Posted on | February 13, 2010 | 6 Comments
This was sort of a carom shot of my Alabama trip. My Monday American Spectator column included two paragraphs about Les Phillip, who is running for Congress in Alabama’s 5th District. Friday night, after the state GOP meeting in Montgomery, Ali Akbar and I hung out with Phillip — who smokes cigars — on the veranda of the lobby bar at the Renaissance Hotel. (Photo here.)
Professor Reynolds highlighted Phillip when he linked the column. So, Tuesday night I’m driving home through a blizzard when my cell phone rings and it’s Ali, calling from Phillips HQ in Madison, Ala.: “Glenn Reynolds is on the phone with Les right now!” And today his column appears in the Wall Street Journal with this:
One of the less-noted aspects of Mrs. Palin’s speech was her endorsement of primary challenges for incumbent Republicans, something that is already underway. Tea partiers I talked to hope to replace a lot of entrenched time-servers and to throw a scare into others.
One primary challenger is Les Phillip. He is running against Republican Parker Griffith in Alabama’s fifth congressional district. Mr. Phillip, a black businessman and Navy veteran who immigrated with his parents from Trinidad in his youth, got his start in politics speaking at a tea-party protest in Decatur, Ala., last year.
“Somebody had to speak,” he told me, “so I stepped up.” He did well enough that he was invited to speak at another protest in Trussville, Ala., after which things sort of snowballed. Of the tea partiers, he says, “Their values are pretty much mine. I live in a town in North Alabama where there are plenty of blacks driving Mercedes and living in big houses. Only in America can someone come from a little island and live the dream. I’ve liked it, and that’s what I want for my children. [But] I saw the window closing for my own kids.”
Mr. Phillip has gotten tea-party endorsements, as well as one from Mike Huckabee. The Republican establishment is siding with Mr. Griffith, who only recently switched from Democrat to Republican. That support is perhaps understandable as realpolitik, but it’s not the sort of thing that sits well with tea partiers, who think that too much realpolitik is what rendered the Republican Party corrupt and ossified over the past decade.
Read the whole thing. In another one of those small-world coincidences, Professor Reynolds also mentions Angela McGlowan, whom I profiled in a 2007 feature article for the Washington Times when she published her book Bamboozled., and who is now running for Congress in Missisissippi’s 1st District.
A little humor: At one point during our conversation Friday, I made a reference to which Les responded, “I know. I Googled you.”
Lies! All lies!