So you think you know Mumpower?

Editor’s note: News reporting inevitably involves many judgment calls. Typically, the quest for balanced reporting would call for including comments by Carl Mumpower’s critics as well as his friends and supporters. But those critics have been vocal and their concerns widely reported, both in this paper and elsewhere. Rather than repeating them here, we have opted for something different: an up-close-and-personal look at a man who is perhaps better known in the abstract than in the particular.

Click the image above to view a slideshow by Jason Sandford.

In recent years, Carl Mumpower has been—by his own choice—one of Asheville’s most controversial public figures. From his seat on City Council, where he serves as the self-designated “lone conservative” amid what he sees as a nest of progressives and “Socialists,” Mumpower has willingly provided no shortage of well-publicized fodder for his political and ideological enemies on issues ranging from drugs to illegal immigration to moral and personal responsibility. (See sidebar, “The Gospel According to Mumpower.”)

And those enemies aren’t solely on the left: Mumpower is an equal-opportunity scold who has frequently ticked off members of his own Republican Party by decrying their profligate ways, calling for the impeachment of President Bush and openly despising the neocons who he says run Washington.

Meanwhile, his current, seemingly quixotic run for Congress against incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler has only raised the stakes.

Yet friend or foe, most know Mumpower only through media reports, cartoons and caricatures—as well as his own guerilla-style political theater.

But just who is this man whose supporters say is unjustly maligned and misunderstood—and who manages, by turns, to both repel and fascinate his constituents?

This story represents an attempt to answer that question. Over a 24-hour period in late August, this reporter traveled with, talked intimately with—and, yes, even shared cramped sleeping quarters with Mumpower (in an area of Madison County called “Sodom,” no less).

“I wish I knew him better,” said Donna Forga, chair of the Haywood County Republican Party, after Mumpower spoke to the party faithful at an Aug. 23 picnic at Lake Junaluska. “I want to know who he is as a person. How did he get to where he is now? And what has he done in his life that makes him like every other person that’s been sitting here listening to him today?”

Born under a bad sign

Ralph Carl Mumpower III was born in London, England, on Dec. 4, 1952, to Ralph Carl Mumpower Jr., a sailor in the the U.S. Navy, and Joy Mumpower, an English homemaker. It was a particularly bad day to come into the world.

While Joy was giving birth, a freak climate event—later dubbed “The Great Smog” and “The Black Fog”—was unfolding in London. As a cold fog descended, residents began burning more coal than usual. The resulting pollution was trapped by the dense mass of cold air, and concentrations of toxic substances spiked dramatically. Within days, more than 4,000 people died of sulfur-dioxide poisoning. In the weeks that followed, another 8,000 perished.

“My father has passed, but he used to talk about that night,” Mumpower recalls. “It was the foggiest day in London’s history, according to him. He rode on the hood of a jeep with a buddy as they tried to get to the hospital. They ended up driving through a fence into a field and getting lost. I hadn’t thought about this since I was a boy.”

The letting go

If Mumpower’s birth was marked by death, his childhood wasn’t much brighter. Riding in his Lexus SUV on a brilliant, late-summer afternoon en route to a campaign event in Haywood County, Mumpower remarks that his upbringing was less than ideal.

After moving to the United States, his parents split up when Mumpower was about 3; due to his mother’s mental state, says Mumpower, his father was given custody, a rarity in those days. They moved often—to Philadelphia, Mobile, Ala., Buncombe County and points in between—and Mumpower lived in several locations in the Buncombe County during his school years. As a small child, he even spent awhile in a local “detention center,” as he calls it, because his father was still a sailor and unable to take care of him.

Mumpower senior, the rebellious son of a Baptist preacher who grew up in Yancey County, was “a wild child,” his son says. Joy Mumpower suffered a breakdown, and after the divorce, contact with her was sporadic at best. She died of cancer in Mobile in 2000.

“I never had much of a relationship with her,” says Mumpower. “I maybe saw her 10 times in my lifetime. … She was brought up in England during the Blitz. I don’t know if that’s what did it, but she said that had a lot of effect on her. She was maybe 11 or 12 during the war and all the bombings. She just had trouble; she couldn’t quite get her feet under her. She was a real beautiful lady, but she was very emotional.

“So she just let us go. … She just gave up on us.

“My father was a troubled guy, too,” adds Mumpower. “He was the classic minister’s son: He drank a lot; he was a partyer and a gambler and a womanizer. He was just a wild child … until the day he died. … He wasn’t the best role model.”

On the campaign trail

Betty Budd, who’s piloting the official campaign vehicle this day—a red 1988 Toyota pickup featuring a massive “Mumpower for Congress” sign—leads the way to the picnic at Lake Junaluska, where the candidate is slated to speak. A retiree, she gladly works for his congressional campaign without pay.

More than 70 people have gathered for barbecue and politicking by Mumpower and a handful of other pols. The all-white crowd is middle-aged to elderly and almost entirely middle-class working folk—no stereotypical Republican fat cats here, notes Forga. Although Haywood County is Democratic territory, this is a Mumpower kind of crowd.

Gussie Gammon, a co-founder of the local party organization and an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention, says she admires Mumpower for sticking to his principles, even when it’s not politically astute to do so.

“I invited him to our Republican women’s meeting,” says Gammon, recalling the first time she met him. “He came and spoke, and everyone fell in love with him. He’s so sincere, and he thinks like I think, too.”

“People don’t know him; they really don’t,” Budd puts in. “They see him sitting at City Council, reading his notes, wearing his dark suit and his tie. I think they see him as kind of a stiff person, but he’s not like that at all. He does all sorts of things for other people in the community and really cares about people.

“I knew him from City Council,” she continues. “He was the liaison person to [two boards] I was appointed to. … I watched him on City Council, and I think he’s right on almost every vote. He’s got a tough row to hoe, because people in Asheville are not conservative basically. He just represents good, solid principles that make this a great country.”

When his son, Matt, was arrested recently following an altercation in an Asheville bar and restaurant, Mumpower quickly fired him from the campaign. “The thing with Matt has been very sad,” says Mumpower. “I was disappointed; hurt. He’d been cautioned numerous times about the vulnerabilities that go with a situation like this. But he’s accountable for his behavior: That’s not the kind of behavior that ought to be going on. I’ll take the heat, and he’ll take the responsibility.”

Such principles aside, adds Budd, “Carl is also into empowering people to be their best. I asked him once, ‘How are you ever going to be a politician? You have to bring home gifts.’ And Carl said, ‘Oh, I’ll bring home gifts—I’ll let people keep their money.’”

Over the course of the evening, the various other candidates deliver red-meat, Republican boilerplate. But when Mumpower steps before the crowd, he wastes no time proclaiming that Republicans have lost their way.

