One plot line unfolding in Raleigh right now is some combination of the ol’ bait-and-switch and the country bumpkin in the big city. The bumpkins are the rural legislators, many in their first or second terms, and they are getting scammed by the city slickers in the form of Art Pope, Pat McCrory and Thom Tillis.

The story goes like this: The bumpkins arrived in Raleigh as ideological warriors with a host of imaginary villains. They’re here to protect their constituents and the state from being taken over by the gays, “illegals,” Islamic terrorists  and welfare queens that are stealing our hard earned tax dollars and subverting our culture. Vengeance, not compassion, is the order of the day.

McCrory and company have arrived with another type of ideological zeal: free-market economics. They are here to change the way government works by introducing competition, privatization and doing away with pesky regulations. They will eliminate wasteful spending on things like economic development and let economic Darwinism run its course.

The McCrory-Tillis-Pope crowd holds the real power but they’re willing to tolerate a certain amount of crazy in exchange for support for their free-market ideals. That said, the urban leaders will try to reign in the bumpkins if the taint of lunacy threatens to rub off on them. Hence, the end of the bill to subvert the first amendment.

Unfortunately, the bumpkins are in such a lather, they’ve missed the fact that their counties and their constituents are going to suffer most under these free-marketeers. In eliminating funding to rural-based trust funds like the Golden Leaf Foundation and slashing money to the N. C. Rural Center, McCrory and company are stripping away some of the only money and investments flowing to our rural counties. In their survival-of-the-fittest model, the counties closest to the I-85/I-40 corridor will thrive while those in the hinterlands will go the way of the horse-and-buggy. No worries, though, we’ll punish all those illegals, freeloaders and social deviants.

McCrory and company are playing the rural legislators for fools and those legislators seem to be embracing the role. See you at the finish line, suckers!

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