Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tim James' "Common Sense" Proposal

If I have had the chance to talk to you over the last couple of weeks, odds are that I have shared this dandy of a campaign promise. Yes, I have been smitten with ironic Tim James fever. But can you blame me? The man is a walking, campaigning punch line.

The ad is a liberal's dream come true. James plays into many of the stereotypes that liberals have about southern conservatives. His thick southern drawl, pandering to xenophobic voters, condescending delivery, and emotional appeal to "common business sense" all are stereotypes mocked by liberals and news satire like SNL and the Onion.

But James is tapping into more than just stereotypes about southern Conservatives. In 1990, Alabama voted on a Constitutional amendment establishing English as the only official language of Alabama. The good citizens of Alabama voted overwhelmingly in favor--it received 88% of the vote. However those pesky lawyers intervened and a series of lawsuits ensued culminating in a 1998 US Supreme Court case ruling that only the Alabama Governor could determine whether or not to make languages available in English only.

However, Governor Bob Riley chose not to do this. Concerns over Federal transportation funds conditioned on multi-lingual drivers exams funds derailed the application of the Constitutional amendment.

So it does appear that, if elected, James could easily make the executive decision to use English-only exams. But it would probably cost Alabama Federal funding. As a business man, does that make sense?

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