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A Disquisition on Greed in Politics, Part 3: Solutions to Greed in Alabama Politics

Samuel McLure

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By Sam McLure
Alabama Political Report

“The greedy misuse the world by striving to acquire it; the monastics, by struggling to renounce it.” Carter Lindberg

The overall goal of restraining greed in politics should be aimed at making the political process more responsive to the “common community of voters” and less responsive to “business-conglomerate greed interests.” The irony of decreasing the influence of the business-greed party is that it actually promotes the prosperity of the community as a whole.  As discussed in Part 1 of our series, the mantles of Republican and Democrat mean nothing to the Greed Party which manipulates both for the enrichment of a select few business interests.

In our Introduction with Mr. Blue Suit, we explored a satirical analogy of greed in politics; and in Part 2, we explored poignant examples of greed at work in Alabama politics. This final installment of our series will focus on Jenga-Pin solutions to this most difficult political question: how to restrain the forces of greed in government.

As a boundary on the ideas presented, let me here say that I am not advocating for a complete eradication of the influence of the business community within politics.  The business community provides jobs, and jobs provide wealth to the common community.  What I am advocating for is a necessary shift in the paradigm of power.

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Five Failing Solutions to Restraining Greed in Government

I reference these topics as “five failing solutions,” because that is exactly what they are … without heeding the words that Michael Jackson so famously evoked – calling our attention to the Man in the Mirror:  “If you wanna make the world a better place / Take a look at yourself and then make the change.”  From beginning to end, this is where the change must occur.

Without further ado, our five solutions for consideration are as follows:

(1) mobilize grassroots activists to run for office; (2) restrict the prowess of the political action committee; (3) create pathways for third-party competition; (4) Attorney General should prioritize investigation and prosecution of “business-interest” lobbyists; and (5) implement a Pence-style federal money task force.

(1) Mobilize Grassroots Activists to Run For Office

When you see the world as Adam Smith did in 1776 and John Calhoun in 1830, you see that there are two great forces in opposition within any government.  It’s not Democrat v. Republican; the forces at odds are the greed-business interests and the interests of the common community.

Thus, there are two basic paths by which a political candidate finds themselves in the sphere of government influence. Political candidates are either thrust into service with responsiveness to the needs of the community or they are propelled into service by the covetousness of the business-greed party.

Alabama needs more concerned citizens engaged in politics.  Most people who are not consumed with greed have no desire to engage in political struggles. On the whole, the mass of the common community is content to eat, drink, and rise up to play. Truly, the greatest enemy for freedom is not tyranny, but apathy.

Alabamians are notorious for their love of football. We have to give up some other love in order to love doing justice, mercy, and humility … and their application to making our state a freer community.  It was the practice of ancient Rome to use the bloodbaths of the Coliseum to numb the citizenry to the awful tyranny of the ruling class.  We will never see different in our time. We will never see the government infringing on Alabama’s “right” to participate in sport.

It is incumbent upon the older generation to instill a passion in the younger generation to run for office and engage in our State’s political struggles. Many offices in the State of Alabama can be pursued at the age of 18 and many more at the age of 21. For example, a young man or woman can serve on the Public Service Commission or State Board of Education at the age of 18; Mayor, City Counsel, Sheriff, and County Commission are also in play for the ambition 18 year old.

If we are troubled by the reality of greed’s stranglehold on Alabama’s mechanisms of government, we must mobilize to service those whose allegiance are tethered to the community, not greed.

(2) Restrict the Prowess of the Political Action Committee.

The purpose of a political action committee (PAC), in federal elections, is to circumvent the $2,700 individual giving limit.  If you are a wealthy business owner of a coal company and want to donate $2,000,000 to a candidate that you think will protect the coal industry, you form a “super” PAC and put $2,000,000 in it. Then, you convince a couple other Coal CEOs to donate their money too. Before you know it, your Coal PAC has $10,000,000 to get the right candidates elected to Federal office.

