Understanding an Alabama storm: Want to study GOP takeover of Legislature? Read Hubbard’s book
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Jun 14, 2012 | 2453 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is history written by historians, history written by people separated from what happened by years and miles, and history written by those who dig into libraries and archives to find documents that tell a story.

There also is history written by those who made it.

In both cases, what is written is subject to (and subjected to) interpretation. Though a writer may claim to be objective, the truth is that whatever is written is seen through the eyes of the writer. This does not make the product unreliable; it means readers need to understand the author’s perspective to get the full value of the work.

This is why Storming the State House by Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Montgomery political consultant David Azbell is important. Not only will it tell readers how Alabama’s Republican Party was able to take control of both houses of the state Legislature — and hint at how the GOP took over the executive and judicial branches, as well — it will tell readers what the authors want them to know about the Republican rise to power.

As House majority leader and state party chairman, Hubbard, R-Auburn, broke with tradition and traditional campaign strategy when he decided to run candidates against incumbent Democrats. How those candidates were picked and why certain Democratic districts were targeted will give readers an inside look at how the GOP was able to pull it off.

However, the book’s value for future historians will lie in what the authors reveal about the issues that worked best for them and how voter opinion on those issues was detected and exploited.

Future historians will look at this work in an effort to understand the mind of the Alabama voter and the nature of the state Republican Party. Is the new majority party leading Alabama into a new era? Or did the strategists of new majority party recognize which issues were important to the majority of Alabama voters and tailor their message to appeal to them?

Storming the State House tells an interesting story. However, if it offers insight into the issues that motivate Alabamians, the issues that turn off voters, and how these issues were used to shape a campaign, it will be an important book, indeed.
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