The Follies

The Follies

- in Fitzsimon File

The screech to the right

The North Carolina Republican Party was so impressed by unsuccessful Congressional candidate Doug Hoffman that he is coming to Raleigh to appear at a GOP fundraiser.

That would be the Tea Party activist Doug Hoffman that was recruited as a candidate to enter a special Congressional election in upstate New York because the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs did not think the local Republican candidate, popular state legislator Dede Scozzafava, was conservative enough.

The Club for Growth poured a million dollars into the campaign to help Hoffman and Sarah Palin and Minnesota Governor and presidential wannabe Tim Pawlenty appeared on his behalf.   Scozzafava was called a socialist and worse. A column in the National Review called her amoral, underhanded, unprincipled and a craven creature."

She finally had enough and withdrew from the race, leaving Hoffman, who doesn't even live in the district, and Democrat Bill Owens to vie for a seat that has been held by a Republican since the Civil War. For his part, Hoffman called Glenn Beck a mentor and objected to questions about local issues when he met with editorial boards of newspapers in the area.

Limbaugh and others predicted a great victory for Hoffman Tuesday that would crush the moderate wing of the Republican Party

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Right-wing ball. The voters of New York's 23rd Congressional District rejected Rush and his crowd and elected Democrat Bill Owens.

Hoffman is now on the speaking circuit and Tom Fetzer couldn't be more excited, saying Hoffman was inspiring and that he personally supported his campaign.

That ought to clear things up for folks unsure about the state party's direction. Wonder if Fetzer considers Glenn Beck his mentor too or just supports candidates who do.

Come to think of it, since it didn't seem to bother Fetzer or other folks on the right that Hoffman didn't even live in the congressional district he was trying to represent, maybe he could run for Congress from North Carolina and "inspire" more people here. You betcha.

The ultimate insider

Here's something you see much in this space. Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger is right. Berger is calling on State Board of Transportation member Lanny Wilson to refrain from participating in any board activities while state and federal investigations of campaign finance transactions and land deals of former Governor Mike Easley continue.

Wilson is a long time big donor to Democratic politicians and testified last week before the State Board of Elections that he wrote checks to the Democratic Party that he wanted to help Easley's campaign and that he gave his fiancée money so she could contribute. Both are violations of campaign finance laws.

Wilson surely ought to know better. Since 2000l, he has contributed $221,000 to political campaigns, including $17,000 to Governor Beverly Perdue's campaigns, $38,000 to Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, and $49,000 to the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Wilson should take a pause in his DOT board duties while all this is investigated. The real question is why wealthy donors like Wilson are still appointed to the DOT in the first place.

Name-change in order?

Editor's Note: Several readers have objected to Follies calling the group Americans for Prosperity by the more accurate name, Americans for the Prosperous. The Follies staff is listening and now considering using the group's actual name with a small addition, maybe "Americans for Prosperity For the Few."

About the author

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.