The Spectacle Blog

Fred Barnes on Alabama’s Red Tide

By on 11.16.10 | 9:26AM

Fred Barnes has a very important piece in this week's Weekly Standard. He details the absolutely phenomenal gains by Republicans in Alabama in the recent elections:

The biggest Republican breakthrough was in the legislature, the heart of Democratic power in the state since Reconstruction. The turnaround was dramatic. The senate flipped from 20-to-15 Democratic to 22-to-12 Republican (1 independent). Republicans won 19 house seats, reversing a 60-to-43 Democratic lead (2 vacancies) and giving them a 62-to-43 advantage. Pretty impressive.

The Republican rout was all the more striking because Democrats in seemingly secure legislative seats were soundly beaten. In 2006, 6 of the Democrats who lost this year were unopposed and the other 13 won by an average of 25 percentage points. In the state senate, the losers had won four years ago by an average of 20 percentage points.

Sure, Alabama at the presidential level has voted Republican for many years. But the good-ol-boy Democrats, backed by the worst state education association in America, dominated the Legislature and blocked all sorts of reforms for years and years. Even with an excellent governor in the term-limited Bob Riley, the Legislature managed to keep in place a host of unethical practices and kept spending higher than it otherwise would have been. It also blocked charter schools. The new Republican triumph, though, will allow Alabama to become a laboratory for conservative reform.

Of particular note, the solidly conservative, thoughtful Luther Strange easily won his race for attorney general, and thus will fill a position that launched conservative stalwarts Jeff Sessions (U.S. Senate) and Bill Pryor (now a federal appellate judge) to stardom.

Go read Barnes' article for more. It's good news all around.

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