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The Left’s Talking Points & Strategy


In case you thought “talking points” was just a catch-phrase… it’s not.

But rarely does the public get a peek behind the political veil like we’re getting now. In a 38-page memo leaked to the media, North Carolina progressives lay out the poll-tested line of attack against their Republican opponents.

Read the entire memo here.

First, kudos to Jim Morrill over at the Charlotte Observer for getting this story. My suspicion is that someone on the memo distribution list is not so progressive as to be willing to destroy Gov. Pat McCrory, who enjoyed a lot of support among Democrats in Charlotte during his 14 years as Mayor. The fact that this memo went to Morrill leads me to assume that it came out of the Queen City political circuit.

A quick story about McCrory’s appeal to Democrats…

About six years ago, a Charlotte Democratic activist was telling me how difficult it was educating voters during his door-knocking canvassing effort. He’d urge people to vote for the Democratic candidate for Mayor – NC Rep. Beverly Earle. He started suspecting that Pat McCrory would win easily because he kept hearing the same response: “But I like Pat McCrory. Are you sure he’s not the Democrat?” These were black, female, Democratic voters. (McCrory won re-election easily.)

I have no idea who the source of the memo is, but my hunch is that a few Democrats in the Charlotte area are not too keen to see their own local priorities burn up with  the McCrory effigy.

So, who wrote the memo? Where did it come from? According to WRAL:

According to documents included with the memo and interviews, the strategy outline was produced by Myers Research and Strategic Services for Project New America. It was originally provided to Progress North Carolina, a liberal nonprofit that has aggressively attacked McCrory during the 2012 campaign and his early term in office. Progress North Carolina shared the memo with Blueprint NC, a nonprofit that coordinates the activities of liberal-leaning nonprofits. In turn, Blueprint NC distributed it to its member organizations.

We get the government we deserve

It should be noted, the contents of the memo are certainly not a novel approach to politics. Talking points, messaging, and strategy are vital to the game. Why it’s important, however, is that it should finally dispel the notion that there isn’t a coordinated effort among the NC left to ridicule and personally attack GOP lawmakers in an effort to undermine their ability to govern. It will continue as long as it works.

And it has worked for a long time.

Over the past five years, anyone on the Right who has mentioned the name Saul Alinksy has been mocked. (Bill Mahr did a particularly profane and anti-intellectual bit.)

But the famous community organizer’s “Power Theory” is on full display at the national level. President Obama, after all, taught the Power Theory in Chicago.

From Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”:

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Thou doth protest too much

It should also be clear that Democratic criticism of the GOP in Washington for being  obstructionist is hollow.  Both parties play the same game. From the memo:

Policy wins for the political left, the memo said, would likely be defined as “mitigating” legislation, rather than pushing their own agenda items.

“The most effective way to mitigate the worst legislation is to weaken our opponents’ ability to govern by crippling their leaders (McCrory, Tillis, Berger, etc…)” the memo reads, referring to the governor, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

The memo goes on to describe a “potential two-year vision” during which the groups would “eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”

Obstructionism as a tactic?! You don’t say. Shocking.

Besides the close relationships between the NC Democratic Party and various progressive non-partisan groups, there is another angle to this story. Namely, the relationship between the Blueprint group and the media. Specifically, WRAL.

According to the conservative think tank, Civitas:

The WRAL reporter left out the very deep connections WRAL has with BlueprintNC through its owner Jim Goodmon, donations and former employees. The AJ Fletcher Foundation has given $35,000 to BlueprintNC and $380,000 to the NC Justice Center which initially housed BlueprintNC when it was formed (the foundations 990 IRS reports are not current so there may be more). The Goodmon family which owns WRAL has 4 family members on the board of the Fletcher Foundation including Barbara the President and Jim the chairman of the board. The Executive Director was formerly the head of the NC center for Voter Education, one of the original members of BlueprintNC. In addition Chris Fitzsimon, former WRAL reporter,  is head of the liberal NC Policy Watch, the original lead attack group in the Blueprint coalition. Fitzsimon is also provided free airtime on Goodmon owned WRAL-FM from which he launches daily attacks on political opponents. The Fletcher Foundation has been a long time funder of Policy Watch is now housed in the Justice Center.

Wral is also actually doing one of the items in the strategy memo. The memo on page 3 calls for tracking McCrory “Campaign Promises” and “slam him when he contradicts his promise.” WRAL appears to have taken that for action by launching their “Promise Tracker”, complete with cute little ”Skull & Crossbones” symbols.

One of the greatest smirkers of the memo, though, has little to do with politics at all. There was a disclaimer from Blueprint NC’s Communications Director, Stephanie Bass, reminding readers that the document is “CONFIDENTIAL to Blueprint, so please be careful – share with your boards and appropriate staff, but not the whole world.”


Check out Carolina Plott Hound for statewide coverage and links!


Pete Kaliner hosts the 3-6 p.m. drive-time slot on Asheville’s WWNC Radio. Visit his blog and listen live.

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