State and local election (non-federal elections) are governed by state-law.  Shockingly, Alabama is one of only six states which allow unlimited PAC and Corporate contributions to candidates. Most states put comparatively aggressive restrictions on PAC and Corporate contributions. For example, PACs in Kentucky are restricted by the same $1,000 limit as individuals; and total PAC contributions must be less than 50% of a candidates total contributions.  Furthermore, Corporate contributions are completely banned in Kentucky.

The affect of Kentucky’s restrictions on PAC and Corporate contributions is to encourage political candidates to be more responsive to the people – to the common community of voters – as opposed to the greed-business interests. For a candidate in Kentucky to raise enough money to win an election, the candidate has to be in front of, and in relationship with, actual people and is thus more responsive to the voice of the people. For a candidate in Alabama to win, and to raise enough money to win, the candidate only has to be in touch with the right few power players.

One of the top three PAC contributors in Alabama is Progress PAC, controlled by the Business Council of Alabama (BCA).  Mike Hubbard and Del Marsh both received over $100,000 from the BCA.  In order to get the same contribution level in Kentucky, Hubbard and Marsh would have had to shake hands with 100 actual people who gave the maximum.  In Alabama, Del Marsh only had to shake hands with Bill Canary.

Some politicos would argue that Americans spend more on Halloween candy than political campaigns, and thus the problem is really more linked to apathy.  This is a good point, and I do not deny its veracity. After all, it was Winston Churchill who noted that “The malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous.”

On the other hand, even well intending “grassroots” advocates find the idea of limiting PAC donations unpalatable.  Even noble-minded politicos know that a PAC concentrates the power of donation into their own hands, making their own agenda more potent. But, buyer beware – even these noble-PAC-ventures have the same consequence of distancing the average voter from the elected official. The noble-minded politico becomes the expert and representative of the people –  with the same potential for unresponsiveness-to-the-commnity as BCA’s Progress PAC.

A note to the libertarian reader

Some libertarian-leaning politicos might cry “foul” here at the prospect of limiting the free market.  I would draw the attention of such a reader to the arguments presented in Part 2, illustrated by the maxim, “Politics is no place for the invisible hand of capitalism.”

In the realm of stewarding environmental resources, history and experience show us that there are some assets which must be protected from the free market.  There is no short-term financial incentive for Acme Corp to not dump its industrial waste into the Alabama River. And, the long term negative effect of such pollution to the health and wellbeing of the State is unquantifiable. Thus, we permit government to intrude on the free market and regulate the disposal of industrial waste.

However, this is a dangerous power being wielded by government. As soon as the hand of government has been extended to meet a legitimate need through regulation, business-greed interests will try to extend that same hand for the establishment of a monopoly on the market.

That disclaimer aside, the point is clear:  if the free market must be protected from greed with the environment, how much more must the full force of greed-business interests be restrained in politics?

 (3) Create Pathways for Third-Party Competition

The stranglehold of the business-conglomerate-interests on the two-party adversarial system is so strong it is doubtful that either party can extricate itself from the coils of the anaconda’s grip.  Alabama’s path forward presents with the solution of opening up competition with the two party system.  A third party must arise which competes with both parties by specifically attacking the slithering greed party and its hold on Republicans and Democrats alike.

Unsurprisingly, the two-party system has, in fact, protected itself from competition by implementing entry barterers to the political process against third parties.  Lamentably, Alabama is one of the top-ten most restrictive states in the Union for third parties to compete in the political process.

In Alabama, candidates must acquire written petitions of Alabama citizens in an amount equal to 3% of the population of Alabama. That’s about 35,000 signatures.  Through the process of determining if these signatures are valid, the Secretary of State discards many “invalid” signatures.  Thus, conventional wisdom dictates that third party should acquire 50,000 signatures – just to be safe.