“In the Bible it says that those that God loves, He offers correction, too,” Mumpower tells his audience. “It would be my suggestion that the Republican Party in America is receiving a measure of correction, and it will continue until we get the message. The most recent statistics I can find show that 47 percent of the new voter registrants in North Carolina are Democrats. Forty three percent are independents. That means 10 percent are Republicans. During that same period of time, Democrats … have gained a million new voters; we have lost roughly the same number.

“We had a town-hall meeting in Haywood County recently. … There was a young lady who came up to me afterwards who told me, ‘I really liked what you said, but you shouldn’t be a Republican—you should be an independent, because Republicans don’t have a chance anymore.’ I said it will never happen: I am a Republican through and through to my core. I believe the Republican Party is the future of America—but not the Republican Party of power. It is the Republican Party of principle that is responsible and will carry the future of America.

“In a dangerous world, people get more conservative. Why are they leaving the Republican Party? Because they don’t believe us anymore. They believe we are about big government. Government got bigger and people got smaller while we were in control. … The Republican Party in America betrayed our world. I may incense some folks by saying that, but it is the truth. And unless we look at it and rededicate ourselves to what we are really supposed to be about, I believe the Lord will continue to correct us to the detriment of our country, our children and our grandchildren.

“That’s not what I’m about.”

The Little Flower

Mumpower has been up since 4:30 a.m., and his energy is flagging. But he seems to perk up as he nears his 40-acre Madison County retreat, which he bought in 1995. We’re in Sodom, once a haven for liquor, gambling, wife-swapping and other activities that gave it its name.

Pulling up to an old poplar-wood cabin, Mumpower is greeted affectionately by a massive white mutt named Ayatollah that belongs to his best friends, Vince and Sue Vilcinskas, who live across the narrow, two-laned road.

Mumpower’s public demeanor is staid, but he comes alive in the presence of animals, slipping into baby talk with the dog and with his pet cat, Socko. He delights in pointing out glow worms in one of the dozen or so ponds on the property, a banded water snake mesmerized by his flashlight, and the big goldfish he’s stocked in one of the ponds.

The real centerpiece of the property, however, is not the ponds or the charming, rustic little cabin but the Church of the Little Flower, an abandoned 1930s Catholic church that Mumpower has had restored. In keeping with traditional Catholic practice, he leaves it open at all times for use by whoever comes along, and he proudly gives a tour.

“The Little Flower,” he explains, is Saint Theresa. “She was pure love. She was so loving, a person could just walk in her room and feel her love. That’s not a bad person to have your church named for.”

Inside are eight pews, the stations of the cross along the stuccoed walls, and the iconography and Jesus and Virgin Mary statues typical of pre-Vatican II churches. But the highlight is a cross blessed by Pope John Paul II.

Although Mumpower keeps the church in shape, its was actually restored by a family of survivalists who’d moved to the mountains in 2000 in anticipation of the end of the world.

“I was walking in the snow, and I came across this old car that looked like it had been abandoned,” Mumpower recalls. “I knew there was an old cabin up a ways, so I walked up to see what was going on, and there was a man and a woman and two children and they were in pretty rough shape. We got to talking with them and befriended them, and one thing led to another, and I think they needed the money and I wanted the church restored, so it worked out.”

Mumpower says he’d originally planned to turn the structure into family living quarters, “but this is the way it should be.

“Somebody spread the rumor that the reason I didn’t make a house out of it was because my grandfather was a Baptist minister and he thought it would be wrong,” notes Mumpower. “In truth, he thought that Catholic folks were sinners and were doomed; he had no use for the Catholic faith. He was a sweet man, but he just thought that their doctrine was really wrong and harmful. So he didn’t like the church; he didn’t want to preserve it. He would have bulldozed it. I preserved it because, as I spent time [here] and talked to people, I got to realize how important it had been to the community, how many people were raised in this church and how much history it had, having been built in 1931—and it was just better off as a church than my house.”

The heart of the matter

Although Mumpower does plan to build a house on his property one day, right now there’s just the cabin. Inside there’s a small bed, a table and chairs, and the typical accouterments: candles, a long gun, tools and work duds. There’s also a smattering of books: history, a men’s devotional and the Complete Kama Sutra, among others.

Rarely seen without a suit and tie, Mumpower has changed into jeans and a T-shirt. “Take your pick,” he says, gesturing toward nearly a dozen expensive cigars on the table. A man of few vices, cigars are one of Mumpower’s guilty pleasures, and one of his favorite things to do up here is pull out an Adirondack chair and puff away beneath the brilliant canopy of stars.

“Look at the Milky Way,” he exclaims, finally relaxing. (He mentions later he believes he has seen a UFO from this spot.) “Man, it’s really beautiful up here on a night like tonight.”

Talk of his love of cigars begs the question: What other vices does Mumpower enjoy?

“I’ve strayed in ways, but I do pretty good,” replies Mumpower, a religious man who says he strives to adhere to strict values. Baptized only about five years ago despite being raised Baptist, he now belongs to the First Baptist Church of Asheville, which he says is a little too liberal for his taste. But if he had to pick a vice, he says finally, it would be blackjack.

“I love blackjack,” Mumpower declares, noting that he once won $3,700 at the tables. “I’m good at it; I’ve won money at it. I miss it. If I gave over to my dark side, I’d be living in Las Vegas working as a dealer, spending my salary playing blackjack.”

And though he strives to be a devout man, Mumpower acknowledges that his life has had its twists and turns. The father of two grown children, Matt and Kristen, and two grandchildren, Mumpower has been married four times to three women. His current wife, Lisa—a nurse at Mission Hospitals—is the love of his life, though they divorced shortly after they first married. The breakup came after Matt, then a preteen, moved in with his father. “That was pretty tough on her,” he says. But they remarried about five years ago, and Mumpower says things couldn’t be better. “I’m so glad we got back together. She’s a very special lady.”

He’s written four books: one on marriage, another on divorce, plus a therapy text and one about the Vietnam experience. A psychologist whose practice deals largely with couples and children, Mumpower says his own father wasn’t exactly a good role model for marriage.

“My father was married four times,” he reports. “I wasn’t given the best value system as far as women were concerned. Like a lot of people of my generation, I was brought up to think that relationships were disposable. If it made you happy, great; if not, get out of it. I’m grateful, though, because I have a child by each of my first two wives, and I have no regrets. I’m grateful for those two ladies and the children I have in my life.

“I think ladies need to be cherished, and I don’t think, as guys, we’re taught that. There’s a reason we have a lot of angry ladies in our culture: It’s terrible what our culture is doing to women. … I believe that when you cherish the woman you’re with, special things happen. It’s taken me a while to figure all that out.

“And Vietnam played a real part in that, too,” he notes. Vietnam was a transformative experience for Mumpower. After graduating from Owen High School in 1970, he enlisted in the Air Force, serving a tour in Vietnam and earning the rank of sergeant.

