Steve Flowers' Political Commentaries

Wednesdays at 7:44 am and 4:44 pm
  • Hosted by Steve Flowers

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.

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...

Steve Flowers on George Wallace Part Six

Dec 5, 2017

There's never been a man or woman born that loved politics more than George Wallace. He was born to be in politics; he lived it and breathed it...

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...

Steve Flowers on Jim Martin Part One

Sep 20, 2017

Martin left Washington and decided Alabama at least needed a two-party system and he would be the sacrificial lamb to take on Lister Hill...

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...

Steve Flowers on "Big Jim" Folsom Part Three

Jul 27, 2017

Big Jim was sworn in early 1947 and began to work with his famous farm-to-market road program. This work is what he's most remembered for today; in fact, most rural roads in Alabama were paved by Big Jim Folsom in his farm-to-market road program  ...

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...

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