News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2006


'Sir Charles' Barkley a catalyst for change

Charles Barkley for governor? Why not?

The outspoken, filthy rich and famous former Auburn University and professional basketball star is again saying he might run for governor, but four years from now.

If he does, he said, he will give up what status he has as an Alabama Republican and run as a Democrat.

What a shame that he is waiting four years. This year's primaries could have used his spicing up, with Gov. Bob Riley's re-election campaign on cruise control and Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley's running on less than a full tank of gasoline.

Mr. Barkley's threats in the past to run as a Republican candidate usually brought bipartisan chuckles. Great on the hardwood court and with a certain amount of charisma, Mr. Barkley is usually thought of as a less-than-serious candidate and somewhat of a joke in politics.

But state Republicans who seemed pleased he was on their side earlier are not laughing at his latest comments as he disavows the GOP. Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, chairman of the state Republican Party, quipped that it takes more than a publicity stunt to be governor. "It requires real leadership," she said.

Republicans probably didn't want him running for governor on their ticket because loose cannons require damage control. But they can't be happy with his latest comments that "I was a Republican until they lost their minds" and "What I've said is I'm rich like a Republican. But I'm not one."

He said some other things, too, like if it were not for Mississippi and Arkansas, Alabama would be dead last in everything, and that Alabama can do better in bringing up its poor children.

We are not sure how many Alabamians would vote for Mr. Barkley, but it is reasonable to assume that what he's saying resonates with voters this year.

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