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Alabama State Senate District 13: Republican Gerald Dial Plays the Race Card on Home Rule?

by: countrycat

Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 16:44:59 PM CDT

Ashland attorney and Democratic candidate for District 13, Greg Varner, is reporting on his campaign blog that former Democratic Senator Gerald Dial intends to qualify and run as a Republican this year. Greg VarnerThe current Democratic Senator, Kim Benefield, isn't running for re-election.

Alabama Senate 13The Political Parlor wrote about this possibility last November, but speculation increased the past week as the April 2nd filing deadline gets closer.

It looks like a done deal, as Varner noted:

At the event, Gerald Dial announced that he would qualify to run this Friday as a Republican. 

Varner's whole blog post discusses his support for Constitution reform and it's well worth taking the time to read the whole thing.  As a taste, here's the jaw-dropping part:

During his [Dial's] “announcement speech,” he made an argument against constitutional reform that I have not heard and, to be frank, do not understand. He contended that “home rule” was a dangerous principle. For example he argued that, “if we had had home rule, Lowndes County would not have any white land-owners.”  I cannot follow this argument at all. If local government raised taxes, it would be on everyone, black and white. If they imposed a tax just on whites, the Fourteenth  Amendment to the United States Constitution would stand in the way. Accordingly, I believe this to be a mere scare tactic.

Scare tactic?  I admire Varner's restraint.  I'd call it lunatic fringe, wingnut race-baiting - which goes a long way towards explaining why I could never run for office...

More excerpts from Varner's post on the flip.

countrycat :: Alabama State Senate District 13: Republican Gerald Dial Plays the Race Card on Home Rule?

Third, a new constitution provides us an opportunity to break the concentration of power in Montgomery and decentralize the functions of government. I believe that most political power should reside in local towns and communities (“home rule”), not the salons and backrooms of Montgomery.  As Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite public agents to corruption, plunder and waste.” –Thomas Jefferson to Gideon Granger, 1800. ME 10:167

Fourth, since the document was intended to prevent local control, Montgomery acts as a big, ineffective city council, handling mundane local issues. In addition, the entire state has to then vote on these matters.

Intrigued, I checked out Varner's Web site for more information about him.  He appears to be a clear economic populist who thinks we have a moral obligation as a state to address poverty and economic inequality:

Alabama must reject the policies and programs which have created a growing concentration of economic power and control for the wealthy. In the words of the Christian essayist, G.K. Chesterton, the problem with the modern, deformed, version of capitalism is that it creates too few capitalists. What passes for “capitalism” today hardly resembles the principles advanced by Adam Smith, the father of free markets. It is better described as cronyism


As part of government’s calling to pursue public justice, it is our duty to work for, not against, those in need.


We, the people of Alabama, must work to break the concentration of power and rebuild wealth-producing assets and savings to the working people of Alabama.

  • First, we should remove inequitable taxes, such as any grocery sales tax, off the poor and working people of Alabama.
  • In order to develop savings habits, we could match, dollar-for-dollar, the savings of children from lower-income families.
  • We need to consider developing programs, supports, and money incentives that would allow actual workers to buy-out plants in their communities that are closing or moving.
  • Lastly,  let’s consider being more proactive in our lending to micro-sized business ventures for the poor and working classes. Tested working models of these programs exist all over the world; if we have the will, the world can show us the way.

Wow.  Just. Wow.

Of course, nobody's perfect, so I'm sure some (including me) will disagree with his up-front "pro-family, pro-life" stance that he defines as being anti-choice and anti-marriage equality.  However, I was heartened by this bit about the importance of supporting families.  He's honest about his opinion, but doesn't stoop to gay-baiting and self-righteousness:

Over the past 20 years, however, our leaders have held on to a philosophy which valued free markets over family security, free trade over family traditions, and commercial values over community values.

While I believe we must oppose homosexual marriage, other threats to the family pose more immediate and widespread danger, divorce being one of the most hurtful.  Divorce is emotionally and financially hard on children, the couple, and extended family. Another widespread danger to the family is children born to unwed mothers. Between 1960 and 2006, the black community watched as single parenthood increased by 155%; among whites, it increased by 229%. Today, 40% of all babies are born to single parents.

here, he talks about how the US is the only country without paid parental leave and how the financial burden for nursing home care and assisted living could be mitigated if we supported families who wanted to care for their elderly relatives at home

For most in District 13, it is time Alabama became authentically pro-family.

Varner isn't perfect, but he's a darn sight better than what I've come to expect from many Alabama State Senators.  Certainly, he's head and shoulders above Mr. "No White Land-Owners" Dial.

According to the Randolph Leader, Heflin attorney and former Clebourne County engineer, Russell Emrick, has also qualified to run in the Democratic primary.  I can't find a Web site for him though.  Does anyone have any information?

Also, any information about District 13 in general would be great!  Feel free to weigh in with comments, facts, and figures in the comments section.


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I like a lot of what he says. (4.00 / 2)

The republicans can have Dial. How sad that he was counted as a democrat with that kind of attitude. It is beyond sad, it is downright embarrassing.

I'm with you. (4.00 / 1)

I like a "lot" but not all.

