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Political strife strikes again

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–Not in my memory has the old expression about politics making strange bedfellows been quite so appropriate as it is now in the campaign for and against Gov. Riley's accountability/tax package.
No where is this truth more evident than in the positions adopted by the top men of the Republican and Democrat Parties.
Marty Connors, the State GOP Chairman, has come down with both feet in opposition to the plan espoused by the Republican governor; Redding Pitt, who holds the same post with the State Democrat Party, has declared his "enthusiastic support" for the plan.
Connors said what scared him about the proposal is that he "didn't trust the legislature and the teachers union that controls the legislature."
Since much of the $1.3 billion the package would generate is unearmarked, the legislature would have a strong voice in determing how it would be spent. Connors said he feared the legislature would use the money for purposes other than what Gov. Riley intends.
Another example of the "Strange Bedfellow" rule: The predominantly black New South Coalition….overwhelmingly Democratic in elections…has also endorsed the Riley plan. This endorsement came in spite of the fact this group is incensed with Riley for having vetoed the bill which would have automatically restored voting rights to ex-felons.
An amusing sidebar to an otherwise serious issue was an editorial in the Arizona Republic last week which drew comment from The Birmingham News.
The Republic noted the upcoming tax election in Alabama and with tongue in cheek expressed the hope the plan would be rejected. If it passed, the editorial noted, Arizona would be ranked lower than Alabama in its support of public education and other programs.
"We need Alabama to remain dismal. It helps save Arizona from being all alone in the cellar."
In the past there was an expression often used by Alabama officials… "Thank God for Mississippi"…because in so many rankings Mississippi was the only state that ranked below Alabama.
Now folks in Arizona are saying "Thank God for Alabama."
A district court judge has ruled the monument must go, and recently a panel of three U.S. Circuit judges unanimously unheld the lower court opinion.
Moore is now debating whether to appeal that decision to the U. S. Supreme Court but that seems to be constitutionally futile as well.
But while Moore is losing the legal fight he is winning the public opinion fight. Overwhelmingly.
A poll conducted by the University of South Alabama under the auspices of the Mobile Register showed that a whopping 77 percent either "strongly approved" or "approved" of Moore's efforts to keep the monument where it is today. Ironically, the same people who so strongly supported Moore's efforts had strong reservations about state money being used to finance the legal fight he is waging.
A number of black polical leaders in Montgomery howled discrimination, but the following day the police showed surveilance camera videotape of what was going on at the Mall…fights, harrassment of customers, profanity…to a group of black ministers and church leaders and they agreed with the action taken by the police.
In fact, several of them ridiculed the black political leaders wh called the action "racial."

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