North Carolina is channeling Alabama and South Carolina when it comes to the best economic, social and political model for a U.S. Southern state.
So writes Albert R. Hunt in his most recent Bloomberg column. He concludes:
North Carolina, dating back to the 1960s and Terry Sanford, the country’s best one-term governor, and four terms of Jim Hunt, produced a much-envied system of higher education and community colleges, good race relations, a desirable quality of life and a healthy business climate. The debate about its usefulness today will persist. The North Carolina model, which served the region and country so well, is gone.
Ed Kilgore agrees:
I can relate, Al. As recently as the early 1990s, there was a sense that what Hunt calls the North Carolina Model for development had triumphed among southern Democrats and was winning over southern Republicans. Virtually everyone in the region talked about education and quality of life as crucial to a good business climate, and looked down on the poor yahoos who still thought the smart thing to do was to make one’s community the most lurid opportunity available for the complete exploitation of people and resources.
Earlier this month, H. Brandt Ayers, The Star's publisher, wrote:
In the book, In Love With Defeat, I wrote, “North Carolina governors Luther Hodges and Terry Sanford were bookends of statesmanship on either side of George Wallace’s energetic manipulation of popular anxiety and indignation.”
Together they calmed the race issue, built and began to populate the economic and culturally enhancing Research Triangle Park and unified the state’s research universities.
I could still make that claim in appearances in Asheville and Highlands, but I cannot say that the new Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and his Republican-majority Legislature have honored their own history.