When Republican candidates lose elections, they look for new day jobs. When Democrats are outpolled, they go back to school.
“On Jan. 1, Erskine Bowles assumed the presidency of the University of North Carolina system where he will oversee North Carolina’s 16 public universities after being unanimously elected by the Board of Governors,” David Hodges reported in the Carolina Review. “While many people are pleased with the BOG’s choice, Bowles’ unanimous election has led to some controversy.”
“The search committee conducted a nationwide review of potential candidates with the help of an executive search firm, Baker-Parker and Associates.” But it seems that former President Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff had the inside track with the BOG.
“These events smell awfully familiar,” Hodges notes. “In fact, they are reminiscent of the John Edwards appointment as director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.”
“Their similarities: both are prominent Democrats, both fell short in recent elections, and both are alums of UNC.”
Bowles joins a crowded march of Clinton Administration alumni into academia. Accuracy in Academia has discovered that half of the people President Clinton appointed to cabinet-level positions found academic berths as administrators or professors compared to one-fifth that number among Reagan Era federal executives.
“Edwards, to his credit, is at least a former United States Senator; a claim that Bowles cannot make because he lost that bid twice—once in 2002 and again in 2004,” Hodges writes. But Bowles, who has a reputation as a centrist, may yet surprise his supporters. After all, Larry Summers, the president of Harvard, served in the Clinton Administration before landing in Cambridge and running afoul of politically correct faculty.
And UNC, especially at the Chapel Hill campus, is perhaps even more politically stratified than the Crimson Tide. “I found it interesting that Planned Parenthood was the only place the University refers pregnant students,” Anne Howell Brown writes in the Carolina Review. Planned Parenthood is the main provider of abortions in the United States.
“In an article handed out in a women’s studies course fall semester, the author claims women who choose to have children must think about the negative implications for other women pursuing careers,” Mary McPherson writes in the Carolina Review.
As for former Sen. Edwards, he will not be the first refugee from a Democratic presidential primary who retired to a state university. Former Sen. Gary Hart, whose pre-Clinton Era run for the White House was derailed by accounts of extra-marital dalliances, is now a professor at the University of Colorado.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.