“I was 18 when I got to Vietnam, and all my friends were doing heroin, popping speed and smoking dope, and I liked drinking beer and chasing Vietnamese ladies,” he says. “Vietnam just didn’t get me off to the best start on the whole relationship thing. … You know what Italian women say? They say a man isn’t worth a damn until he’s 50. They may have something there. I’m 55.”

During his war stint, Mumpower says he worked as an intelligence-operations specialist and cross-trained as a medic. “The first place I was at was Saigon, and the greatest danger there was those Vietnamese girls I was fooling with, which I still have cherished memories of. I still remember this Chinese girl in Saigon. I’ll never forget the tenderness, the gift of tenderness she gave—and I’m not talking sexuality. But she was a gift, because Saigon was a pretty insane place at that time.”

Nonetheless, Mumpower says he wanted to experience everything he possibly could about the war.

“I bribed a clerk to get closer to the war,” he recalls. “I bought him a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black.” That won the young Mumpower duty in spotter planes in the war zone throughout the country, he says, and led to things like tagging along with Army Rangers and Navy SEALS and working as a Medical Civic Action Program medic.

“I saw a lot of waste, a lot of bad things,” he says, his voice trailing off. “I sort of questioned some of that. I never got into any trouble … but I guess you could say I was a hippie soldier in a way. I smoked some Thai stick one time that had some kind of hallucinogenic in it. I really wasn’t much into drugs, but I had a couple of my hooch mates that were heroin addicts. I was really more into the experience over there than getting high. I could probably count the times I smoked dope on one hand … OK, maybe two hands. I took some speed a couple times. Took some kind of hallucinogenic one time.

“I smoked heroin one time,” he adds. “You wouldn’t inject it, it was so pure. But I didn’t get anything from that. The first thing you do is vomit; I never saw anything to that.

“I wanted to get into everything I could get into, any opportunity to experience the war,” he continues. “I got some unique exposures, nothing too exotic. But I liked the intensity of it. I liked helicopters. It was scary to be shot at, but it was exhilarating. You could say I got into that a little bit.”

Back stateside, he started school, earning a master’s in counseling from Western Carolina University in 1975, a master’s in social work from the University of Georgia in 1976 and, in 1985, a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Union Institute, a distance-learning school in Ohio.

But the transition from warrior to civilian wasn’t easy. “What I think I lost was my adolescence,” he observes. “I was so much older than the people I went to school with. It took the fun out of my life; it made me too serious. It made me afraid. It made me afraid for the country … anxious about things. I didn’t have much trust of people anymore, or the system. It was bad over there. It didn’t make me antiwar, but it made me anti bad war, just like now. We lost 57,000 troops there—that’s a lot of people—and all those people didn’t need to die. There’s lots of things we should have done differently.”

Still, he missed the intensity war afforded. “It made me an adrenalin junkie,” says Mumpower. “When I got back over here, I’d go scuba diving; I’d go spearfishing at night by myself off Fort Walton, [Fla.], which is kind of like the shark-fishing capital of the world. I’d go cave diving. I did all types of things just trying to get that intensity back into my life.”

Like a brother

After a fitful night of sleep punctuated by his worries about leaving Lisa home alone (the Mumpowers ocasionally receive “indirect threats” concerning his controversial and provocative political doings, he confides)—not to mention the incessant snoring of the reporter sleeping on the floor (which makes him the butt of jokes and good-natured ribbing the entire next day)—Mumpower gives a quick tour of his property the next morning, including a visit to his dad’s grave (he died in 2000, stung to death by the bees father and son tended on the property).

After that, Mumpower heads across the road to join his best friends, the Vilcinskas, for coffee and lighthearted fellowship.

Few people know Mumpower better or love him more than Vince and Sue, he says. Yet no couple seems less likely to have so fervently befriended the man, given their own political leanings. Vince, a gregarious Pittsburgh native of Ukrainian descent, and Sue, his sweet-but-feisty wife who was born and raised in these mountains, are self-described left-leaning Democrats. Vince’s pickup sports contrasting Obama and Mumpower bumper stickers; Sue chairs the Madison County Democratic Party.

But while Sue visits on the porch with James, a close family friend who’s getting ready to ship off again for Iraq, Vince and Mumpower share a firm and brotherly embrace.

“We just love him; just different politics,” Sue says with a laugh when interviewed by phone days later. “He’s just a good, decent man, and Vince and I love him. He’s just like our brother.

“We love him because we know he has a good heart, even if we don’t always agree with him … and he does want to make a difference. I guess we see beyond what other people see. I guess there’s more substance there than meets the eye,” she says—adding, however, that she won’t vote for him over Shuler. (Vince says he will vote for his friend despite the political gulf). It’s partly because of her position in the party, Sue explains, and partly her own deeply held politics. But Mumpower, she says, wouldn’t expect her to act any other way: He respects other people’s right to hold a different view and to follow their own convictions.

“I think a lot of people just misunderstand him,” she continues. Mumpower’s restoration of the church—which Sue attended as a child and got married in—is a clue to his character, she believes. “He could have chosen to have done any number of things with it, and it could have turned out differently. But he sensed how much people in the community valued having that church there: It was a center of something special and unique … a spiritual significance, and he saw that. He chose to take his own money and restore that church to as near as what it used to be. Not too many people would have done that.

She also mentions Mumpower’s involvement with kids in public housing. “He takes those kids, goes in the community and does special little things with them: helps them paint, puts their basketball courts up. And then there’s the bus shelters he’s built and paid for all over Asheville. Those kind of things? That’s being a human being; that’s caring about other people. He may do some off-the-wall, crazy things, but I think that’s because he wants to draw attention to the issue at hand, to some injustice.”

If everybody associated only with people with similar beliefs, says Sue, “This would be a really boring world. … We just agree to disagree, because we’re not going to change each other’s mind. We have the freedom to be who we are, and I think that’s what makes our relationship what it is—having that respect and admiration for each other.”

Are there ever any heated political discussions? “Oh, Lord, honey: knockdown-dragout,” she says, laughing.

“We disagree on just about every issue,” Vince chimes in.

“Carl is who he is,” says Vince. “He doesn’t pander to anybody; he’s not wishy-washy. What you see is what you have. He’s a kind, generous, thoughtful person. It’s hard in the political arena, because we’ve gotten to where we can’t separate issues from the person. … Some people can’t see past Obama’s race to see the person. And Carl has done so many kind things, and I’ve seen him in so many situations where he’s always empathetic and nonjudgmental. He puts his energy and wherewithal where his mouth is. He doesn’t just talk it—he lives it.

“But we’ve had issues where I’ve changed his mind,” continues Vince. He once told Mumpower about an Artist of the Year contest he’d heard about in some other city. Such a thing would seem ideal for an artsy town like Asheville, he told Carl.

