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.

Not everyone garnering political power in Alabama sits in the governor's mansion, the state legislature or in congress. Last week, APR political commentator Steve Flowers told us about Education Chief Paul Hubbert and the influence he had on the workings of Alabama government. This week, Steve talks about how Hubbert tried to take that power to a higher level...

APR commentator Steve Flowers often talks about Alabama governors, U.S. senators and other political heavy hitters, but not every person who wills influence sits in the governor's mansion, the legislature or Capitol Hill. Steve offers this example from Alabam's education system...

Alabama certainly has had its share of colorful characters - governors, lawmakers, civil rights leaders and even law enforcement officers. This week, APR's political commentator Steve Flowers remembers one Alabama lawman who made a name for himself early in his career...

Steve Flowers on Little Jim Folson

Jul 18, 2018

Steve Flowers gives a few thoughts on "Little" Jim Folson's carrer in politics and his connection to Mercedez-Benz coming to Alabama...

Guy Hunt became the first Republican Governor of Alabama in 1986. He had a wife that was the most beautiful, sweetest lady you've ever seen in your life. If you put the word humble in a dictionary, her picture would come up...

Otto Whittaker wrote the following essay, "I am the Nation," in 1955 as a public relations advertisement for the Norfolk and Western Railway company magazine. The message found in Mr. Whittaker's essay is still appropriate for this Independence Day; it goes like this...

Steve Flowers on John Patterson and Racism

Jun 28, 2018

John Patterson had been attorney general of Alabama at age 29. Wallace was making his first foray in the race for governor and so was Patterson. But Patterson became the candidate of the racists in the state...

When Wallace was elected in his last term as governor, I was elected my first term in legislature. Ironically, my district included Wallace's hometown of Clayton in Barbour County...

Steve Flowers on the 1982 Governor's Race

Jun 12, 2018

Fob James took the reigns of Alabama state governor January of 1979. His inauguration was a somewhat strange event, as Alabamians were used to a Wallace being sworn in as governor every fourth January since 1963...

Historically in Alabama, we've voted more heavily in our governor's race year than our presidential year. That's probably because we're more interested in the local sheriff and probate judge races, which run in gubertorial years, than who is president...

It was an amazing story - the three Bs - Bill Baxley,  Jere Beasley and Albert Brewer had been planning to run for governor for 20 years...

The 1978 governor's race between the three heavy weights - former Governor Albert Brewer, Attorney General Bill Baxley and Lieutenant Governor Jere Beasley - was expected to be titanic. All three men had last names beginning with the letter B; thus, the press coined the phrase "the three Bs..."

In late 1969, Brewer and Wallace met to discuss the governor's race. Brewer left that meeting and said Wallace had given his word that he wasn't interested in running for governor in 1970; soon thereafter, Brewer began a serious campaign for governor. It was early 1970 that Wallace surprisingly decided to run...

Upon Lurleen Wallace's death in May of 1968, Lt. Governor Albert Brewer moved up to governor. Brewer was no novice to state governor: he came to legislation for Morgan County at a very early age, he rose quickly to become speaker of the house during his second term and he won the 1966 Lieutenant Governor's race against two state senators without a runoff...

Ryan Degraffenried was going to win the governor's race, but of course, he died in a plane crash while campaigning; after Degraffenried's plane crash and death in February of 1966, the governor's race was wide open...

The 1966 governor's race had two stories: the Ryan Degraffenried story and the Lurleen Wallce story...

A special session of the legislature can be called by the governor, if he deems a dire emergency in the state government. This provision of the constitution gives the governor an inherent advantage in a special session...

Being a U.S. Senator was secondary in Alabama politics; governor is still probably the most important, glamorous political position today, but it certainly was [in 1962]...

As the 1958 governor's race dawned, the shadow of Big Jim Folsom loomed over the scene even though Big Jim couldn't be on the ballot - the Alabama Constitution prohibited a governor from succeeding himself...

When talk turns to politics in Alabama, it usually leads to the governor's race. It doesn't matter of the governor's race is four years away. In Alabama politics, the governor's office is a brass ring...

There's a proven theory by political scholars that's prevailed in Southern political history for decades - it's simply called "friends and neighbors politics"...

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...

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