For experienced third party advocates, like former Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, Leigh Lachine, the prospects of gathering volunteers to acquire those signatures is just too daunting.  Lachine recommends hiring a professional firm; the cost is about $3.00 per signature.  Thus, for a third party to get on the ballot, they have to spend an initial $150,000.

According to FairVote.org, “No one has managed to complete this petition since it came into existence in 1997 except the Libertarians in 2000.  Furthermore, if a party does get on, it needs to poll 20% of the vote for any statewide office to stay on.”

There is a rational basis in this, however.  Printing ballots is expensive. This bar, at least, ensures that the particular third party represents a sufficiently numerical interest of the community to justify the expensive to the State of placing their candidate on the ballot.

While the ballot access numbers can and should be lower, what is completely unacceptable is the prohibition on third parties from raising money.  Republican and Democratic candidates are able to raise money for the November 2018 election in June of 2017, one year before the primary.  Third party candidates are prohibited from raising money until November 2017.  Thus, not only are third party candidates handicapped with a $150,000 ballot access tab, they can’t get out of the gate with fundraising until 5 months after the two major parties. It’s hard to fathom any rational basis for this 1st Amendment infringement.

Further impeding the access of third-parties to compete against the greed-business party, is Alabama’s unwavering adherence to straight ticket voting.  Alabama is one of only eight states which implements this restrictive voting process. Straight-ticket ballots contain the option for a voter to check a box that will allow them to vote for all candidates in either the Republican or Democratic parties – without having to check any boxes for individual candidates.

Thus, for the busy and uninformed voter, the option of checking one box instead of 14 is attractive. According to Josh Tuttle, current Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, an incredible 60% of voters choose to check the box indicating straight-ticket voting.

While this policy may save a few seconds for busy voters, the net effect is to encourage voters to ignore any option outside of the traditional two-party system … a net win for the greed-business community.

(4) Attorney General Should Prioritize Investigation and Prosecution of “Business-Interest” Lobbyists

Perhaps the most unpopular, but impactful, suggestion so far will be to prioritize prosecution of the tools of business-interest conglomerates; i.e., lobbyists.  Certainly, we need stricter ethics restrictions … I would personally like to see persons whose livelihood is linked to lobbying for business interests barred from the State House during the legislative session.  However, we must first ensure that the laws we do have are being rigorously enforced.  Given all the ground we’ve covered; given the great propensity for the party of greed to manipulate government to their own good and the detriment of the community, we must demand that our Attorney General prioritize the investigation and prosecution of greed-party lobbyists.

We’ve seen the need for this with former speaker Mike Hubbard.  He was prosecuted for criminal conduct, but what of the business-interest lobbyists paying him off?  Why aren’t the payers of bribes, the lobbyists, being prosecuted?

We’ve seen this with Oliver Robinson, who struck a plead deal for corruption – for taking bribes from business-interest lobbyists … but, wait … where are the lobbyists? Are the bribers themselves being investigated and prosecuted?

Lobbyist are the tools in the hands of the greed interests. Lobbyists working for greed-business interests work in opposition to “grassroots” activists.

This legislative session saw the unprecedented volunteer work of a group of concerned citizens to pass Alabama’s mid-wife decriminalization bill.  It was a show of force indeed with some unpaid supporter, usually pregnant with children in-tow, at the State House everyday of the session.  One of the lobbyists of the greed-class in question could be heard saying under her breath, “What are THEY doing here?!”

We expect our tax-payer funded prosecutors to aggressively pursue criminals who rob houses to pay for crack cocaine. We should also expect our Attorney General to aggressively pursue politico-criminals who rob the poor to line their own pockets through manipulation of government policies and regulations.  By prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of lobbyist misconduct, the Alabama’s Attorney General can reap untold rewards for the people of Alabama.

(5)  Governor Should Implement Pence-style Federal Money Task Force

Just this week, the Alabama Department of Labor was bribed into collecting data on Alabama citizens with a $1,000,000 carrot from the Federal Government.  Rep. Terri Collins, in collaboration with BCA, have been chasing this Orwellian Data Collection money for some time.

