Voters see economy as main issue

Published 3:06 am Wednesday, August 6, 2008

By Staff
All the national polling data this year points to the economy as being the major issue on voters' minds. The prevailing issue of the War in Iraq is a distant second. However, you would never know that Alabama was even a part of the nation if you perused the ads in the congressional races this year.
The Republican congressional candidates are touting their Christian conservative values and pro-gun rhetoric, but basically ignoring the economic recession and the unpopular and controversial problem of Iraq, much less how to deal with the massive national debt incurred by the invasion and occupation of the Mid-East country.
The most popular topic of attack has been illegal immigration. This issue is a hot ticket, especially in the Republican primaries. This is an issue that John McCain has flip-flopped on. He has heralded a soft position for years, but during the campaign has taken a hard line.
McCain is truly a genuine American war hero. His Vietnam War heroism and captivity has come to life in documentaries. His experience evokes respect and sympathy towards his life and career. It is also nostalgic to reminisce and reflect on that time in our nation's history. McCain will garner most of the veterans' votes. There is always a tendency for war time veterans to stick together. There appears to be a silent bond between these soldiers. This seems to be true among marines, who have a lifetime comradeship. This link is similar to the political loyalty bestowed on candidates who were members of the Church of Christ by North Alabama voters throughout the years.
The issue of illegal immigration has been a hallmark issue for Sen. Jeff Sessions. He is viewed nationwide as the most ardent and outspoken point man in the Senate for stopping illegal immigration by any means necessary.
On the state level, Gardendale State Senator Scott Beason has taken up the mantra and has staked out the issue to his advantage. Some observers predict that Beason has higher political ambitions and hopes to use the immigration issue as a springboard. Beason also bravely, but understandably, stood out as the only Senator to vote against passage of the Education Budget. He was like a voice in the wilderness when he stood up and said, “But it is not a balanced budget. It is predestined to go severely into proration.” The rest of the legislative body voted for passage knowing full well that Beason was right.
These two ambitions GOP politicians exploit the issue to the fullest. However, both have been the subject of ethical lapses themselves during the past year. Chapman has recently been accused of “double-dipping.” She runs a consulting business while serving in the fulltime position of Secretary of State.
One only has to spend a little time in Montgomery to see the immense power that lobbyist have in the Legislative halls of the Capitol. The same power permeates the Washington scene.
Steve Flowers is a political columnist. He may be reached at

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