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Hartselle Enquirer

Folsom takes a down-home approach

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Capitol Scene
Being a writer of sorts myself I don't like to admit this, but I think some of the best writers around are those anonymous folks who come up with ideas for bumper stickers.
Now comes yet another clever one.
With it common knowledge that Gov. Riley is overwhelming Lt. Gov. Baxley in raising campaign funds, a Baxley supporter has come up with a bumper sticker reply: “Make him spend it all, Lucy.”
Those lyrics came to mind when Jim Folsom, Jr. launched his TV campaign last week.
Folsom, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, opened his spot by seeking to portray himself as the average guy, touting his “two kids, three dogs and four shotguns.”
And then he aims one of those guns at his Republican opponent, Luther Strange, who lives in the high-rent district of Birmingham.
And that reference to tennis and Mountain Brook reminds me of that “song I've heard before.”
In the 1990 race for the U. S. Senate, Democrat incumbent Howell Heflin described his Republican challenger, Bill Cabaness — also a resident of Mountain Brook — as a “member of the silk stocking club, part of the Grey Poupon crowd.”
And then Heflin really got carried away, saying that Cabaness was a “Mercedes-driving, polo-playing, Jacuzzi-soaking, Gucci-wearing, Perrier-drinking, debutante-dancing, Richie Rich Republican from Mountain Brook with a home in Kennebunkport.”
Actually trying to pit the common man against people of wealth goes further back than that.
In 1970 George Wallace ridiculed Albert Brewer in an ad because he got his hair cut at the Country Club — by appointment.
Barron, the all-powerful president pro tem of the state Senate, for a number of years owned and profited greatly from as many as 20 so-called payday loan businesses.
However he recently divested his interest in those operations, and last week, campaigning for reelection, he called for legislation to reform those lending operations.
His Republican opponent in the Senate race, Don Stout, called Barron's about face “ridiculous and hypocritical.”
These small loan operations have been the target of consumer advocates for years, but with little success.
Under existing laws they are allowed to collect up to 17.5 percent in interest over a two week period, and repeated extensions of these loans can mean interest rates as high as 400 percent annually.
Despite the current flap between the two contenders, Barron remains an overwhelming favorite to be re-elected in one of the most heavily Democratic districts in the state.
A widely read political newsletter caused the stir when it predicted that Rice might step aside as the GOP nominee and then the state GOP Committee would appoint Wallace — who vacated a seat on the PSC to make what proved to be a losing race for lieutenant governor.
No way, said Rice, and Wallace said the same thing. In fact Wallace went further: “I am out of politics and if the nomination were offered to me I would not accept it.”
Rice will face long-time incumbent Democrat Jan Cook in the General Election.

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