AgentPierce and I played Rock – Paper – Scissors. My rock smashed his scissors so I get this one. AP already got in his $.02 licks on this subject on Friday (LINK).
On Friday last, a high-profile fellow named “John” declared the action of his organization “was not political”. Everyone giggled and snorted. What’s news about that you say? N&O Editor JOHN Drescher always claims his organization is “NOT Political”….. giggle, snort.
Whoa. There was another “John” – UNC Board of Governors Chairman JOHN Fennebresque. The occasion was the (not-political) Lame Ducking of Tom Ross…. giggle, snort.
Who are The Two Johns kidding? This whole BOG Action / Media Reaction sweats “politics” out of every pore from BOTH Johns. It’s America 2015. Of course “it’s political”.
It’s no big secret that I, your humble Internet Legend, am on first-name basis with “some” of the 32-members of The UNC System Board of Governors. What can I say…. it’s a by-product of having a website frequented more and more by movers & the occasional shaker. As well as the Joes & Moes who manage to stumble in here looking to buy lottery tickets.
I could have arranged to meet one or more of my esteemed BOG acquainti in some contrived clandestine fashion to get the “skinny” on what ROCKED the academically-oriented citizenry of North Carolina on Friday. But I have NOT spoken with any of my BOG buddies about this. I figured, correctly…..
(1) They are under a gag order, and (2) It would be showing off that I know more about this than you do. Why rub it in.
But BobLee, Burley Mitchell has spouted off on this? (1) Burley is no longer on The BOG, and (2) Burley is, well, “Burley”.
I take some credit that due to my constant haranguing over 50% of you’ans actually know the difference between a BOG and a BOT. Neither of which are as tasty as a good BLT if made with a beefsteak “T” and slathered with Duke’s mayo.
The average “know the difference between” BOG and BOT is give-or-take 12% on a good day with a favoring wind.
My observations and conclusions expressed herein have NOT been confirmed by BOG-insiders. Even if they were, most of you are comfortable with whatever knee-jerk conclusions you have already reached. That’s fine. We don’t change minds here. We simply revel in public chaos. There’s plenty to revel about in this one.
Q: How do you turn a non-descript ideological “Ichabod” into THE MOST lauded martyr since John Drescher’s newspaper praised the infamous Crystal Mangum as “an honor student and single mother of two….”?
Tom “Ichabod” Ross was flung under a bus…. stomped on with hobnail boots and, hell, probably waterboarded too if the truth were known. Now, TR’s being crucified and left hanging for a year like Spartacus on The Appian Way to serve as a gruesome reminder of “something”.
I’m certain there have been more agonizingly painful press conferences than the one John Fennebreque stumbled and fumbled thru on Friday in not-describing why he and they (BOG) are firing Tom Ross “a year from now”. LINK The presser held by James Moeser and “Call me Dickie” Baddour to fire Matt Doherty comes to mind as a contenda for “most painful presser trainwreck”.
The long list of “NOT reasons we ARE firing Tom Ross” is matched in recent history only by “all the NOT reasons Butch Davis was fired”; involving not-coincidentally the very same academic institution. All three of those pressers – The Publicly Bungled Firings of Ross, Doherty, and Davis were conducted within a long Par-5 of each other. Coincidence? Yeah, right!
The EEOC has decreed that public employees cannot be terminated for ANY reasons whatsoever because ……. but these three – Ross, Doherty, Davis – are rich, white guys. Since when does the EEOC care about rich white guys?
Even when firing a “rich white guy”, the firing entity never says why they ARE firing him but rather why they are NOT. After twenty minutes or so extolling “how gosh-darn amazingly fine _______ is and what a spectacular job ______’s done” the doomed perp is frog-marched out of the building carrying a cardboard box of his personal items. Usually two picture frames, a paperweight and something made out of papier-mache saying “I Luv My Daddy”.
Except that’s not how JOHN Fennebresque does it. I’ve yet to meet John Fennebresque and, based on this column, likely never will. I did share biscuits and gravy with his predecessor – Peter Hans.
The impression I’ve formed from assorted sources across the ideological spectrum is that Mr Fennebresque is a brusque fellow of many strong opinions not overly interested in the opinions of others. His former law partners at “a big prestigious firm” have some stories. That time “John shot the bed at Pinehurst with his Glock” seems to be a staple. ??
Being brusque and not much concerned with consensus-building is not necessarily bad. George Patton and Attila The Hun both led armies across Europe with similar styles. It seems to work well for both Bill Bilichek and Gregg Popovich.
Neither George, Attila, Bill nor Gregg are Chairs of politically-appointed boards overseeing 17 public academic zoos of varying sizes. John Fennebreque is.
George, Bill and Gregg tend(ed) to view “the media” as something stuck to the bottom of their shoe. Attila simply beheaded his critics.
Brusque guys, especially brusque guys who are registered (R) and appointed by any legislative body containing anyone named “Tillis” or “Berger” are guaranteed to be decidedly unpopular with traditional mainstream media in North Carolina…. i.e. John Drescher’s gang.
As with both JOHN Fennebresque and N&O Executive Editor JOHN Drescher, the slightest intimation that there could be “political motivations” behind any actions they take generates an immediate look of Shock & Awe that such would EVER be the case. A pre-recorded tape in their throats blares out “US…. POLITICAL…. NEVER”.
To which the resultant response from anyone with even one opposable thumb is: giggle, snort….. bletch.
Hopefully Chair Fennebresque realizes that had he given Tom Ross a life-time contract, he would have been every bit as raked by the claws of the media vultures. So is their nature to the likes of him.
Unlike Drescher, who ritually “denys being political” eight times before he gets out of bed each morning; his regional media cohort, WRAL’s Jim Goodmon climbs up his lofty tower and SCREAMS his abject hatred of all things / persons not in lock-step to his radical left-wing POV.
The year-long lame-ducking of Tom “Ichabod” Ross…. AND the immediate knee-jerk media deification of Tom “Ichabod” Ross were BOTH politically motivated by warring political camps.
FWIW, I was not at all surprised that Tom Ross has been sorta kinda axed for all those NOT Reasons. However…..
No column about Tom Ross would be complete without….. He (Ross) was soooo impressed with Dickie Baddour he wanted to appoint Dickie as AD Czar of The UNC System !!!! How did we dodge THAT bullet? Even Crystal Mangum knew THAT was stoopid.
That Tom Ross has been given a FREAKIN’ YEAR to gather up his personal items in a cardboard box before being frog-marched out of the UNC System HQ escorted by two burly security guards is simply BEE-zare. No surprise that John Fennebresque did NOT ask my opinion before embarking on that unorthodox strategy..
As noted up above in paragraph nine; at BobLeeSays, we revel in random public chaos. There’s certainly aplenty to revel about in this one.
….. ain’t NEVER gonna run out of column fodder.