Thursday, January 12, 2012

Which Carolinian will become president?

Barack Obama vaulted to the presidency just four years after being a state senator in Illinois. Jimmy Carter was an unlikely future president when he was governor of Georgia. Michele Bachmann, who led this year's race at one point, is a representative from Minnesota. And Rick Santorum is a legitimate presidential candidate just a few years after Pennsylvania voters threw him out of his U.S. Senate office.

It all goes to show: Presidential candidates can spring from anywhere. And it got us to thinking: Which Carolinian is most likely to make a serious run for the White House in the future?

No one who lived much of their life in North or South Carolina has ever been president. Andrew Johnson and James K. Polk were born in Raleigh and just outside Charlotte, respectively. But both left when young and mostly lived in Tennessee. Andrew Jackson was born near the N.C.-S.C. border but also mostly lived in Tennessee.

So a true Carolinian as president would be a first. Who might it be? Any suggestion seems far-fetched right now, but so would have Obama before he gave his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and so would have Sarah Palin, who would have been a heartbeat away.

  • N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue? She'll be fortunate if her political career isn't over in 10 months.

  • Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory? Highly unlikely, but if he beats Perdue and serves two terms as governor, who knows?

  • S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley? She's unseasoned, to put it mildly, but she has cred with the tea party and has shown she can pull the upset.

  • U.S. Sens. Richard Burr or Kay Hagan? We'd give the edge to Burr, if only because he's in the running to be the vice presidential nominee this year.

  • U.S. Sens. Jim DeMint or Lindsey Graham? Now we're getting warmer. DeMint was frequently mentioned as a tea party favorite and might have considered a run this year. Graham would have little shot.

  • Hard to imagine any of North Carolina's current U.S. House members. Heath Shuler, maybe, if moderation ever comes back into vogue? Patrick McHenry if it doesn't?

  • No one in South Carolina's delegation seems likely. Mick Mulvaney? Tim Scott? Joe Wilson? You lie!

  • John Edwards? Ha, just seeing if you're paying attention.

  • Maybe we need to look more locally. You may laugh at the idea of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. But he has made the right moves so far, and will raise his profile when the DNC comes to town. Give him 15-20 years of seasoning, and who knows?

Tell us who you think by voting in the poll at upper right.

-- Taylor Batten


Anonymous said...

NO "carolinian" will EVER become President. Hopefully NO ONE with any southern roots or connection will either. We need to move forward, NOT backward.

The Flying Engineer said...

Wow. If you are so angry, you can always head back up to the rust belt. What an arrogant and ignorant statement you have made!

Garth Vader said...


You must have an interesting-looking birth certificate.

Actually I'm guessing that's an IPv6 address which will make you very traceable to Homeland Security.

Anonymous said...

President McCrory? An entirely new Observer staff would be needed. As much as everyone on the current one hates him, most would have a fatal heart attack at the end of election night.

But it won't happen, because he can't beat Purdue. All she has to do is say, "I'm running against somebody from Charlotte" and the "I hate Charlotte" rednecks will re-elect her by a landslide.

Observer editorial board said...

McCrory would be surprised to hear that, given that we endorsed him for governor over Perdue in 2008, and for mayor pretty much every time he ran.

Bobby said...

I thought it was pretty well known that the Observer was generally friendly toward McCrory. I remember reading a couple of op-eds from Pat himself in the O.

I'm not sure how long Pat would last in a Presidential primary. One of the things that a lot of people here (reflected in his poll numbers and not the same three guys posting comments under different names) is an admiration for his commitment to Charlotte over the Republican Party by working with liberals and moderates to find solutions. Sadly this is a no-no in the modern, highly tribalist, Republican Party (see: Huntsman, John). He's sensible and intelligent though, and might appeal to some.

Can't see any of the others making a splash, most would get blasted in the primary season and sulk back. Before Sanford went hiking he had potential, as did Edwards, but they screwed up big time. Foxx has potential, but that's a ways off.

I'd *LOVE* Hagan to some how become President though. Oh the angry commenters would be so worked up, hours of fun!

cooldela1966 said...

With the current crop of candidates let's not wish any Carolinian on the rest of the country. If we were to have a ticket I suppose it should be Edwards & Perdue. It would at least be fun until the country went under.

BolynMcClung said...

Paulette Bunyon for President

In the backwoods of eastern North Carolina is a woman who gave birth to 31 children and along the way buried three husbands. She went for the longest time without a car, deciding that her team of 40 hand high mules could do a better job.

Many a person has crossed her 60,000 acre farm which stretches from the coast just below Jacksonville to somewhere in Anson County but none dared cross her.

A seed salesman tried to get her to plant apple trees but she favored peaches and pecans. To make her point she walked barefoot from Wilmington to just over the line in Northern Georgia. On alternate foot steps she spit-out peach pits and buried pecans in the ground.

One day she ran out of paper for cigarettes so she rode those mules up to Winston-Salem and designed the first rolling machine for tobacco and created a whole new industry.

While she was there she got tired of standing on her feet so she went over to High Point and showed a few fellows how to make chairs and tables.

In her youth a fellow by the name of Duke was looking to build electric plants along the rivers and came to seek her advice. She didn’t say a word but went to slinging axes with both hands and cleared all land on both sides of the Catawba from Marion down into South Carolina.

Now that’s the kind of North Carolinian we need for President. Only problem is she don’t know nothing about politics. Only about getting things done.

…..As told to me by an old worn-out farmer standing beside a soybean field up around High Rock.

Bolyn McClung