The war of ideas is alive and well. In North Carolina, it’s taken a vicious turn,with progressives targeting the state’s Republican leadership and Governor Pat McCrory, who was elected in 2012. Spearheading this effort is a 501 (c)(3) group known as Blueprint NC, which, according to their website:
is a partnership of public policy, advocacy, and grassroots organizing nonprofits dedicated to achieving a better, fairer, healthier North Carolina through the development of an integrated communications and civic engagement strategy. Ultimately, Blueprint aims to influence state policy in NC so that residents of the state benefit from more progressive policies such as better access to health care, higher wages, more affordable housing, a safer, cleaner environment, and access to reproductive health services.
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.
An electronic version of the memo appears to contain at least three separate documents. One is an email from outgoing Blueprint NC Communications Director Stephanie Bass describing the material and emphasizing that it is “CONFIDENTIAL to Blueprint, so please be careful – share with your boards and appropriate staff, but not the whole world.”
Sean Kosofsky, Blueprint NC’s director, said his group did not pay for or commission the research. “We were just forwarding it on,” he said.
The second document is a “talking points memo” that outlines strategies for progressive groups. 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.” The bulk of the document is a poll memo that talks about how to frame opposition to conservative tax and education policies. The survey was conducted between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2.
Given how progressives handled Americans for Prosperity rallying in support of Michigan’s Right-to-Work legislation last December, I think we can all imagine what “crippling their leaders” means for this cadre of left-wingers. Conservative nonprofit groups also draft memos outlining political strategy, but seldom does it contain explicit orders to go after someone personally. However, another interesting development, with the leaking of this memo, centers on WRAL itself.
The Civitas Institute, a conservative organization operating within North Carolina, posted on their blog yesterday that Binker left out key facts in his piece about BluePrint, namely that the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, another civic engagement nonprofit in the state, gave the progressive group $35,000. Additionally, the Foundation gave:
$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.
Then again, how could this group operate surreptitiously – and methodically – in planning to bring North Carolina’s Republican leadership to its knees? As LaborUnionReport wrote about Blueprint on RedState, the organization likes to keep a low profile.
Blueprint has been created as a strategic initiative – focused on creating collaborative change and not focused on a public identity beyond our partners. Blueprint does not seek recognition for itself, but prefers that its partners be recognized for the good work that they do. [Emphasis added.]
Also, Blueprint’s allies seem to be the depraved spawn of ACORN.
In 2010, Blueprint NC’s “partners” were identified by the Civitas Institute which revealed a conglomeration of national and state “progressive” organizations—including the AFL-CIO’s A. Philip Randolph Institute, as well as the anti-life group NARAL.
In fact, Blueprint NC’s Director, Sean Kosofsky, is a NARAL alum, according to this bio:
Sean Kosofsky is currently the Director of Blueprint North Carolina. He is the former Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice NC, and has been an active visible LGBT leader since 1994. He was the Director of Poliyc for 12 years for Michigan’s leading LGBT rights organization, Triangle Foundation.
Blueprint NC also appears to be very well funded. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, which was established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest son of the founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, gave Blueprint NC $850,000 for “general operating support” in 2010.
The [Z. Smith Reynolds] Foundation is apparently still giving Blueprint NC money—to the sum of $400,000, according to a report in Friday’s [Charlotte] Observer. However, due to the light being shined on Blueprint NC’s strategy (and, consequently, the[ Z. Smith Reynolds] Foundation), that support may now be in jeopardy.
Nevertheless, the strategy detailed in this memo could easily be executed in other states by affiliates of BluePrint – which is probably their plan. The ‘Obamafication’ of the Democratic Party, and the liberal movement in general, has led to a progressive crusade to forcefully drag our nation to the far left. Conservatives, at present, seem to be incognizant of the ramifications of this highly-coordinated campaign, and don’t seem to be in rapid response mode in countering this liberal grassroots operation.
The progressive left has all the advantages in digital strategy, voter targeting, and youth outreach. Republicans are dreadfully behind the curve in this technological front that is critical in turning the tide against the liberal leviathan that has been unleashed against us. In the meantime, Civitas is holding their leadership conference on March 1, and I hope the various panels discuss BluePrint and this memo in order to fight back.
Excerpts of the memo are below. Full memo at the bottom of the page.