Does BCA stop to consider whether the money we are receiving is rightly obtained in the first place? Or, if the Federal Government is within the bounds of the Constitution to dispense it?  No, the greed party doesn’t ask those questions. The greed party simply asks, “Is it possible, and do the rewards for me outweighs the risks for me?” Gov. Kay Ivey needs to establish a mechanism to oversee this race-to-the-bottom pursuit of federal money.

Alabama Attorney General’s Chief Counsel, Katherine Robertson, explained that when VP Mike Pence was Governor of Indiana, he “created the ‘Office of State-Based Initiatives’ in an effort to impose additional oversight and accountability on agencies receiving federal funds.  The main goal of the office is to “contribute to Indiana’s continued fiscal health” by “working with agencies to push back against onerous regulations that often accompany the return of federal dollars to Indiana.”

Such a federal-money-oversight office in Alabama can be “charged with reviewing the state’s federal grant opportunities and giving approval for any agency to seek a federal grant.”  Gov. Pence used this office to “subject each grant to a cost-benefit analysis” that “measure[s] the grant’s fiscal and regulatory impact.”

Alabama’s version of a Pence-style task force could go a long way to curtailing the forces of greed in Alabama politics. Access to the federal government’s deep pockets is often the main ambition of the greed-business interests in Alabama. Far too often, we see state actors competing to see how much of Alabama’s sovereignty they can cede to the federal government for a few ill-gotten morsels.

Conclusion

This is greed in politics: (1) powerful businesses use government to protect their turf and dampen competition, (2) elite businesses gain access to the public coffers through contracts, grants, and handouts, and (3) elected officials leverage their fiduciary position for self-enrichment or promotion.  With greed driving the wheels of Alabama politics, all of this happens to the great detriment of the community.

Alabama can be free again. We can cast off the noose of slavery, slowly hung by the greed-business interests of our State. To do this, we must embrace our motto: We dare defend our rights.

 

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Elections

Opinion | Kay Ivey’s official calendar is surprisingly empty

Josh Moon

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In late-August and early-September, there was one question dominating Alabama’s governor’s race.

Where is Kay Ivey?

The governor at that point had scarcely been seen in a few days. In one 10-day stretch, she held no public events and somehow managed to avoid even local ribbon cuttings and bridge openings. And her opponent’s campaign was raising questions about her lack of activity.

Walt Maddox, at that point, had already challenged Ivey to a series of debates. She declined, offering a number of excuses, including that she was “busy governing the state.” She had also told her Republican primary challengers that she was “too busy” to debate them.

So, I wanted to know: Who was telling the truth? Was it a big deal? Was Ivey too busy?

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There was only one way to find out: I filed an Alabama Open Records Act request for Ivey’s official calendar for a three-week span (Aug. 24 through Sept. 14).

That span, I figured, would provide a solid look into Ivey’s days and would cover all of the days that the Maddox campaign had questioned her whereabouts.

On Wednesday, after paying $17 and some change to a public entity to produce public records that the public had already paid to be produced once, APR was provided with copies of Ivey’s official calendar.

Counting every entry on the calendar for 21 days — including travel time to and from the governor’s mansion (which apparently takes 30 minutes) and air travel to a variety of meetings and ribbon cuttings — there are less than 60 hours accounted for.

That’s less than three hours per day.

But it’s actually worse than that, because most of that time is compacted into a handful of days, leaving large chunks of time — whole calendar pages — simply blank.

In total, seven days were blank. Three other days had just one entry.

In one calendar week — Sunday, Sept. 2, thru Saturday, Sept. 8 — Ivey’s calendar shows just three and a half hours of scheduled time.

That week, her days were completely blank on Sunday, Labor Day Monday and Tuesday. She had a single phone call on Wednesday and a single meeting on Thursday. She hosted the Alabama Association of Regional Councils on Friday morning and wrapped up the grueling week with a proclamation signing at 10:30 a.m. that Friday.

