By Sam McClure
Alabama Political Report
The Alabama Republican Party has some serious credibility issues as of late. The most powerful man in the Legislature, Mike Hubbard, was convicted of felony corruption charges. Governor Bentley is under impeachment investigations; appointed the man to US Senate who was responsible for delaying impeachment investigation; and continues his relationship with Rebecca Mason. Finally, the Alabama Republican Party failed to effectively protect Chief Justice Roy Moore from the devices of a militant left agenda.
From whence dost arise this credibility demise?
There are two kinds of Republicans in Alabama. The first kind believe in limited government, traditional families values, protecting unborn persons, promoting productive industry, and keeping the Federal Government out of Alabama’s business. Let’s call these the Principle Republicans. The second kind are only Republicans because that’s the box they had to check to get elected. The Republican Party is a necessary mantle to rise in power. Let’s call these the Power Republicans.
The contrast between these two kinds of Republicans was seen clearly last Wednesday in Montgomery.
House Bill 97 passed through the Education Policy Committee by the skin of its serpentine teeth. In short, it proposes to consolidate information about public school children and track them well into their careers. The illusory benefit of this endeavor would be to better equip school systems with data about how best to prepare children for the workforce.
I’ve never used an Orwellian analogy before, but this might be the right time. Gather, track, and house information about people throughout their lives? With no opt-out mechanism? And, how many millions will this cost Alabama? But, it should comfort us that Gov. Bentley appointed an advisory board. But, wait … how many people on the advisory board don’t stand to benefit economically from this bill?
Thankfully, Rep. Ed Henry and Rep. Isaac Whorton probed the committee on the egregious dangers of such and endeavor. What is the Republican party doing supporting legislation that expands government surveillance on its citizens? Isn’t that inconsistent with Republican party values?
If you can’t understand why a dumb animal is doing what they’re doing, look for the carrot.
It was only after 30 minutes of discussion and Rep. Henry’s courageous interrogation did it become clear that Gov. Bentley sought to push this agenda last year through an Executive Order, with the expectation of receiving money from the Federal Government for compliance. There’s the carrot – Federal Government money. It’s like a heroine addiction. Alabama gets $8.4 billion of it every year … is the third most dependent … but, we just can’t get enough.
But, what could really be the harm in this surveillance bill? After all, 47 other States have complied.
We should be scared, very scared. Why is the Federal Government paying the States to gather and consolidate data on it’s citizens? Harmless I’m sure. Yet, there off we go, like a dumb animal, following the carrot.
One kind of Republican, Power Republicans, wants to deepen Alabama’s financial slavery to the Federal Government, while another kind of Republican, Principle Republicans, fight to sound the alarm and persuade the party that we don’t have to follow every carrot the Federal Government holds out.
Rep. Ed Henry announced last week that the Republican caucus is seeing major tremors. There may be a split. Or, there may be a third party emerge. Or, nothing will change.
Candidates for all sorts of offices, for the November 2018 election, will begin to announce their ambitions over the next few months. Every State Representative and Senator will be up for election; the Alabama Attorney General; the Governor; and a host of other positions will be up for grabs.
As you consider who you support, please ask yourself whether this candidate is merely a Power Republican or are they truly a Principle Republican. Have they merely donned the Republican mantle because there was no other way to advance in politics, or do they have a track record of advocating for financial independence from the Federal Government, for promoting productive industry, for protecting life at all stages of development, and for protecting religious liberties?
A tree is known by its fruits, let’s take the time to taste and see.