The legend behind the political Bucks Pocket

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 1, 2006

MONTGOMERY&8212;-I knew when I said it that it would not go unnoticed.

Last week I was interviewed on a local TV station about the 2006 gubernatorial election and in passing I noted that three of the four announced candidates would end up at Buck&8217;s Pocket licking their wounds.

The phone began to ring only moments after that interview ended.

Where and what is Buck&8217;s Pocket, the callers wanted to know.

First off let me say that Buck&8217;s Pocket is an honest to goodness place in Alabama…it is a state park which sprawls over parts of three counties in Northeast Alabama: Jackson, DeKalb and Marshall.

But more to the point, how did this isolated park become a part of Alabama political legend?

I cannot attest to the authenticity of this story, but here is how it was told to me.

During his 1946 race for governor in the Democratic Primary, James E. (Big Jim) Folsom was in a spirited contest with Lt. Gov. Handy Ellis and Agriculture Commissioner Joe Poole.

(Gordon Persons and Elbert Boozer were also in the race but they were not factors.)

In one of his stump speeches he said he was going to whip Ellis and Poole so bad they would have to go to Buck&8217;s Pocket to lick their wounds.

Apparently he knew where Buck&8217;s Pocket was although at the time it was not a state park.

No matter, for decades the expression has been used…Buck&8217;s Pocket is a &8220;recovery room&8221; for defeated politicians.

By the way, Gov. Bob Riley, Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley and former Chief Justice Roy Moore have never been to Buck&8217;s Pocket…they have never lost a race for public office.

Former Gov. Don Siegelman will not need a map to find it should he lose in 2006.

He has been there twice…he lost a bid for governor in 1990 and another for the same office in 2004.

Madison County Commissioner Morris (Mo) Brooks, an announced candidate for lieutenant governor as a Republican, said he will push for a new law making it a crime for employers to hire illegal aliens.

In addition, his proposal would provide financial rewards for whistle-blowers who turn in the violators.

&8220;The cause of Alabama&8217;s illegal alien disaster is simple: Too many people hire illegal aliens despite their illegal status,&8221; Brooks said. &8220;These people are motivated by personal profit and care not one twit about the damage their conduct inflicts on the rest of Alabama.&8221;

Brooks noted the recent shooting death of a Huntsville policeman by an illegal alien as well as several fatal automobile accidents involving illegal aliens motivated him to propose this new law