I’ll remind you that this is the governor — a governor in the midst of a campaign.

You would think her calendar would be crammed with events and meetings and staff scrums and trips all over the place.

But … there’s just nothing.

And that’s not normal. I know that for a fact.

I’ve been to the Alabama Archives and sorted through the official calendars for the last three governors of this state. None of their calendars look like Ivey’s. Not even close.

I shared photos on Facebook Wednesday night of entries from random days on Robert Bentley’s calendar. In some instances, his days spilled over onto a second page.

The same was true with Bob Riley. His days, like Bentley’s, seemed to be planned from morning until night. Every day. Even on the weekends.

What’s happening with Kay Ivey should raise eyebrows and a ton of questions. Mainly: Can she actually do this job?

I think that’s a fair question at this point, after the public freeze-ups, the long disappearances, the managed time by her staff, the refusal to debate, and now these nearly blank calendar days.

And then there are two other questions:

Who is running this state?

And who are you voting for?

 

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Opinion | Can’t write too much about voting until it’s too late

Joey Kennedy

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Yes, I’ve been writing about voting a lot over the past few weeks. I’ll likely continue until the Tuesday, Nov. 6, midterm elections where, in Alabama, we also elect a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, justices to the state Supreme Court, and other constitutional offices.

There also are a limited number of local elections. Some constitutional amendments are on the ballot, so voters need to know about those.

And Alabama elects the seven members of the Alabama delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. There could be some competitive races between Republican incumbents and Democrats in some of those races.

Most important for potential voters: Monday, Oct. 22, is the last day people qualified to vote can register to vote. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of young voters who just turned 18 who aren’t registered. They need to so they can have a voice in the Nov. 6 elections.

And others, who have just felt they had no reason to vote are potential voters as well. But they have to be registered.

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Alabama is one of many states where Republicans, led by Secretary of State John Merrill, is trying to keep non-Republican voters away from the ballot box.

Republican efforts to suppress the vote have been successful over the past several elections. Republicans claim that it’s important to control the ballot to keep at-the-polls voter fraud at bay. That, despite studies that repeatedly have shown that there is very little voter fraud at the polls. It’s a guise Republicans use to keep voters they don’t like at home.

In Alabama, voters need to get to the polls. We have an unelected governor, Republican Kay Ivey, who refuses to debate her opponent, Tuscaloosa mayor and Democrat Walt Maddox.

Clearly, Maddox is much more qualified than Ivey, but Ivey, like most Republicans, are refusing to debate their Democratic Party opponents. That’s because they know if they go head-to-head with their more qualified Democratic rivals, they’ll be unmasked.

Just ask yourself: What have Republicans truly done to make Alabama a better state to live in? Sure, they tout a strong economy and new industries coming to Alabama. The truth is, those jobs were coming here anyway. And as far as the economy, this resurgence started under President Barack Obama, not Donald Trump. That’s the fact. That’s the truth. Low-information voters who would rather support Russia than a Democrat will never admit it, but facts don’t lie. Republicans do.

Point to one real effort Republican members of the Alabama congressional delegation have made to improve Alabama. What they are doing is folding under the Crazy Town politics of Donald Trump. The result, of course is that these “fiscal conservatives” have allowed the national deficit and debt to explode.

Year after year, the deficit is what Republicans pounded Democrats for, even as Democrats helped bring the deficit under control. Now, it’s expected with those Republican tax cuts for billionaires passed this year, the debt will go up at least $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future. That’s not being fiscally responsible, but too many voters don’t seem to care if their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to be in debt for the rest of their lives.

And on a whole range of issues, from climate change to protecting the environment to health care, Republicans are on the wrong side of history and the issues.

