If Harold Cogdell was once viewed as a rising political star, recent events cast serious doubt on what his future holds. These days, Cogdell is looking less political comer than wet-eared wannabe, an-elected-but-not-quite-ready-for-prime-time chairman of the Mecklenburg County commission.
What’s spoiling Dems on their darling?
Could be his highly unconvincing portrayal as a rogue bridge builder between fractured parties, the guy who wants to, as he told the Charlotte Observer last week: “set a tone where the future of our community is more important than loyalty to a political party.”
That sounds good. But as commission Democrats suck their teeth over Cogdell’s successful unseating of their party faithful Jennifer Roberts, Cogdell’s deeds reek with hubris and personal ambition.
Or maybe it’s that Cogdell, a seasoned attorney and former Charlotte city councilman, is feigning surprise that his hiring by a non-profit that received county funding has raised eyebrows among his colleagues.
As pay-to-play politicians lose credibility and even jobs over ethics violations, Cogdell’s “Aw shucks, I didn’t know” reaction seems frighteningly naive.
And then there’s the dangerous alliance Cogdell has formed with Bill James to elevate his position. Listing James’s offenses against blacks and gays are likely too voluminous for this blog. Suffice to say James’ stance and rhetoric against these groups has been – how do we put it? – unfriendly. According to this King James version, blacks live in a “moral sewer” and gays are sexual predators.
About a year ago, James’s bigotry led Cogdell to draft a resolution for the board that decried hateful speech and extolled Mecklenburg County as a place of “diversity, tolerance and inclusion.” Now, Cogdell is attaching his political fate to James? Talk about flip-flop.
As Abe Lincoln once said, “Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition.” For Harold Cogdell, those ambitions are very peculiar indeed. We’ll see where they land him.