Ad Spot

Amusing political stories abound after 50 years in business

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–This may come across as a bit immodest, but I got a nice communication award a few days ago which I suspect was based not on my talents but on my longevity.
It was 50 years ago this fall that I covered by first session of the Legislature.
To put it mildly, I have seen a lot of water go under the bridge or over the dam…however that expression goes.
No matter, this anniversary of sorts has prompted me to do a little personal reminiscing about those crazy, wonderful years I have spent trying to keep up with Alabama politics and Alabama politicians. I have had a blast, and here are a few of the highlights:
The biggest stories that come to mind: The murder of Atty. Gen.-nominee Albert Patterson…the Civil Rights movement which led to the registration of hundreds of thousands of black voters…the era of George Wallace…the emergence of the Republican Party as a factor in politics…the impact of television on political campaigns…and linked to that, the proliferation of political action committees. (Think about it–if it weren't for the deep pockets of the PACs the candidates couldn't afford to buy all that TV time.)
Certainly there have been some memorable elections. The biggest upset in a gubernatorial election: Fob James coming out of nowhere in 1978 to beat the "Three B's"–Bill Baxley, Jere Beasley and Albert Brewer. (A close second, unknown Congressman Bob Riley defeating Gov. Don Siegelman in 2002.)
Certainly the Baxley-Graddick fiasco in 1986 is in my memory bank, and linked to that was the election and subsequent removal from office of Gov. Guy Hunt…our first Republican governor since Reconstruction.
The most historically significant election of my 50 years? That's easy…the George Wallace-Albert Brewer ugliness in 1970. A Brewer victory would have ended what came to be called the Wallace Era.
After winning in 1970 Wallace went on to win two more terms. Had he lost that year, it is most unlikely he would have been heard from again.
The most memorable people to grace the Alabama political scene?
Certainly George Wallace has to top the list…four terms as governor in addition to electing his wife Lurleen as well. He tops the list by a mile.
But certainly on my list are Gov. James E. (Big Jim) Folsom, who on his best behavior was a far better governor than he receives credit…Congressman Carl Elliott of Jasper, a truly good and great man who was a victim of his own integrity…U. S. Sens. Lister Hill and John Sparkmen, who made dents on the national scene like few Alabamians.
As to stickouts among state legislators I have known, I would bet the farm that if I polled those few survivors who have been on the scene for decades to determine the most effective, most powerful legislator of the past half century, the vote would be unanimous: Rankin Fite of Marion. He goes so far back that I suspect many of you don't recognize his name.
A lot of powerful legislators have come and gone, but in my mind there was never one to equal Fite, who served two terms as Speaker of the House. He asked for no quarter and believe me he gave none.
There have been many lawmakers who walked with a big stick, but none bigger than Fite's.
And appropriately it was Fite who shared with me my all-time favorite stories. He was trying to persuade Gov. Big Jim Folsom to hire one of his preacher buddies as a chaplain at a prison road camp.
Fite went on at length telling Big Jim what a great preacher he was, how many souls he had saved. Finally Big Jim told Fite to shut up.
"Preacher," Big Jim boomed, "I got one question to ask you: Are you my kind of s- of a b– or their kind of s- of a b–?
"Governor," the preacher replied, "I'm your kind of a a s- of a b–."
He got the job.

Morgan County

Stadthagen named to three legislative committees  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan’s jobless rate among lowest statewide  

Falkville

Looking ahead: Growth on horizon for Hartselle, surrounding area  

Hartselle

American Legion Post 52 hosts annual speech contest 

At a Glance

Falkville man killed in crash

At a Glance

Somerville shooting victim identified

At a Glance

Morgan students graduate from JSU

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Educator Hall of Fame to induct six  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Flying high: Hartselle senior is dual enrolled in aviation program 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Judge dismisses lawsuit that sought to invalidate hiring of new Hartselle superintendent 

Hartselle

HIS class of 2029 gives back 

MULTIMEDIA-FRONT PAGE

Priceville band raising funds for new uniforms

Morgan County

Morgan garbage rate increasing 20 percent 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Police: Hillsboro man sprayed ex with gas, set her on fire 

At a Glance

Hartselle native makes Dean’s List at Maryville College 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle native locates sandstone barren, secures $8k grant for outdoor classroom  

News

2023 deer hunting safety refresher

News

Falkville man arrested for of meth, fentanyl

News

Hartselle native locates sandstone barren, secures $8k grant for outdoor classroom

News

HJHS students ‘have a ball’ beginning American Character Program

lifestyle

In the community

News

MCSO answers common questions regarding permitless carry

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan students chosen for IMPACT 2023

News

Priceville man charged with child pornography

x