Important for older voters, many of whom vote overwhelmingly for Republicans, the GOP is targeting Medicare and Social Security to bring down the deficit they created with their tax cuts. The rich get their big tax breaks, while Social Security recipients and Medicare users face cuts that will hit them hard in their pocketbooks.

People will die because of their decisions.

Republicans stoke hate for the very diversity that helps make our country great. They are the party of white nationalists. They claim they care for children, yet allow the government to remove children from refugee families seeking asylum in the United States and throw them into cages. They revictimize women who have been sexually assaulted and raped.

What should we expect when a sexual assaulter occupies the White House and a sexual predator runs for the U.S. Senate on the Republican ticket?

This we’re-better-than-anyone nationalism Republicans love so much is not making America greater. It’s making America uglier than it’s ever been since slavery and the Indian wars of the 19th century and before.

So, yeah, I’m likely to write about voting for a few more weeks. Smart voters must make it to the polls this time. What we might become permanently isn’t very pretty if they don’t.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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Opinion | The Shorty Price story

Steve Flowers

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Since this is Alabama vs. Tennessee week and we have a Governor’s Race in three weeks, allow me to share the Story of Shorty Price.

Alabama has had its share of what I call “run for the fun of it” candidates. The most colorful of all these perennial “also ran” candidates was Ralph “Shorty” Price. He ran for Governor every time. His slogan was “Smoke Tampa Nugget cigars, drink Budweiser beer and vote for Shorty Price.”

In one of Shorty’s campaigns for governor his campaign speech contained this line, “If elected governor I will reduce the governor’s tenure from four to two years. If you can’t steal enough to last you the rest of your life in two years, you ain’t got enough sense to have the office in the first place.” He would use recycled campaign signs to save money but he rarely garnered two percent of the votes in any campaign.

Shorty loved Alabama football. Following the Crimson Tide was Shorty’s prime passion in life. You could spot Shorty, even though he was only 5 ft tall, at every Crimson tide football game always sporting a black suit, a black hat with a round top, his Alabama tie and flag.

I do not know if Shorty actually had a seat because he would parade around Denny Stadium or Legion Field posing as Alabama’s head cheerleader. In fact he would intersperse himself among the real Alabama cheerleaders and help them with their cheers. There was no question that Shorty was totally inebriated in fact, I never saw Shorty when he was not drunk.

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Shorty worshiped Paul “Bear” Bryant. Indeed Bryant, Wallace and Shorty were of the same era. Like Bryant, Shorty hated Tennessee.

Speaking of the Tennessee rivalry, I will share with you a personal Shorty story. I had become acquainted with Shorty early on in life. Therefore, on a clear, beautiful, third Saturday, fall afternoon in October Alabama was playing Tennessee in Legion Field. As always, Shorty was prancing up and down the field. I was a freshman at the University on that fall Saturday. Shorty even in his drunken daze recognized me. I had a beautiful date that I was trying to impress and meeting Shorty did not impress her. Shorty pranced up the isle and proceeded to sit by me. His daily black suit had not been changed in probably over a year. He reeked of alcohol and body odor and my date had to hold her nose.

After about 20 minutes of offending my date, Shorty then proceeded to try to impress the crowd by doing somersaults off the six-foot walls of Legion field. He did at least three, mashing his head straight down on the pavement on each dive, I though Shorty had killed himself with his somersaults. His face and his head were bleeding profusely and he was developing a black eye. Fortunately, Shorty left my domain and proceeded to dance with Alabama cheerleaders that day as bloody as he may have been.

Shorty was beloved by the fans and I guess that is why the police in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa seem to ignore Shorty’s antics. However, that was not the case in a classic Alabama game four years later. By this time I was a senior at the University and we were facing Notre Dame in an epic championship battle in the old New Orleans Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Eve. It was for the 1973 national championship. Bear Bryant and Ara Parseghian were pitted against each other. We were ranked #1 and 2.

