Steve Flowers

Steve Flower's Political Commentaries

Alabama politics is the source for great storytelling. And, few weave tales from the state's halls of power better than Alabama Public Radio's Steve Flowers. Every Wednesday at 7:45 am and 4:44 pm, Steve recalls the colorful characters from Alabama's past, including "Miss Mitty," who sat knitting in the same spot in Capitol, and could tell you the whereabouts of every ranking member of the legislature. Another is Alabama's former Governor "Big Jim" Folsom, who once spoke to the Governor of Utah like an old friend. Folsom thought he was from "Eutaw." Join Steve every week on Alabama Public Radio.

When George Wallace graduated from law school in 1942, the only job he could find was driving a dump truck for the state highway department in Tuscaloosa...

George Wallace was born to a farming family like most people in that generation, in 1919. The young Wallace was born in Barbour County, the home of Alabama governors. He was destined to be the king of Alabama politics and the most prolific governor and politician in Alabama history...

Current Alabama Supreme Court Justice Jim Main tells  a great story that involves Governor John Patterson and dates back to his experiences as a boy when he was a senate page...

Alabama has had it's share of  run-for-the-fun-of-it candidates. Our most colorful of all these perennial candidates was Shorty Price...

As one of America's most conservative states, we in Alabama have a history of electing very conservative senators. A conservative that served 10 years in the senate from 1968 to 1978 was the great Jim Allen. 

The traditional fourth congressional district, which stretches across north Alabama just below the Tennessee Valley, has produced some of Alabama's most legendary and  powerful congressmen...

In 1964, the so-called solid South was Democratic - more out of tradition and protocol than policy. Both national parties took the South and Alabama for granted in national elections...

The 1962 Alabama governor's race featured the modern media television for the first time. Big Jim Folsom had won his two previous races campaigning from the back of a flatbed truck making speeches throughout the state...

Big Jim always knew he wanted to go into politics and he got started in his twenties...

When Big Jim was governor in the 1940s, there no interstate highways, a lot of roads weren't even paved. It took longer to get around the state by car than it does now...

More great stories about Big Jim... 

Those of us who have grown up in and around Alabama politics have coined a descriptive term for a person who is totally obsessed with seeking political office. The term I like to use to describe this person is named for the man who best exemplified this obsession - George Wallace...

One of the all-time favorite Big Jim Folsom stories happened in the mid 1950s during his second term as governor...

A lot of people believed Big Jim was going to win a third term, but it didn't happen...

After sitting out four years, Big Jim entered the governor's race again in 1954, beating three state senators, the president of the public service commission and the lieutenant governor without a runoff; he beat them by challenging the big mules of Birmingham...

During the "Big Jim" Folsom era, Alabama had a history of what was called "learning to get acquainted race." If you wanted to be governor,  you ran your first race in hopes you'd run second to the winner; then you'd win the race four years later because you would've become acquainted with the voters...

James E. "Big Jim" Folsom is by far Alabama's most colorful governor. Big Jim was only the second governor in the state's history to be elected to two four-year terms before George Wallace rewrote the history books...

Suppose you're some person keenly interested in being the governor of Alabama one day; if that young person approached me and asked  what would be the best course to take to capture that brass ring, my response would be that many times the best way to look into the future would be to study the past...

Alabama's 1901 Constitution is as archaic as any in the nation; it has contributed to the poor image that persists today regarding our racist past. However, much of the damage was done during the 1960s - it was a fascinating and tumultuous era...

One of the most legendary dirty tricks ever played on a legislator still reverberates 60 years later...

The year 1948 was a pivotal year in Alabama and Southern politics...

Throughout the course of Alabama political history, there have been two pervasive and prevailing issues - race and religion. The race issue has remained dormant in Alabama politics for most of the first half of the 20th century...

In 1946, Senator John Bankhead died in office; this created a unique situation for John Sparkman. He sought the vacant senate seat, yet remained on the ballot for his house seat. Sparkman beat the field handily with a strong backing from labor unions - winning both races at the same time - making him the only person in American history to accomplish this feat...

Senator Lister Hill is probably our greatest U.S. senator in history.  Most of the rural hospitals in America and Alabama were built during his legislation...

Hired political guns have a reputation for success and meanness. These hired guns would usually find somebody or some entity to create fear and hatred against. In political terms, it's called "finding the boogeyman and running against him..." 

Legislative experience is pretty good training ground for governor, but the legislator is definitely not a good stepping stone to the governorship...

Some people think it's a myth and some people think it's a legend, but those of us who've been around Alabama politics have always referred to a place knows as Bucks Pocket. For decades, losing political candidates in Alabama have been exiled to Bucks Pocket...

We've got one of the best governor races in state history looming for next year. But, Alabamians have had a history of electing governors who have basically had no governmental experience, much less legislative experience...

Alabama has had its share of what I call "the run for the fun of it" candidates. Our most colorful of these candidates is William Ralph "Shorty" Price...

First Monday Trade Day was a must event for any serious, statewide political aspirer, especially for the advent of television...

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