“He just couldn’t see how that was important,” Vince recalls. “I told him, ‘Well, it may not be important on your radar, but it’s important to a lot of people; it’s part of Asheville’s soul.’ He took that, and it took him many years and many debates, but he finally got that in place. He even offered to bankroll it, he became that passionate about it. But in the beginning he felt it was just such a waste of time and money.

“There’s been several little things like that. People think he’s against public transportation, but I don’t know how many dozens of those bus stops he’s put all around. I’ve seen him come up here just exhausted from a day of building those things. But he takes no credit for that type of stuff. The thing about Carl is, if you can give him things in factual, nonemotional, nonpersonal ways, then he’s very open-minded.”

Like Mumpower, Vince had a tough childhood, raised on welfare and living in public housing. “We probably would have starved if it hadn’t been for free government food,” he says. And though Mumpower is compassionate toward people facing trying circumstances, Vince says his friend believes there’s a right way and a wrong way to improve their lives.

“He didn’t come up easy. But he wants people [to succeed] not through governmental help but by their own wherewithal, their own desire to do better for themselves. That’s the way he came up, and it has worked for him.”

Tough love

The gospel according to Mumpower

by H.L.M.

Love him or hate him, one thing is certain when it comes to Carl Mumpower: The man is endlessly quotable. Here’s just a small sampling of Carl’s greatest hits:
On illegal immigration: “Illegal immigration is the greatest law-breaking scheme in America’s history, and it is past time for our politicians to be more concerned with enforcing the rule of law and protecting America’s borders than shielding their dignity and getting re-elected.

“Our government’s willingness to ignore our porous borders and the harmful impact of the resulting flood of unskilled Hispanics so that we can buy cheap chickens represents a shortsighted policy with dramatic long-term consequences.”
On the recent immigration raid at Mills Manufacturing: “Of course I feel sorry for all of those involved. Just like I feel sorry for drug dealers, Wall Street insider traders, prostitutes, politicians who betray their oath of office, and others who become victims of their own bad decisions. I am not, however, willing to join those who place enabling and appeasement practices before the law and personal accountability.”
On Vietnam and Iraq: “Serving in Vietnam taught me what happens when we walk away from our commitments: We end up swapping hope for assured chaos. Going to war in Iraq was a mistake, but an arrogant rush to war should not be followed by an arrogant indifference to its outcome.”
On running for Congress: “I think the best principle-based conservative in Western North Carolina should be our next congressman, and I want anybody that falls in that category to run. Trust me, this is not a decision I made lightly [or] with a whole lot of interest in my personal future. I just simply believe that after six years on this City Council, functioning as a conservative in Asheville, it appears I have a stronger skill set and am a more principle-based candidate in a better position than most to take on the challenge.”
On debating Heath Shuler: “Political animals are woefully adverse to debating; leaders are willing to step forward. I think it’s very hypocritical for this gentleman, who in the last election spoke so enthusiastically for the importance of debates, to dodge them in this election. … I think it’s obvious he’s afraid to debate.”
On his call to impeach President Bush: “The president has persistently failed his oath of office by ignoring the rule of law prescribed in the Constitution. It makes no difference that the president is from my own party—he should be held accountable for his failure to protect America’s sovereignty [regarding immigration enforcement].”
On illegal drugs: “You’re correct: I am at war with the drug culture.”

Despite the Vilcinskas’ undying fondness for Mumpower, Vince, in particular, isn’t one to let his buddy off easy. And notwithstanding Mumpower’s preternaturally calm demeanor, he’s not always able to rise above the criticism he brings upon himself, says Vince. Because of that, both Vilcinskas say they originally tried to dissuade Mumpower from getting into the rough-and-tumble of politics.

“I get on him all the time. ‘I think you have a strong feminine side,’” a bemused Vince says he’s told his friend. “I always tease him, ‘Where are you at in your cycle? You’re like a woman, some days.’ I remember the first caricature of him that came out after he was on Council [an unflattering rendering by Xpress cartoonist Randy Molton]. He said, ‘Vince, are my ears really that big?’”

Council member Robin Cape and Vice Mayor Jan Davis are not as close to Mumpower, but they do interact with him regularly. Cape is Mumpower’s political opposite and a frequent sparring partner; Davis, a moderate Democrat, is the closest thing Mumpower has to a true friend on Council. Both evince a sincere, if peculiar, fondness for Mumpower—tempered by plenty of criticism.

“We’re equally strong,” says Cape. “I’m able to say to him that I hear your convictions, but I have mine, too.” Cape believes Mumpower defines himself largely by his Vietnam experience, seeing everything as a battle. “Truthfully, I don’t take Carl that seriously as a person, in terms of when he says things that are so mean. I feel, bless his heart, that he feels that conflict is the only way to resolve things. … I said to him one day, ‘Carl, how are you doing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, everybody’s after me.’ And I said, ‘You love it.’ He said, ‘No, I don’t.’ And I said, ‘No, you really must love it, because you create it everywhere you go.’”

Davis believes Mumpower has become harder-edged during his years on Council, largely because of his outsider status and the loss of his ideological soul mate—former Council member Joe Dunn. Davis also feels Mumpower’s so-called principled stands—such as the recent firing of his son—are sometimes politically tinged. And, echoing Vince, Davis good-naturedly jokes that Mumpower does indeed have a feminine side, recalling the time he urged Davis and Dunn to stop at an outlet store on the way back from a Council business trip so the typically nattily dressed Mumpower could shop for shoes.

“But Carl is tenacious, if you had to pick a word to describe him,” adds Davis, with obvious respect of the man’s convictions. “He will stay with an issue he feels strongly about, without wavering.”

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26 thoughts on “So you think you know Mumpower?

  1. “Somebody spread the rumor that the reason I didn’t make a house out of it was because my grandfather was a Baptist minister and he thought it would be wrong,” notes Mumpower.

    That would have been me.

    http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us/?p=4340

    That’s how we heard it almost a year ago from one of the folks who lives across Chandler Cove Road from Mumpower’s property. Very nice guy who invited us over for coffee after giving us a quick tour of the church.

  2. Rob Close

    i love how he admits being totally against drugs AND that he’s smoked pot AND done HEROIN! but it didn’t stick so all is forgiven and he can continue being a hypocrite, eh? or does he think he should have spent time in jail for trying those drugs?

  3. Carl is always a pleasant person to have a conversation with, and ever the gentleman. There is a sense about him that he may come from an alternate time-period as he doesn’t seem to mesh with the popular view of much of his generation. While perspectives and views often clash, you can testify to his true character because you know he is able to rise above differences, agree to disagree, and still appreciate people for who they are. Carl is a true Republican maverick – more of a throwback to the old party ways. And he is pretty freaky in that Asheville way of standing out on one’s own. I guess that is why myself and many other ‘freaky’ folk in Asheville adore our local Mump – even if we consider his policies and views to be most skewed (and sometimes downright boggling).

