Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thank you, John Drescher, for your column on Gene Nichol

John Drescher is one of my favorite local newspaper columnists. He’s the Executive Editor of The News & Observer. Nearly each Saturday, he writes a column which is 95% of the time focused on local issues or at the very least local people focused on national issues. Last Saturday, his column was titled, Gene Nichol doesn’t regret column about Gov. Pat McCrory. Glancing at the headline, you might think Drescher was about to offer Nichol another sounding board for his (Nichol’s) disrespectful disdain for law-making authority that goes against his own grain.

Though it took reading the entire column to get to Drescher’s punch line, though readers had to suffer through a rehash of criticism Nichol wrongfully and rudely dished out at Governor McCrory, once the end of the column came into focus, any recent disbelief of something Drescher may have written previously was forgotten (but maybe not forgiven) in favor of cheering, clapping and carrying on in the street. Drescher, in a mild but stern way, was critical of Nichol for being a jerk of the utmost high.

In his own column printed in the newspaper months ago, Nichol, who needs to do something with his hair and overall looks, compared Gov. McCrory to segregationist governors such as George Wallace and Lester Maddox, calling him a “21st century successor” to those and others. Nichol was critical of the new election laws which, among other things, require a voter photo ID to be presented when casting ballots. Nichol may have started his column about Republicans in general but took the step of including the Governor and calling him a racist though the law applies to all races. 

Nichol’s verbiage was a call to arms by Republicans, especially those who have control of the purse strings directly connected to Nichol. It didn’t take long, but soon Nichol was being penalized by the UNC Board of Governors who put to death his Poverty Center think (but no action) tank. Nichol was openly challenging McCrory personally and not just the policy passed by the General Assembly. It's a fair guess, reading Drescher's column, that Nichol has no clue about Gov. McCrory and has probably never had a direct conversation with the Governor. Good for the Governor.

Drescher, thankfully, ended his column with these words: Professors ought to be able to write in The N&O (or anywhere else) without fear of retribution from politicians or their appointees. But they should inform us through research and lead us though debate at a high level that is focused on ideas and aspirations. In that regard, Nichol came up short.

Nichol’s columns have failed in that regard from the very beginning. He has lots of opinions with few facts and can’t take it when his followers are not in power. He is on a high horse and because he thinks so much of himself, he believes other should think of him in the same way, taking what he says is a call to arms against anyone who disagrees. His term of less than three years as President of William & Mary was the shortest tenure of any W&M president since the Civil War. That’s not surprising since his time there was full of strife. He may be his own worse enemy. Read more his few months at William & Mary here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Nichol
Dictionary.com word of the day
furtherance (noun) [fur-th er-uh ns]: the act of furthering; promotion; advancement

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