As a devoted fan of the Andy Griffith Show, I know there is a difference between Andy Griffith and Andy Taylor. The former has spent his post-Matlock years shilling for leftwing political candidates. So if any of the candidates decides to take a shot back, well, the people of N.C. are clever enough to get the distinction–as well as see why anyone would take that shot.
Gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory makes the distinction and takes the shot. He says:
There is one political reality in North Carolina, and that is every four years about a week or two before the gubernatorial election, Andy Griffith the actor recommends one of the candidates." (Griffith’s a Democrat who has made campaign commercials for Governor Easley and Lieutenant Governor Perdue, McCrory’s opponent.) …
Then McCrory said the character of Mayberry’s Sheriff Taylor would today talk about gangs in small towns and the "revolving door" in the criminal justice system and that Otis the town drunk might not have his own cell and would be incarcerated with "maybe 15 or 20 other very, very dangerous people."
McCrory’s saying that Andy Taylor would probably commit to different priorities than the actor-vist Andy Griffith would, even though neither has had experience dealing with contemporary issues like gang violence. We can quibble over whether McCrory is correct in his interpretation of the character if he were placed in America today. Heck, he may treat those very dangerous people in the manner of Otis — asking Aunt Bee to bring by fresh biscuits and coffee when the scumbags awake. But the N&O would prefer that the distinction between Griffith and Taylor not be made, I guess. It might even be in poor taste if Griffith weren’t already politically involved.
The paper’s patronizing "Pat, Pat, Pat…" is meant to signify a critique of the Mayor’s reference, but we’re all waiting for the substance of said critique. Like him or not, McCrory is saying something very pointed that the paper is missing: Nowhere in N.C. is there a place that even vaguely resembles Mayberry (if there ever was). And he believes his opponent, whom Griffith supports, is out of touch with that reality. If she weren’t, wouldn’t we have seen any number of anti-gang, anti-illegal immigrant, or anti-crime bills put forth from her and her party? (That is, besides the token anti-gang bill cobbled together recently as a political tactic.)
A Sheriff Andy Taylor of today would be a more earnest and solemn man. He would find himself in a N.C. that in which summary executions occur perennially by members of foreign gangs. He would find himself cleaning up the Eve Carsons of the world, on the streets near Griffith’s alma mater. He would find himself with very little prison space for Otis, because all manner of thugs and murders have pushed the town drunks into the arms of taxpayer-funded social workers. The moral character of Mayberry is, of course, nowhere to be found.