  4. Trey

    I wonder if he will punch Shuler during the debate???

    The nut doesn’t usually fall far from the tree.

  5. bernard b carman

    hey Rob,

    you might wish to consider that it is quite possible for someone to develop a strong opposition to something like drug use AFTER they had their own experiences.

    personally, i too am disgusted with the proliferation of certain hard drugs after seeing some of my friends’ lives destroyed by them.

    you might find it at least refreshing to learn that Carl is primarily interested in addressing the issue from a non-criminal perspective at the STATE & LOCAL level, NOT the Federal level.

    i’ve recently questioned Carl regarding the Federal Drug War as a confirmation since his Bele Chere booth workers were misrepresenting his actual stance.

    YES — he feels state and local governments have the jurisdiction to legislate the use of drugs, but not the Federal Government. this fact is something that the local media and “progressives” simply do not report about Carl.

    heck, even many of those in his political party don’t agree with his stance on this, however, like Ron Paul, this is the CORRECT stance because Federal Government simply does not have the authority over such jurisdiction — it’s simply another case where the Fed’s are acting outside of their Constitutionally limited boundaries.

    Carl believes, and i feel rightly so, that if there is going to be a law, it should be enforced. if it’s a bad law, then it should be repealed.

    now, ask yourself as one who is against the Federal Drug War… do you really think Shuler is ever going to stand up against un-Constitutional Federal Government?

    the Congressional office Mumpower & Shuler are running for is a FEDERAL position, not a local one. it would be good for Asheville “progressives” to keep this in mind. Mumpower will stand up, like Ron Paul, AGAINST the Federal Drug War, and any other un-Constitutional act of Federal Government… and Lord knows, there are PLENTY of these!

    while i agree with the Libertarian philosophy which states individuals have a right to do whatever they will to themselves, so long as it doesn’t affect others’ liberties, i also yield to reason and the reality that Amerika is currently steeped in tyranny and we need to begin taking steps back toward increasing LIBERTY now.

    paramount from my perspective is that many hot issues are debated at the Federal level of government which shouldn’t be. among these include the drug war, education, abortion, roads/highways, and surely a host of others which should be legislated at the state and local levels.

    David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States who is heading up the “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour” and the movie, “I.O.U.S.A.” [http://www.iousathemovie.com], stated in the post-film forum on Aug 21 that over 60% of the US Federal Government’s spending is outside of its Constitutional jurisdiction.

    think about that for a moment — over 60% of Federal Government spending is ILLEGAL according to the US Constitution! therefore, if we merely reformed this area of government, America would be in a MUCH better economic condition.

    love or hate Mumpower’s various positions, we NEED more people like him in Congress as watchdogs against the myriad of un-Constitutional Federal Government actions, which most often lead to insane spending of our tax dollars in an ever failing economic system of waste and unaccountability!

    so when the choice is Shuler vs. Mumpower, WNC voters should consider forgetting about political party loyalty (which is pretty foolish anyway these days) and start thinking more about what is best for increasing LIBERTY at the appropriate level of government for the particular political race.

    food for thought…
    8-)

    bbc

  6. Bert

    Though I’m a liberal, I do have to give Mumpower credit for standing his ground on curbing government spending. If Bush was really an economic conservative, he wouldn’t have run up trillions of dollars worth of debt. Of course, Mumpower’s party has propped up Bush for the last eight years, so its hard for him to be a true agent of change.

    And I do disagree strongly with Mumpower in that I think government should be tackling poverty, environmental protection, and corporate gluttony. That doesn’t make me a socialist, it just makes me a liberal. It would be nice if Mumpower would compare Marx and FDR and learn the difference.

  7. With a federal (or any other) war on drugs, the government creates crime where there was none.

    Crimes associated with the black market illicit drug trade are a consequence of prohibition coercively imposed by the government.

    However, the essential immorality of prohibition does not absolve violent criminals of their responsibility for their crimes, in so far as they cause injury to others. Drug lords, in the private or public sector, do in fact cause harm to others through threats, intimidation, and force and compel many to live in an atmosphere of violence and fear. Those criminals must be held to account for violating another person’s individual rights regardless of the political errors that led to their underground trade. Innocent individuals, and others, are negatively effected by the criminal culture attending prohibition.

    Dr. Mumpower’s personal opinion of drug abuse notwithstanding, in his official capacity he sees the drug problem primarily as a public safety issue and has taken active steps to address this aspect of the problem.

    He has also over-reached in his zeal. I have complained about that and found Dr. Mumpower open to persuasion.

    As a local public official he cannot repeal prohibition, but he can promote solutions to some crime problems that resulting from making certain voluntary personal behavior illegal.

    Dr. Mumpower shares Dr. Ron Paul’s view of the federal war on drugs: both believe that this war should be ended.

    Godspeed, good doctors.

    -TIM PECK

  8. Paul -V-

    I like Mumpower, and enjoy watching him on council. He adds a lot to the conversation and keeps other members on their toes.

    What I don’t appreciate is when he makes up words like “enviro-hijacker”, or when he calls graffiti “urban terrorism”, or when he claims that funding a program he doesn’t like is a “form of communism.”

    Not only are these statements inaccurate – they throw a wrench into otherwise constructive debate.

    Another observation is that despite how hostile Mumpower is to liberal values – they generally have a lot of positive things to say about him when his name comes up in conversation. Conservatives, on the other hand, love to speak smack about Carl behind his back.

  9. R.Bernier

    Very well written story here, I found the insight into Mumpower intresting. The message is clear, Mumpower has had some hard times early in his life & with alot of hard work he is who he is today.

    Like him,Love him or even hate him – you will always know were in the end you can find Mumpower standing on principles.

    I myself, would like to see the two men who want to be our Congressman debate. Just last week, I caught up with Congressman Shuler & asked this very question.

    Here is that video:
    http://wncconservatives.ning.com/video/video/show?id=2208204:Video:1541

  10. Rob Close

    “Dr. Mumpower shares Dr. Ron Paul’s view of the federal war on drugs: both believe that this war should be ended.”

    ok, then why was he busting pot-heads at the civic center? why was he going above and beyond the call of duty to enforce the drug war, if he’s against it?

    honestly, i think he’s fed Tim some lies, and Tim bought it hook line & sinker. any other thoughts?

  11. Al Cottingham

    Ah the typical liberal Mumpower carpers come out of the woodwork to pick at the most biased parts of this “article”. I know Carl personally, and this article does him an injustice. But the good old liberal Xpress just loves to hatchet a conservative, don’t they? Hey, Carl has lived his life here. These Xpress people are transplants. I’ll go with the Carl I know, not the false picture presented in this article.

