December 16, 2017

BECAUSE HOUSES HAVE MIRRORS:

Alabama's Unlikely Rebel (HOWELL RAINES, DEC. 15, 2017, NY Times)

 In 1968, Paul Davis, an ace political reporter and my colleague at The Tuscaloosa News, sniffed out that former Gov. George Wallace, bored with life as "senior adviser" to his wife, then Alabama's governor, was pondering a run for president. He was pressuring two local Democratic lawyers, Richard Shelby and Walter Flowers, to fly to California to sue the state for ballot position in its presidential primary. The dangling carrot, as for every Alabama law firm then, was the right to represent the state in highway condemnation proceedings.

"I wouldn't do it," Mr. Shelby, now the state's six-term senator, told me by telephone from Washington on Thursday.

Mr. Shelby, who switched to the Republican Party in 1994, rebelled again last Sunday when he said on CNN that he would not vote for Roy Moore, the deeply flawed Republican candidate in the Alabama Senate race won by the Democratic dark horse, Doug Jones. [...]

"I did what I needed to do," the senator said in his soft drawl. "I've known Roy Moore for a long time." Mr. Shelby had been warned that the candidate was considered unsound by "die-hard Republicans" in Gadsden, the town where the 30-something Mr. Moore allegedly cruised the mall for teenage girls. "When the story of the 14-year-old girl came out, I thought, 'my gosh,'" Mr. Shelby said. "That was kind of the tipping point for me." He added, "We wanted that Senate seat above everything, but there are some things we don't need in Alabama."

Or in Washington. "I thought Roy Moore would be radioactive," Mr. Shelby said. "That theme ran right through the Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate. They were all concerned about him coming here."

"I took principle over politics," he added. "There comes a time when you have to stand up and I did and I hope I made a difference."

Posted by at December 16, 2017 6:47 AM

  

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