On July 16, 2013, the Republican party of North Carolina and the Moccasin Creek Minutemen hosted a rally to respond to the ongoing Moral Monday protests, and, to thank Republican lawmakers for many of the same policies that Moral Monday participants gather to criticize.
North Carolina residents who attended the "Thankful Tuesday" rally told us they did so to show that there is public support for the NC Republican party's legislative agenda. All seemed concerned and frustrated by the narrative of sustained public outcry over the past 3 months led by the Moral Monday movement. Although some in the conservative community warned that a rally in response to Moral Monday could backfire, organizers went forward with the event, which they said they put together in only a week. Dozens of lawmakers and lobbyists attended, many of them taking the stage to address a crowd of over 100.
We were glad to be able to document a new speech by Glen Bradley, a "Ron Paul Republican" whom Story of America first interviewed back in January. Bradley served one term in the North Carolina House before being gerrymandered out of office, he says, by fellow Republicans who felt he did not stay sufficiently on script.
The topics of Bradley's speech did indeed diverge from the slate of issues put forth by Americans for Prosperity and Right to Life lobbyists, and by Bradley's former colleagues in the General Assembly. He was introduced with an interesting quip that revealed the fact that North Carolina Republican party had to be consulted for permission before Bradley was invited to speak.
This video contains excerpts from remarks by Dallas Woodhouse of the anti-tax lobbying institution, Americans for Prosperity, and by Barbara Holt, president of North Carolina Right to Life:
Woodhouse used a football analogy to argue that the existing tax code, as well as environmental laws and safety regulations that limit the profits of corporations in North Carolina, were a losing playbook to be blamed on Democrats. The new playbook being pursued by the Republican party, he said, would put North Carolina "back in the game" by lowering taxes and weakening regulations.
Holt focused on a host of new abortion restrictions, which she said had never been possible until this group of lawmakers were elected in the last two cycles.
This video includes the opening prayer as well as remarks by North Carolina's Republican Party Chairman, Claude Pope. Pope is the cousin of Art Pope, who was appointed this year by Governor McCrory as the state budget director. Art Pope is controversial because he is NC GOP's largest donor and often compared unfavorably by his critics as NC's own Koch Brothers. That is, he uses his enormous wealth to influence policies through direct campaign donations, think tank Civitas, lobbying groups and pacs.
Incidentally, Claude Pope defeated Glen Bradley in the race for NC Republican Party chairman earlier this year — a race that Bradley told us was unduly influenced by infamous GOP operative Karl Rove.
This video contains speeches by elected officials including Sen. Bob Rucho and Sen. Bill Rabon, both of whom Story of America has interviewed in the past. Rucho and Rabon are architects of the tax reform package that recently passed the North Carolina Senate.
Interestingly, Rucho told us in a previously recorded interview that he resigned as Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee when tax reform measures did not go as far as he would have like them to go. Rabon told us in an as-yet-unpublished interview that he had not accepted Rucho's resignation, and hoped he would change his mind. Rucho's appearance on stage with Rabon endorsing the tax reform plan, as well as his remarks in which he identifies himself as Senate Finance co-chair, signify a mending of ways.
NOTE: In our first interview with Glen Bradley, recorded on Jan. 9, 2013 at the similarly-themed "Honor the Oath" rally, he was openly critical of race-based gerrymandering in North Carolina:
Makes me so proud to be an old fart.(not)