  12. Rob Close says: “ok, then why was he busting pot-heads at the civic center?”

    To diffuse unfounded criticism from the leftists that his focus on the ‘projects’ is motivated by racism.

    Anything else?

  13. Ashevegasjoe

    The idea that Carl is harking back to the core G.O.P. values is hardly maverick. Conservatives continually run on small government and fiscal responsibility, only to increase the size and spending of government. And, it is not just the “neo-cons”. Going back to Nixon, “conservatives” including Reagan and Bush I, set records for government spending and federal deficits. We all know the only balanced budget and federal surplus occured during Clinton’s presidency. It is a myth, and really a total fabrication that conservatives favor small government and fiscal responsibility. Carl is no different. He will campaign on the issues that mobilize his base, and when (and if) he gains a position of power, he will try to subvert the government. Why would we continue to elect people who hate government, to work in government? If I thought Krispy Kreme did a terrible job, I wouldn’t go apply there!

  14. straightup

    funny. 1st thing opposition does is play that card. As far as busting weed smokers at the civic center goes. Don’t you know that it is illegal. and i am sure that many people, including Dr. Mumpower, don’t care about marijuana so much. the emphasis of his drug campaign is to stop harder drugs that are destroying communities. particularly in government subsidied housing, where it does the most damage. People are in these places to help get on their feet…
    If you are smoking marijuana in the civic center you deserve to be arrested. It is a public place for god’s sake. Some people in this great town think it is so liberal that you can just light up wherever they want. The truth is, the more you flaunt it, the more the law is going to stomp it out. Be smart. get high before you go to the show or whatever.

    thanks to Mum for his great service.

  15. also Rob, in case the other following posts don’t answer your questions, i just wanted to reiterate one of my comments in my original post:

    Carl believes that current laws should be enforced and bad laws should be repealed. ignoring laws simply does little to solve problems.

    i personally agree that going after harmless weed smokers at the Civic Center is counter productive to effectively fighting “America’s drug problem”. heck, there seems to be more harm done by LEGAL drug abuse.

    while i believe Tim’s answer is largely correct, “To diffuse unfounded criticism from the leftists that his focus on the ‘projects’ is motivated by racism,” i publicly debated with Carl over it being a bad move in general, and that he would garner much more support if he concentrated on hard drug use, which is often accompanied by serious crime, especially in low-income neighborhoods.

    regardless of all, if the tyrannical and ineffective Federal Drug War is a major concern to WNC residents, then the real question is, “between Mumpower & Shuler, who will be more of a voice in Congress for mandating the Fed stick to its Constitutional limitations & jurisdiction?” the answer is SIMPLE!

    if you watch Richard’s video (http://wncconservatives.ning.com/video/video/show?id=2208204:Video:1541), i think you’ll see that Shuler is not only uninterested in debating his opponents, but ALSO not interested in taking questions from his constituency!

    (BTW, Richard, GREAT idea for a video, but might i respectfully suggest you consider keeping it much shorter, and without embedded repetition.)
    8-)

    bbc

  16. Rob Close

    so the claim i’m reading is that Carl busted pot heads to seem non-racist, rather than because he believes in what he’s doing?

    we know there’s difference between crack and pot, right?

  17. tatuaje

    Don’t you know that it is illegal. and i am sure that many people, including Dr. Mumpower, don’t care about marijuana so much.

    In 2006, 43.9 percent of the 1,889,810 total arrests for drug abuse violations were for marijuana — a total of 829,627. Of those, 738,916 people were arrested for marijuana possession alone. Total violent crime arrests? 611,523

    I would say that the over 800,000 people arrested for marijuana possession in ’06 would disagree with the assessment that “many people don’t care about marijuana so much….”

    the emphasis of his drug campaign is to stop harder drugs that are destroying communities.

    “Kids who have a high propensity to use drugs will use whatever drugs they have the first opportunity to use,” says Andrew Morral, PhD, of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center in Arlington, Va. “Usually, their first opportunity is to use marijuana.

    “There is a strong association between the use of marijuana and hard drugs,” he says. “But there have been assumptions among many policy-makers that marijuana used by adolescents increases their chances of going on to use hard drugs. Our study demonstrates that assumption is not proven and that the gateway effect may not be the best explanation of that link.”

    Approximately 70 million Americans have tried marijuana, and nearly nine in 10 never go on to use cocaine or other drugs, according to federal statistics.

    The Old “gateway drug” model…weak

    particularly in government subsidied housing, where it does the most damage. People are in these places to help get on their feet…

    To help get on their feet? No they’e not, they’re there because of institutionalized racism…this is very similar to Dr. Mumpower’s assertion in a October ’07 press release that

    “The primary issues are disengaged parents who suffer
    little challenge
    to
    their neglect and a flourishing drug/thug culture
    that, surprise,
    surprise, has managed to get a little better
    organized with gangs
    being
    one of the manifestations. We have allowed a
    generation of kids to
    get
    lost in a “hip-hop” cultural model that touts
    violence, encourages
    men
    to be little boys, and treats girls like toys.”

    Simply racist…

    In fact, most marijuana users are white and live in suburbia…Check out Population, Annual Marijuana Use, & Marijuana Possession Arrest Percentages by Race (2002) here:

    http://norml.org/images/state_arrests_2004/AR_Page_34.gif

    And compare that to Marijuana Possession Arrest Rate per 100,000 Users, by Race (2002) here:

    http://norml.org/images/state_arrests_2004/AR_Page_41.gif

    Who smokes marijuana? And who disproportionately gets arrested for it?

    And who is selling the hard drugs, such as crack cocaine and heroin? Your very own government…

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/october96/crack_contra_11-1.html

    The “drug war” is very simply a way to keep the populace (i.e. poor and/or minority people) disenfranchised and in check. Do rich people go to jail for abusing drugs? Hell no. Rush Limbaugh was hooked on opiates and obtaining them illegally. Oxycodones are freakin’ heroin! But if he was poor and couldn’t afford to fight the charges in court, it would have been an entirely different outcome. Hell, he didn’t even have to go to court…just hired some attorney to get him off.

    According to Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for the Sheriff, during his arrest, Limbaugh was booked, photographed, and fingerprinted, but not handcuffed. He was then was released after about an hour on $3,000 bail. After his surrender, he filed a “not guilty” plea to the charge. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge if Limbaugh paid $30,000 to defray the cost of the investigation and completed an 18-month therapy regimen with his physician.”

    And he’s just one example.

    You better believe that’s the truth….

    Not that Shuler is any better or anything…they’re freakin’ politicians out for their own gain….

    Sorry ’bout the rant ya’ll, but this whole “War on Drugs” pisses me the &u;$% off…. We’ve got better things to do like feeding and sheltering the people who live in this country…I want to hear what Mumps or Shuler, or ANY politician, are gonna do about THAT….

