Lucy calls writer on the carpet for age remarks
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY – When the phone rang at my home the other night and I saw the name on the caller ID, I knew I was about to be scolded.
Lucy Baxley, Democratic nominee for governor, was on the line. She couldn't have been nicer; that is one of the reasons so many people love Lucy. But she had a few things to say about a recent column I had written.
What I wrote was that the winner of the lieutenant governor's race in November — be it Luther Strange or Jim Folsom, Jr. — would immediately become one of the frontrunners for governor in 2010.
My reasoning was that Roy Moore and Don Siegelman are surely gone forever as major players (if Riley wins in November he can't run again in 2010) and if Baxley wins in November she would probably not run again because of her age. That was a bad mistake.
Lucy opened her barrage by reminding me that only a few days earlier I had been given a party for my 80th birthday.
"You are still writing a column, doing political commentaries on TV, making speeches, at 80," she noted. "In 2010 I will be a lot younger than you are today, so why are you putting me out to pasture so early? That sounds like hypocrisy to me."
I couldn't disagree with the point she made. All I could do was promise her I would never suggest that she would be too old in 2010 to run for a second term.
The moral of this story: Don't ever say anything about a woman's age.
He will have a challenge when he takes over as the top man of the community colleges on Aug. 15. There is a stench about them that is almost suffocating.
Recent disclosures by the Birmingham News turned up evidence of the most blatant nepotism one could imagine: kin and political friends of the former chancellor and of some of the college presidents holding choice jobs and institutions all over the state.
Even more serious were the charges brought against Bryant Melton, a legislator from Tuscaloosa County who also had a choice job with Shelton State Junior College. He already pleaded guilty to charges of taking more than $68,000 in state funds from an account linked to Shelton State. He also admitted using the money to pay off gambling debts. Federal prosecutors say other indictments in this case will come soon.
The bottom line is that a major house-cleaning is needed, and Dr. Corts — whose middle name ought to be "integrity" — has been chosen to do the house cleaning. He will need a lot of foaming cleanser to wipe away this mess.
There are certain personalities who do indeed play the press like a piano. They know precisely what to say, when to say it, to get their name in the newspapers and on the six o'clock news.
Charles Barkley, the one-time basketball superstar, is one of them. Last week he was tickling the ivories again; he made the front page of most of the Alabama newspapers and he was all over the six o'clock news shows on TV. He even made ESPN.
Barkley attracted this attention when he said he was giving serious thought to running for governor of Alabama as a Democrat in 2010. That Barkley would be a delightful candidate to cover, what with his skill with the quips, is a given. I would love to cover a Barkley campaign.
Surely you remember his classic quote after he was arrested for throwing a man through a plate glass window at an Orlando restaurant.
When asked if he regretted what he did, he replied: "My only regret is that we weren't on a higher floor."
I would bet the farm — if I had one — that Barkley will never run for governor of Alabama. And if he did, he wouldn't get enough votes to count. But every time he says he might run he will get some ink and some TV air time. He knows how to play that piano. In fact, he's better than Liberace.
Bob Ingram's syndicated weekly political column appears in dozens of newspapers across Alabama. He is a native of Cherokee County.