One of the largest television audiences in history was focused on the 7:30 p.m. kickoff. It was electrifying. Those of us in the stands were awaiting the entrance of the football team, as were the ABC cameras. Somehow or other, Shorty had journeyed to New Orleans, had gotten on the field and was posed to lead the Alabama team out on the field.

As was customary, Shorty was drunk as Cooter Brown. He started off by beating an Irish puppet with a club and the next thing I knew two burly New Orleans policemen, two of the biggest I had ever seen, picked up Shorty by his arms and escorted him off the field. They did not know who Shorty was and did not appreciate him. Sadly, Shorty, one of Alabama’s greatest fans, missed one of Alabama’s classic games sitting in a New Orleans jail.

I have always believed that Shorty’s removal from the field was a bad omen for us that night. We lost 24-23 and Notre Dame won the National Championship.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

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Opinion | Maddox is pro-life, pro-gun — and the Ivey campaign is freaking out

Josh Moon

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The Kay Ivey campaign threw a bit of a hissy fit earlier this week.

You probably missed it, since it took place mostly on old fashioned radio and rightwing blogs, but there was outrage aplenty.

Because Walt Maddox, who’s running against Ivey for governor, released his first statewide campaign ad and revealed that he’s both pro-life and pro-second amendment.

And whooooo boy, the Ivey campaign went crazy.

In a bizarre, angry statement, Ivey’s handlers called Maddox a liar — an allegation for which they offered zero proof — and then tossed in some Sarah Palin-like buzzwords and pretended to be just aghast that Maddox would say such things.

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“Walt Maddox promises not to lie, yet he just told two lies in 30 seconds. That takes lying to a whole new level – even for a politician like Walt Maddox,” the Ivey campaign wrote, and then paused for a breath.

While that all might seem a bit over the top, it’s actually understandable.

Because the phony issues of abortion and guns are all the Ivey campaign has.

If they can’t use those, and instead have to run on Ivey’s record of staying the hell out of sight, they’re toast. And they know it.

So, they can’t sit idly by and allow Maddox to tell people what he believes. They have to attack him and call him a liar.

And as proof of his lies, they offer … well, nothing.

Because mayors, like governors, don’t have a voice in the abortion argument. So, Maddox has no record of opposing abortion. He has two children, so he’s at least been pro-life twice. And there’s nothing to suggest that he doesn’t believe exactly what he says he does.

As for guns, I have a newsflash for you rightwingers: lots of people on the left own and enjoy shooting firearms of all sorts. Quite a few of us are pretty good at it. And even more of us think that owning a gun for personal protection is a right that we’d like to protect.

The fact is there are a whole bunch of Democrats who fall all over the map on both issues. Because both issues, despite what the fringes of both sides would have you believe, are incredibly complicated and nuanced.

Of course, that’s not the way the Ivey campaign wants to present them. There’s only abortion and not abortion, guns and not guns.

But how Ivey herself would respond to the specifics of each question — for example, what would she do in the instances of rape, or does she favor stronger protections to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining firearms — is unknown.

That’s because she’s refused to debate, where the specifics of complicated issues often get exposed as candidates go back and forth and voters are given an opportunity to better understand the issues and the candidates’ positions.

Ivey has run scared from those, because she knows the truth.

Walt Maddox isn’t some super-liberal. He’s a moderate with a better track record of actually doing things. If Ivey participated in a debate with Maddox, and his actual views and ideas were presented side-by-side with hers, all the PAC money in the world couldn’t save her.

Instead of debating, Ivey continues to hide behind her PR people and participate in 2-minute press scrums and softball radio interviews — places where she can toss out folksy soundbites without ever being truly challenged on her beliefs, lack of ideas and zero accomplishments.

Her handlers are hoping to do just enough to distract voters from these facts.

Maddox took away two of their shiny objects this week.

That’s why they were so mad.

 

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A Disquisition on Greed in Politics, Part 3: Solutions to Greed in Alabama Politics

by Samuel McLure Read Time: 14 min
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