But hey, we could do SO MUCH WORSE.  And Varner is really up front about his religious beliefs, but doesn't use them to condemn others.  Rather, he seems to use them as a moral and ethical guideline for himself.

Sadly, that's a refreshing change from a lot of our Alabama politicians.

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith

[ Parent ]
You would be surprised (0.00 / 0)

How many Alabama Democrats actually talk and act like Dial, but doesn't express it until they are pushed into a corner... 

I've become very leery of a number of Alabama Democrats (especially the ones from practically homogeneous districts) in general because most doesn't seem to show the foritude to be more open-minded and outspoken about how ignorant their counterparts are in the Republican and socially conservative fold.  Instead they pay lipservice to them or just sits there let them get away with it without saying how igonrant and bigot it truly is so that those certain demographic of likely voters doesn't vote against them...



"Hypocrites are those whom pick and choose prejudices while giving accolades for their own..."

"It is what it is."  


[ Parent ]
You would be surprised (0.00 / 0)
The problem is that most Alabama Democratic candidates outside of the major urban areas doesn't count on their constituency to be as open-minded and enlightened as yourself, Mooncat, so they will pander to the lowest common denominator of their respective district to win.  It's quite common in this portion of the South in general because all you have to do is look around here and other Southern states at how their rural Democrats operates.  Hence, why I'm so leery of them because they do more double speak than the typical politico on issues that have more social judicial ramifications like home rule.

"Hypocrites are those whom pick and choose prejudices while giving accolades for their own..."

"It is what it is."  


[ Parent ]
Dial is a troglodyte, williing to pit race against race for votes. (4.00 / 1)
Please tell me he can't win with that campaign speech.

Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten. Cree Nation Tribal Prophecy

Remember, he used to hold this seat (4.00 / 1)

But Kim Benefield beat him in the Democratic primary in 2006.  That was really a pissing contest between Dial (who sided with the Republicans) and Lowell Barron who wanted to remain Senate President Pro Tem.

Honestly, some of the folks who have recently run under the Democratic banner in Alabama just blow my mind.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
The problem with a contest between Gerald Dial and Lowell Barron (4.00 / 2)
Is that they can't both lose.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
- John Adams

[ Parent ]
Actually, they could (4.00 / 1)
Since they weren't running directly against each other.  And they kinda sort of did both lose.  Dial lost his Senate seat, and Barron had to give up the Senate President Pro Tem spot, although he's still a very powerful Senator.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
You give them too much credit (4.00 / 1)
The problem is that most Alabama Democratic candidates outside of the major urban areas doesn't count on their constituency to be as open-minded and enlightened as yourself, Mooncat, so they will pander to the lowest common denominator of their respective district to win. It's quite common in this portion of the South in general because all you have to do is look around here and other Southern states at how their rural Democrats operates. Hence, why I'm so leery of them because they do more double speak than the typical politico on issues that have more social judicial ramifications like home rule.

"Hypocrites are those whom pick and choose prejudices while giving accolades for their own..."

"It is what it is."  


[ Parent ]
I'm more than leery. (4.00 / 1)
I'm downright outraged! No wonder our state party is so ineffective.

[ Parent ]
Home rule arguments (4.00 / 1)

While Dial's argument against home rule is, well, fill in the blank here, it does bring up something to consider.  One of the tactics we supporters of constitutional reform have to make an argument for is to point out the benefit of home rule in areas that don't trust their local issues.

Rep. Paul DeMarco illustrated this about a month ago at the Open Secret premiere.  There, he raised the question if Jefferson County voters wanted more home rule for the county commission.  Based on the sewer issue, that might not be the most popular idea there.

What are arguments to use with those who do not trust government?

The 13th was "home" as ... (4.00 / 1)

Roanoke was where I lived for almost all my life. I've known Greg for at least a decade and Russell for about three years.  Both are fine men. Either, or for that matter pretty much anyone, would be better than Gerald Dial.

Russell got in late but the main thing is that Greg's depth on the issues is awe inspiring.  He's as genuine as perhaps anyone I've known.  He's able to talk and write on ideas in way which I think the LIA community would appreciate.  

 I certainly support a woman's right to make her own reproductive decisions and favor the freedom to marry whomever you love but I respect Greg's own views, especially how he moves past them to areas in which likely most of us can agree.  

Greg is on Facebook and Twitter.  Look at his record and help please him if so inclined. 

I've know Kim Benefield for decades and hate to lose her but cannot stress how fortunate the 13th and Alabama is to have men like Greg and Russell stepping up to fill her shoes.  If anyone wants more info, please email me at johnralphgunn @ gmail as I could go on and on about this neck of the woods.

As for Gerald Dial, the 2006 campaign was brutal and very expensive.  I guessed that each vote 'cost" about $75 as the Big Mules poured money into the race.  A source told me that "Dino" polled better the further one measured from his own Clay County.  

I am interested to see how the Alabama GOP will handle this 2010 campaign as this is Riley's home.  Some of you also may recall that Dial appeared in Riley commercials when he ran against Lucy Baxley. 

i got to know Greg a few years ago (4.00 / 1)
he's a good guy. I think he would be a good State Senator.  

[ Parent ]



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