  18. tatuaje

    Oh, and…

    “Today the United States has approximately 1.8 million people behind bars: about 100,000 in federal custody, 1.1 million in state custody, and 600,000 in local jails. Prisons hold inmates convicted of federal or state crimes; jails hold people awaiting trial or serving short sentences. The United States now imprisons more people than any other country in the world—perhaps half a million more than Communist China. The American inmate population has grown so large that it is difficult to comprehend: imagine the combined populations of Atlanta, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, and Miami behind bars.

    The prison boom in the United States is a recent phenomenon. Throughout the first three quarters of this century the nation’s incarceration rate remained relatively stable, at about 110 prison inmates for every 100,000 people. In the mid-1970s the rate began to climb, doubling in the 1980s and then again in the 1990s. The rate is now 445 per 100,000; among adult men it is about 1,100 per 100,000. During the past two decades roughly a thousand new prisons and jails have been built in the United States. Nevertheless, America’s prisons are more overcrowded now than when the building spree began, and the inmate population continues to increase by 50,000 to 80,000 people a year.

    the nation’s prisons now hold about 150,000 armed robbers, 125,000 murderers, and 100,000 sex offenders—enough violent criminals to populate a medium-sized city such as Cincinnati. Few would dispute the need to remove these people from society. The level of violent crime in the United States, despite recent declines, still dwarfs that in Western Europe. But the proportion of offenders being sent to prison each year for violent crimes has actually fallen during the prison boom. In 1980 about half the people entering state prison were violent offenders; in 1995 less than a third had been convicted of a violent crime. The enormous increase in America’s inmate population can be explained in large part by the sentences given to people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Crimes that in other countries would usually lead to community service, fines, or drug treatment—or would not be considered crimes at all—in the United States now lead to a prison term, by far the most expensive form of punishment. “No matter what the question has been in American criminal justice over the last generation,” says Franklin E. Zimring, the director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute, “prison has been the answer.”

    Three decades after the war on crime began, the United States has developed a prison-industrial complex—a set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need. The prison-industrial complex is not a conspiracy, guiding the nation’s criminal-justice policy behind closed doors. It is a confluence of special interests that has given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum. It is composed of politicians, both liberal and conservative, who have used the fear of crime to gain votes; impoverished rural areas where prisons have become a cornerstone of economic development; private companies that regard the roughly $35 billion spent each year on corrections not as a burden on American taxpayers but as a lucrative market; and government officials whose fiefdoms have expanded along with the inmate population. Since 1991 the rate of violent crime in the United States has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50 percent.

    The raw material of the prison-industrial complex is its inmates: the poor, the homeless, and the mentally ill; drug dealers, drug addicts, alcoholics, and a wide assortment of violent sociopaths. About 70 percent of the prison inmates in the United States are illiterate. Perhaps 200,000 of the country’s inmates suffer from a serious mental illness. A generation ago such people were handled primarily by the mental-health, not the criminal-justice, system. Sixty to 80 percent of the American inmate population has a history of substance abuse. Meanwhile, the number of drug-treatment slots in American prisons has declined by more than half since 1993. Drug treatment is now available to just one in ten of the inmates who need it. Among those arrested for violent crimes, the proportion who are African-American men has changed little over the past twenty years. Among those arrested for drug crimes, the proportion who are African-American men has tripled. Although the prevalence of illegal drug use among white men is approximately the same as that among black men, black men are five times as likely to be arrested for a drug offense. As a result, about half the inmates in the United States are African-American. One out of every fourteen black men is now in prison or jail. One out of every four black men is likely to be imprisoned at some point during his lifetime. The number of women sentenced to a year or more of prison has grown twelvefold since 1970. Of the 80,000 women now imprisoned, about 70 percent are nonviolent offenders. About 75 percent have children.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/199812/prisons

  19. Ashevegasjoe

    right on tatuaje,
    here in North Carolina, inmates receive .70/day for work that the Grove Park and NCDOT pays $8-9/hour. As long as people are making millions off of people’s addictions and mental illnesses there will be no justice.
    I have a close friend who just finished a six-month sentence at BCC for possesion of two ounces of marijuana–pretty ridiculous

  20. tatuaje

    As long as people are making millions off of people’s addictions and mental illnesses there will be no justice.

    yep…and unfortunately, as much as the politicians grandstand, they don’t really believe in justice, just their own egos, careers, and wallets…

  21. “We’ve got better things to do like feeding and sheltering the people who live in this country…I want to hear what Mumps or Shuler, or ANY politician, are gonna do about THAT….”

    HUH? what should our government do about feeding and sheltering people? are people not supposed to do that for themselves?

    “general welfare” is a noble thing. however, welfare states breed failure of an individual, and a country.

    but you still ask a valid question which warrants some kind of answer.

    for starters, how about restricting the Federal Government to those things Constitutionally mandated, rather than reaching outside of its jurisdiction?

    this would of course end the Federal Drug War, along with a host of other wasteful government social programs, which IF needed could be provided by state or local government.

    and how about removing labor tax constructs so that people can take home more of the fruits of their own labor?

    is it a surprise to anyone that the American Judicial system is as corrupted as is the Legislative and Executive branches?

    of course rich people get out of all sorts of illegal activity… and you know what? they are not ALL white! (OJ comes to mind)

    but rather than attempting to prove that Mumpower is a racist, how about question our ‘new’ AVL police chief who, prior to attaining his position, claimed that he was going to primarily focus on hard drugs in AVL, yet the marijuana arrest rate was FAR larger than for all other drugs combined after his first year. (sorry, i don’t have those numbers right now)

    there are many things our Congressional representatives can do at the Federal level to increase liberty. this is why we need more people like Ron Paul and Mumpower in Congress — people who at least have some kind of sense for government jurisdiction.

    if the Federal Drug War is your biggest beef, then you should be supporting Mumpower for Congress. at least he’ll be fighting to get the Fed’s out of the equation, and really, that is the best step toward ending the Drug War.

    if you feel the entire system is completely broken without any chance whatsoever of We the People doing anything about it to help fix it, then just don’t bother voting.

  22. tatuaje

    HUH? what should our government do about feeding and sheltering people? are people not supposed to do that for themselves?

    - 3.5 million people (1.35 million of which are children) will experience homelessness in a given year.

    - Children under the age of 18 account for 39% of the homeless population. 42% of these are under the age of 5.

    - the VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that in 2006:

    * 35.5 million people lived in households considered to be food insecure.
    * Of these 35.5 million, 22.9 million are adults (10.4 percent of all adults) and 12.6 million are children (17.2 percent of all children).

    Black (21.8 percent) and Hispanic (19.5 percent) households experienced food insecurity at far higher rates than the national average.

    So, our government should have no responsibility for feeding or sheltering children and vets?

    We are the wealthiest country in history and we have over 35 MILLION people going hungry?!?!?

    however, welfare states breed failure of an individual, and a country.

