Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jim Holshouser, Mountain Republican

Gov. Jim Holshouser, who died yesterday at age 78, was born in Boone and represented Watauga County in the General Assembly for three terms before becoming state GOP Chair and then governor in the election of 1972. I had been in Boone two years at that point, voted for his Democratic opponent Skipper Bowles in that election, but Holshouser was a good governor and a good mountain Republican of the sort that North Carolina used to have plenty of.

Hell, going back to the 1890s, moderate mountain Republicans formed a Fusion Party with former slaves to briefly take control of state government. That's what mountain Republicans used to be.

Gary Pearce summed up some of Gov. Holshouser's accomplishments, which would get him barred from the NC GOP today: "Big pay raises for teachers ... Statewide kindergartens ... Coastal Management Act ... Rural health centers ... Expansion of the state park system ... More African-Americans and women in government ... Help for black business enterprises...."

Actually, Pearce notes, citing Rob Christensen, the Jesse Helms Republicans threw Holshouser out of the party in 1976. The Helms Republicans booed Holshouser at the state GOP convention and denied him a seat as a delegate to the national convention.

This Republican bunch now in control in Raleigh, who are defecating on everything that represents moderation, fairness, and sympathy for the poor and weak, are certainly the Helms progeny, grown even more rancid than ole Jesse could even imagine.

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