Like an old Rebel shouting “Death to Lincoln!” on Confederate Memorial Day, Pat McCrory is still fighting the last battle. He’s running for U.S. Senate against Ted Budd, but in seemingly every interview he attempts to settle the score with Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat who defeated McCrory in the only instance of a challenger defeating an elected incumbent governor in North Carolina history. It’s very important to “Mayor Pat” that North Carolinians know he did a fantastic job on Blount Street. The question is whether this motivated reasoning stems from the desperate need to vindicate himself or delusion born of depression.
On Spectrum News last night, McCrory returned again to the litany of glory that he presents as the true legacy of his governorship. “Raleigh was broken,” he asserted. He paid off debt. He improved the business climate. He singlehandedly rehabilitated a state that had been driven into the ground by a state government that was….controlled by fellow Republicans Thom Tillis and Phil Berger. It was such a success, to hear him tell, that the people of North Carolina might well have rewarded him with reelection.
Except the people of North Carolina did not.
In reality, Pat McCrory presided over an erratic wrecking crew that upended a state government which was once the envy of the South. His appointees were incompetent and frequently AWOL. For example, Aldona Wos, McCrory’s prized Secretary of Health and Human Services, mismanaged her department so egregiously that the state Senate–no fan of safety-net programs–considered removing the Medicaid program from DHHS’s purview. Not to mention Transportation Secretary Tony Tata’s sojourns to Chicago for a book tour while the state dealt with the largest winter storm in decades, Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan’s refusal to stop working at his corporate law firm while serving in government, and $20,000 raises for two utterly unqualified campaign hacks in their early-to-mid twenties.
The McCrory administration was a zoo even by the standards of a state that is proud of having the largest outdoor zoological park in the world. Promising to instill discipline and competence into state government, McCrory ran the most inept governorship in many decades. If Raleigh was broken, he took a sledgehammer to the remnants and smashed them into fine-grained dust.
Nor did he do excel in business recruitment. Even before HB2, North Carolina lost projects from Mercedes and Toyota; and McCrory’s signature anti-trans law cost the state thousands of jobs and no less than $3.76 billion in economic output due to Pat McCrory’s cynical assault on the LGBTQ community. That’s why one nonpartisan economic-development consultant dismissed McCrory as “weak and ineffectual.”
Thus, even by the standards he set for his own success, Pat McCrory was a failed governor. The state’s economic climate deteriorated significantly due to McCrory’s decision to persecute the transgender community. State government was a basket case almost from the day he was inaugurated. In recent years, we’ve grown accustomed to Democrats having to repair states and a country reduced to smoking rubble by the Republican wrecking crew. McCrory’s failed administration very much left this kind of mess. He seems to be suffering from selective amnesia about four years that were, objectively, a disaster for the state of North Carolina and discredit any of his claims to be fit for service in the United States Senate.
Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.