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.

Many of ya'll have heard of the famous story surrounding Harry Truman; ya'll have heard of the mistaken newspaper headline "Dewey defeats Truman" - that's when the Chicago Daily Tribune incorrectly reported that Thomas Dewey had beaten Harry Truman in 1948 for the White House...

Some of you folks in Northwest Alabama, around Jasper, may remember Carl Elliott; he was one of our most progressive Democratic Congressmen...

The Mobile First Congressional District has had quite a legacy over the last century. Alabama's first district has always been primarily made up in Mobile County...

The traditional 4th Congressional District, which stretches across North Alabama just below the Tennessee Valley,  has produced some of Alabama's most legendary and powerful congressmen... 

Our 2018 election is right upon us; historically in Alabama, we've voted more heavily in our governor's race year than for president. That's probably because we're more interested in the local sheriff and probate judges races...

The legendary speaker of the U.S. House Mr. Sam Rayburn coined a famous phrase he used often in appointing young congressmen when they'd arrive on Capitol Hill - "If you want to get along, you have to go along."....

Nobody will ever be governor of Alabama four or five times again. Wallace was in a class by himself when it came to politicians...

My first term was 1982 and Governor Wallace was serving his last term. He treated us legislators like kings. It didn't matter who was in his office, if you were a member of the legislature and you needed to see the governor about something for your district, he'd do anything he could to address your concerns or district needs...

At the close of each year, my tradition is to acknowledge the passing away of significant political leaders  from the political stage in our beloved state. We lost some icons this year...

Our legendary and iconic Governor George Wallace was Governor four times and his wife was governor once; Governor Wallace and Steve Flowers were close. Here's a story about their relationship...

In most states, the ultimate political prize has been to go to the United States Senate and die there. Being governor of a state, or most states around the country, is generally considered a prelude or stepping stone to a U.S. senate seat - not so in Alabama...

Wallace went to the historic, black Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery and asked for forgiveness from the African American community of Alabama. His conversion and contrition appeared sincere; they responded with forgiveness and rewarded him with their votes, and elected him their governor...

George Wallace was a legislative genius and master who used his skills to move most of his programs through the legislature. He knew the art of wooing and stacking legislators, and he had them eating out of his hand. ...

The words "political animal" were coined with George Wallace in mind; when you couple his desire with a unique, God-given ability to campaign, you have the ingredients for the ultimate political animal...

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...

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