department to his former client to his former firm then back to Cansler – and that sure sounds like ‘pay to play.’
Not so, says Art Pope.
He says what Perdue and Cansler did was all perfectly legal and the one who’s really guilty of ‘pay to play’ is Richard Morgan – how’s that? The proof Pope says is simple: Richard accepted a $250 contribution from the Home and Hospice Care Association’s political committee two years ago which, the way Art sees it, is all the evidence anyone with two drams of sense needs to see the reason Morgan is attacking Perdue is to keep the those $250 checks (every two years) flowing.
And Art wasn’t done. He went on to say I’m a villain, too, for being Richard’s friend and lobbying for the Hospice and Home Care Association.
Well, he’s technically correct on his last two points. I’ll explain and you decide about the villain part. Last year, I did make TV ads attacking Democratic Senator Doug Berger – who may be the most liberal person in the legislature – for the Home and Hospice Care Coalition. Back then Democratic attorney and former Hunt administration official Jack Cozart, who was working with the Home and Hospice Care folks, said that if I was going to be making ads attacking his fellow Democrats I’d better register as a lobbyist under N.C.’s new law. That didn’t sit too well with me but the Hospice folks went ahead and registered me out of an abundance of caution. In the end all that got me was a complaint filed against me (by some anonymous Democrat) with the Secretary of State’s Office. After that, another lawyer from another Democratic law firm advised the Hospice folks I should never have registered in the first place because producing an ad wasn’t lobbying.
Anyway, to add insult to injury, this morning my wife opened the newspaper and the first thing she saw was Art saying Bev Perdue’s innocent as a lamb, Richard Morgan’s a scoundrel and I’m a villain.
Art’s unrelenting feud with Richard is now rolling into its eleventh year and most of us, by now, are just plain worn out with it. Art’s obsession with Richard is getting to be a bit like Ahab and the whale.
Without blinking Art spent half a million dollars to defeat Richard in 2006 then, after Art’s candidate won, as soon as the fellow got to the legislature he got himself in trouble for making improper sexual advances to a Democratic Legislator; his political career ended a year later after he had a run-in with a tree trunk and was charged with drunk driving.
A year after that Art picked one of his employees at the Locke Foundation to run against Tom Fetzer for State Republican Chairman; that was even more colorful and made history as far as Republican State Chairman’s races go when sexually explicit emails Art’s married candidate had sent to his girlfriend started popping up on the Internet. Then just when we all figured we’d seen politics at its worse some anonymous gremlin supporting Art Pope’s candidate sent out emails saying Fetzer was gay.
I guess we Republicans haven’t had any entertainment (or made fools of ourselves) for a while so now Art is defending Bev Perdue saying she’s not guilty of ‘pay to play’ and blasting away at Richard Morgan again.
And, all in all, this is one pretty strange turn of events in Republican politics.
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