Pat McCrory overrode the counsel of wiser heads to bring the NASCAR Hall of Fame to Charlotte. Then-mayor McCrory tended to get entranced by imagery. How could the city not benefit from a spectacle of spinning wheels and flashing simulators? The Triangle Business Journal now provides an answer. Over a decade after its opening, McCrory’s racing temple barely drew more visitors than a small-town “Transportation Museum.”

A “gotcha moment,” this is not. Pat McCrory’s legacy can be symbolized by the NASCAR disaster. He failed to bring progress to the people he served, and his legacy continues to haunt the very causes he entered politics to promulgate. He is the face of failure.

McCrory was identified by critics and champions alike as the Man from Charlotte. Even deep into his term as governor, the former mayor still reckoned back to his time leading the Queen City. It was his signal reference point. Yet in a well deserved irony, he has destroyed the Republican Party there. Edwin Peacock lost multiple elections, explicitly blaming the then-governor for his defeats. Last fall’s demolition of Councilman Smith probably ratified that the collapse is permanent.

As in Charlotte, so statewide. We will suffer from McCrory’s policies in many ways, for many years. The national think tank CBPP recently detailed how the McCrory tax shift has all but pre-empted our ability to fund the state’s public schools. At the same time, this tax-cut experiment failed to make our economy flourish. The governor who promised “Economy, Education, and Efficiency” ultimately delivered none of it.

An unmentioned “E” continues to suffer profoundly. That would be the environment, which McCrory attacked with singular aggression. Due in part to this legacy, Eastern North Carolina has taken a dangerous blow to water quality. It’ll take a long time to restore safety, and sanctity, to this essential natural resource.

And to so much else.

Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.


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