Once upon a time the office of lieutenant governor
was a powerful post whose occupant appointed committees and set the legislative
agenda for Alabama 's upper house. But over the years political partisanship
and party infighting took away much of the authority the position once enjoyed.
Today the lieutenant governor does little more than preside over the Alabama Senate.
Which, considering the candidates
seeking the position, is just as well.
On one hand you have the Republican,
Luther Strange, a former lobbyist for many Big Mule businesses whose stock answer
when asked what he plans to do if elected has been to deny any real knowledge
of what goes on in Montgomery but to add that he is sure he can make it better
if he gets into office. It is one thing to run as an outsider (a strange stance
for a lobbyist if ever there was one) but it is quite another thing altogether
to tell voters that being clueless will be an advantage. For someone aspiring
to the second-highest office in the state not even to know, much less have a position
on, the widely discussed Amendment Two which will be on the ballot when he is
is reason enough to look elsewhere on election day.
And looking elsewhere you find Jim
Give Folsom credit, he knows his way
around Montgomery . He once held the office he is seeking now and briefly
was governor when Gov. Guy Hunt was forced out of office.
Such experience can work for and against
a candidate, and Strange's campaign has tried to link
Folsom to unsubstantiated claims of corruption and cronyism. On the other hand,
while in office Folsom did help bring Mercedes to the state; some believe that
had he been elected governor in his own right he would have set Alabama on a more
progressive course than was taken by the man who defeated him, Gov. James.
All of which is to say that of the
two candidates running for a job that has little power, the one we feel understands
the issues and the political process well enough to keep order in the Senate,
forge compromises between competing factions, and maybe even do some good for
the people is Jim Folsom.