#NCSEN #NCGA: A North Carolina conservative maverick rides again

jrI first heard about John Rhodes in 2003 while he was serving in the North Carolina House.  He was raising questions about the ethics of Democrat House speaker Jim Black and his Republican co-conspirator co-speaker Richard Morgan.  I was involved in Moore County in an insurgent effort to end Richard Morgan’s political career via a primary.

Rhodes was demanding transparency in House operations — an effort that won him praise from an unlikely source (for a conservative), The Charlotte Observer.  Black, Morgan and the rest of the political establishment in Raleigh came after Rhodes with a vengeance.  Rhodes had his legislative aide taken away from him.  His attempts to speak on the House floor were shut down by Black and Morgan whenever they presided over the chamber.

(One House insider passed on a great story illustrating this.  Rhodes was on the floor trying to speak as part of a debate.  Morgan was presiding from the chair.  Morgan asked “Is there anyone else seeking to speak on this matter?”  Rhodes stood, but Morgan ignored him.  Rhodes stood on his desk and waved his arms — trying to get Morgan’s attention.  Morgan still ignored him, saying: “Seeing no other speakers, the debate has ended and the question is called.”)

thom sighIn 2004, Morgan, Black & co. tried to find a primary for Rhodes.  That effort failed.  In 2006, they found one.  Former Cornelius town commissioner Thom Tillis filed to challenge Rhodes in the primary.  One of Tillis’ primary pieces of ammo against Rhodes in the primary was that Rhodes was “ineffective.”  The charge originated from the findings of an annual survey by The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.  NCPPR regularly surveys lobbyists on which legislators they think are most “effective.” It’s a popularity contest.  The most senior members of the majority party tends to be ranked as the most effective. Rhodes and his conservative comrade-in-arms — John Blust (R-Guilford) — regularly ended up ranked 119 and 120 out of 120 House members.  The lobbyists didn’t like Rhodes.  And that — in the eyes of Theam Tillis — was a bad thing. 

Rhodes was defeated by Tillis in 2006.  He left the House — as well as politics and the GOP — in 2007.  He re-registered as unaffiliated and spent time building up his real estate business in Mecklenburg County.

As Rhodes left  Raleigh, the targets of his criticism were getting their just desserts.  Richard Morgan lost his primary.  Jim Black left office and got indicted and convicted in federal court.  The establishment bent over backwards to pin the “kook” label on Rhodes.  The problem with that?  Rhodes was proven to be 100 percent RIGHT.

Rhodes took down TWO House speakers in 2006-2007.  In 2014, he has stepped back into the limelight to bring down ONE MORE.  On Friday, Rhodes held a press conference where he called on Thom Tillis to resign as speaker and suspend his US Senate campaign.  The reason?  Rhodes is formally requesting the Attorney General’s office initiate an inquiry into the Tillis-overseen appointments to the UNC Board of Governors.  Some emails and news reports at the time of the appointment process suggest a possible pay-to-play arrangement.

Establishment types and Tillis supporters were quick to brand Rhodes’ re-emergence as “sour grapes” resulting from an eight year long grudge.   Rhodes stayed quiet for eight years — allowing Tillis to make his mark in the legislative district and on Jones Street.

Rhodes notes that he is now registered unaffiliated, is not involved in any political campaigns, and has no future political ambitions.  The public information on the UNC appointments is pretty troubling.  It is my understanding that Tillis made the Republican caucus re-vote when one of his choices — a big campaign contributor — did not get elected.  It’s worth getting some clarification on.

In an era where the mainstream media takes dictation and asks NO tough questions, having someone like John Rhodes back in action, telling it like it is, is very welcome.  Eight years ago, Rhodes was right on the money.  Let’s see where his current efforts take us.  



8 thoughts on “#NCSEN #NCGA: A North Carolina conservative maverick rides again

  1. The way Tilli$ ran his first campaign shows that he has been lobbyist friendly and taxpayer unfriendly from the first time he slithered into politics. The NC Center for Public Policy Research is a leftwing outfit whose ”effectiveness rating” was always a big fraud that was rigged from a partisan and ideological standpoint. By using that as the litmus test, Tilli$ showed that he followed their big government concepts.

    During the time Jack Hawke was state GOP chairman, the state GOP Central Committee unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the NCCPPR ”effectiveness rating” as a partisan fraud. Yet Tilli$ held up that rating to represent where he wanted to go politically and what he disagreed agreed with John Rhodes on.

    The NCCPPR rating is done by a popularity contest with three groups voting – the special interest lobbyists, the liberal press corps, and politicians themselves, and that is how they rigged the rating, as the first two groups, back in those days, and still largely even today, are Democrat and liberal. Legislators who stand up for principle and for their constituents rather than doing what the special interest lobbyists want them to do, are never popular with those lobbyists. Conservatives and Republicans are never popular with the liberal media types.

    Tilli$ immediately signalled by using this phony rating as his measuring stick that he wanted to get in thick with the lobbyists and that is exactly what he has done ever since he has been in the legislature.

    I remember when former State Rep. Steve Arnold (R-Guilford), another good conservative, was ranked low on this NCCPPR rating and immediately launched an ad campaign crowing about his rating, saying that he went to Raleigh to represent the citizens and taxpayers, not the special interest lobbyists, liberal media elite, and smoke filled room politicians and was proud that this poll of these latter groups showed that he was one of the least popular legislators with them.

    This all just goes to show why I like to call Tilli$ a rent boy for the $pecial interest$. While he does not perform sexual favors for them, he prostitutes himself to them just as disgustingly by performing legislative favors. Tillis would not know a political principle if one jumped up and bit him. His goal is to make himself the best politician that special interest money can buy.

  2. Quoting from above:

    “Rhodes took down TWO House speakers in 2006-2007.”

    Heavens to Betsy, this is one powerful man. It is a shame he did not run against Tillis during these past 6 years! He could have defeated Tillis and Tillis would not be running for US Senate. Why has he waited so long to bring down Tillis? He should have stopped Tillis in the next election.

    Rhodes is a giant killer. Why isn’t he running for Senate? Or President in 2016?

    I think Rhodes is North Carolina’s next great conservative leader.

    1. Even before his press conference, I had been hearing some say that Rhodes was the name to write in on a general election ballot if misfortune befalls the party and we are stuck with progressive Tilli$ as our nominee. That would more effectively send a message about the disgusting lack of choice that such a ballot would present than just leaving that race blank.

    2. John “The Baptist”, had to be beheaded before the truth of the Gospel could get traction throughout the world. It was part of the story.
      Perhaps John, “The Maverick” Rhodes had to be defeated and him go away for a while in the political wilderness to give the people a chance to figure it out for themselves. Those scenarios played out over the course of the last few years for the truth to get traction and set the stage for the better future. Sometimes it takes a little while for the message of the truth to take hold but people have to see it for themselves.

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