    That is the most ludicrous statement I have ever heard. I would love to hear you back that assessment up with any type of, oh, I don’t know, facts or studies.

    Besides which, the US is hardly a welfare state.

    is it a surprise to anyone that the American Judicial system is as corrupted as is the Legislative and Executive branches?

    no

    of course rich people get out of all sorts of illegal activity… and you know what? they are not ALL white! (OJ comes to mind)

    oh, jeez, of course they’re not all white, just disproportionately so.

    if the Federal Drug War is your biggest beef, then you should be supporting Mumpower for Congress.

    It’s not my biggest beef, just one of ‘em. And a drug war on the local level is no better than a drug war on the federal level. As far as the rest of Mumps’ stances, I disagree with his stance on abortion, gay marriage, Iraq, the environment, immigration, health care….pretty much everything.

    if you feel the entire system is completely broken without any chance whatsoever of We the People doing anything about it to help fix it, then just don’t bother voting.

    Wow…how simplistic can you get? In fact, I do believe it’s broken. Instead of simply casting a vote for more of the same politicians who value corporations over people, who value war over peace, who strive for control instead of liberty, my response is to try to inform the rest of the public on the true current state of affairs and hope and pray that genuine concern for themselves, their fellow world citizens, and the earth takes over from their superficial concern for power, wealth, and status…

  23. JustinB

    Fascinating article and comments. Its nice to see a civil conversation that is on topic. I personally don’t know enough about the man to make an informed decision. As a liberal my instinct is to dislike him for his politics, but I have met Carl and he seemed like a genuine person. My brother recently wrote a piece about Carl Mumpower on my website with some excellent pictures that he has taken of Carl during the campaign this year. Check it out. Feel free to leave comments here, as we are still developing the comment system on our site. Thanks.

    http://www.ashevillenow.com/about/asheville_people/carl_mumpower.asp

  24. in hopes of clarification, i never meant to imply that government should have no responsibility for ‘general welfare’ whatsoever. what i’m saying is that the wrong way to reduce poverty and homelessness is to create a welfare state.

    perhaps it is debatable as to how much America has become a welfare state. but please consider the following definition:

    welfare state – a state in which the welfare of the people in such matters as social security, health and education, housing, and working conditions is the responsibility of the government.

    also consider that We the People are forced to pay into a social security system which is mismanaged, along with the rest of the federal budget. the FDA mandates all sorts of regulations over matters of health, food, and medicine, many of which seem counterproductive towards its intent. federal involvement in public education has brought us such horrid legislation as “no child left behind”.

    it seems to me that America has certainly allowed the Federal Government to be responsible for much of these, in spite of its Constitutional boundaries, and therefore has become to whatever extent, a welfare state.

    i don’t know of an all encompassing study which conclusively proves that a welfare state is healthy for the longevity of a country. i’ve personally learned in my years that people often fall into the trap of dependency. therefore, i favor the philosophy of teaching a man to fish, rather than providing fish.

    sure, some people simply need help. i’m not disputing that. i believe ‘general welfare’ is a noble and worthy cause for those in such a situation.

    but again, here’s a noteworthy figure which we should ALL consider:

    David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States who is heading up the “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour” and the movie, “I.O.U.S.A.” [http://www.iousathemovie.com], stated in the post-film forum on Aug 21 that over 60% of the US Federal Government’s spending is outside of its Constitutional jurisdiction.

    if the Federal Government would be cut back to merely its Constitutional roles, 60% would be cut right off the top of the entire budget. the other 40% saved could be used on cutting taxes, thus truly stimulating the economy, along with paying down the national debt, which if left unchecked will bring us to economic doom.

    also to clarify, i’m not suggesting we have a drug war at state and local levels. i’m advocating drug legislation be handled at the appropriate level of government. currently, that is not being done.

    why is that better? because it reduces centralized, unlimited, and corrupt government and gives We the People more liberty!

    think about it for a moment…

    the way it is now, the Feds legislate drugs and everyone in the “land of the free” is forced to abide by those laws, for better or worse.

    however, if drugs were legislated at the state, people could at least decide which state has the best drug laws, including the manner in which drug addicts are treated. this would also allow states to learn from one another which legislation works best.

    the same thing goes for abortion (life and death issues are State matters), and also for education. as for marriage, i believe this is a matter for Church rather than State.

    my point in general however has less to do with personal issues and more to do with the proper jurisdiction of government, and primarily, reducing the scope and power of the ever growing Federal Government.

    are Shuler and Mumpower both typical politicians? perhaps.

    however, when it is a question of which one has a better handle on such matters as proper jurisdiction and role of government, it’s pretty much a no brainer.

    by comparison, Mumpower in the 11th District Congressional seat would reduce control of BIG BROTHER, which in turn would increase liberty.

    it is also noteworthy to mention (especially since i’m an officer in the LP-B 8-) that there is a Libertarian in the District #11 race as well: Keith Smith [http://www.lpnc.org/2008/us_house_11.php]

    so really, for the 11th District, we actually do have a choice!
    8-)

    bbc

  25. entopticon

    From the editor’s note:

    “Editor’s note: News reporting inevitably involves many judgment calls. Typically, the quest for balanced reporting”

    I’m sorry, but I find this really disturbing. The Mountain Xpress is not anywhere remotely closed to being balanced between the right and left, nor should it be. When you make these kinds of shamefully fallacious claims, you are no better than Fox News.

    You are no more “fair and balanced” than Fox News is. Fox News has every right to report news from a right-wing perspective, just as the Mountain XPress has every right to report news from a left-wing perspective. Where both get into trouble is the thoroughly disgraceful practice of pretending to be balanced.

    There are probably 50 liberally slanted articles in the Mountain XPress for every one conservative-ish article. That is not balance. Every week there are a number of political cartoons and all of them are liberal. That is not balance. There are features like “Edgy Momma” and “Real Astrology” instead of “Book Burning for Beginners” and “Christian Affirmations.” That is not balanced.

    The Mountain XPress is not any more balanced than the local ultra right-wing extremist rag, the Asheville Tribune, nor should it be. There are very few opportunities to get an openly liberal perspective and the Mountain XPress should not be ashamed of fulfilling that important need. They certainly shouldn’t lie about it like Fox News does.

    Reporting from a liberal perspective does not mean being closed-minded. It means reporting on a wide range of topics from an honest, open, liberal perspective. If the Mountain Xpress wants to maintain/regain their integrity, they will keep this in mind.

  26. R Bernier

    (There are probably 50 liberally slanted articles in the Mountain XPress for every one
    conservative-ish article)

    Well, with that in mind Im glad we have an level playing field at URTV then.

    RB

    Now here is a clip for you>http://wncconservatives.ning.com/video/video/show?id=2208204:Video:1541

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