By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
For several years there has been a growing war within the ALGOP, factions that united to takeover the Statehouse have slowly been splintering. It seems that Alabama’s Republicans are not one big happy family.
Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina, begins with the line, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
The GOP family in Alabama is unhappy.
The factions exist primarily because of one man and his confederates who want to control everything.
The Republican Party even in Alabama was built on principle not on a man or any group of men. If core values of the party are continuously broken to gain or retain power, eventually, principled leaders will rise up and restore the party to the foundation of conservative principles.
Today, Mike Hubbard and his cohorts rule over most elected state officials in Alabama. Only a few are not beholden to his group and they have reason to fear Hubbard. Through shady deals, manipulation, threats and the accumulation of money, Hubbard has taken control of every aspect of the GOP save the Chairmanship of the ALGOP.
No matter now smart Mr. Hubbard is, one day his reign will run headlong into the Anna Karenina principle.
The Anna Karenina principle is describes as an endeavor in which a deficiency in any one of a number of factors dooms it to failure. Consequently, a successful endeavor is one where every possible deficiency has been avoided.
Aristotle states the same principle but with a moral aspect:
“Again, it is possible to fail in many ways, while to succeed is possible only in one way for these reasons also, then, excess and defect are characteristic of vice, and the mean of virtue; For men are good in but one way, but bad in many.”
A groundswell of freshman republicans and old school politicos are seeing the chinks appearing in the Speakers armor and there is a growing resistance. One such divide happening in the GOP is the clandestine battle Hubbard has been waging against ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead. Since Jay Love lost the ALGOP chairmanship to Bill Armistead there has been a rift between the two men. Love was the handpicked candidate of the Riley-Hubbard faction while Armistead was not. Armistead was not seen so much as the leader of a specific bloc as he was viewed as not being controlled by Hubbard.
At the time, Armistead was backed by Governor Bentley. This cemented the deal for his election as chairman. At this time, no one knows exactly where the governor stands. We are hearing from Hubbard’s propaganda machine that the Governor will endorse Matt Fridy for new GOP Chairman. It is difficult to judge what the Governor will do as he is known to have waffled on even his closest allies.
One thing is sure: lately, the Governor has come more under the sway of Hubbard and company. This is despite the fact that Hubbard personally dismisses the governor and often overtly and covertly works against the governor’s agenda.
Recently, Hubbard has been playing the governor, pandering to him as he has done with older men all his life. A look at Hubbard’s background shows that he has risen to power by ingratiating himself to older men who then pull him up one more rung on the ladder. In this case, Governor Bentley is standing on the rung that Hubbard believes is rightfully his.
In his drive to mollify the Governor, Hubbard has even placed one of his lackeys into the Governor’s inner circle as an advisor on dealing with the Tea Party’s cleaver move on his part. The Governor is afraid of the Tea Party because, at heart, Bentley is not a wild-eyed ideology. While running for the governor’s office, Bentley proudly proclaimed his ability to work with everyone including the AEA.
Hubbard is a man of singular ambition, a Georgia boy who has achieved great heights by hard work and cunning. His close associates say he is a man who sleeps little, works constantly, worries a lot and is highly paranoid. He is more Nixon, than Reagan. His guiding principles are self interest not conservative ideology. Hubbard is perhaps the most powerful man in Alabama, yet, he no longer controls the complete apparatus of the Republican Party. This he plans on correcting by removing Bill Armistead.
Over the last year, Hubbard through his emissaries and propaganda machine has produced a steady drip, drip, drip of information negative toward Armistead.
For the most part, Armistead has quietly gone about his business deflecting Hubbard’s attacks with real facts. The latest revelation about an audit of Hubbard’s tenure as ALGOP Chairman, conducted by Armistead, has led to accusations and recriminations between the warring factions. Armistead says he has not released the audit, Hubbard and Del Marsh have called for the audits release, and there is some talk of that happening.
So far, we know that the audit shows that Hubbard passed money from the GOP to a Florida company who then subcontracted to a Hubbard-owned business. This is believed to be highly suspicious. But as the Alabama Political Reporter has shown this is the least of Hubbard’s self-severing deals. Hubbard has used his power and influence to enrich himself at the GOP’s expense.
Our reports have shown with clarity a pattern and practice of Hubbard’s using PACs he controls to feed his media empire.
Hubbard, has used Indian gaming money to buy elections, made it clear that candidates should use his media companies for their campaigns and paid hundreds of thousands of dollar to his cronies out of the GOP coffers.
He has used PAC-to-PAC transfers to launder money and has, in my opinion, violated the ethics laws of Alabama while Chairman of the GOP and as Speaker of the House.
How much money has Hubbard’s media interests received in advertising dollars since he became Speaker of the House?
Why are the Jumbotrons at the Auburn stadium saturated with advertising from ADPH?
Oh, yes, Hubbard and his confederate dismiss these charges because it has not been printed in one of Alabama’s dying newspapers. However, the facts are there and are irrefutable.
But at the heart of the GOP war is Hubbard; he wants control and wants it now.
Just this week, one of Hubbard propaganda vehicles has been circulating a invoice that shows that the AEA purchased a table at the ALGOP summer meeting. This is somehow suppose to discredit Armistead. It was Winton Blunt’s idea to buy a table at the event. Not so unusual as you might think, because many republicans work at the AEA. Many republicans take money from the AEA. It is also not surprising that the AEA gave money directly to the Republican caucus. I guess Hubbard’s machine forgot about those donations. AEA is a political force, they are going to spread money around. They have bought advertising from us and I am happy to take it.
I am a capitalist and a conservative. I don’t have to agree with someone to let them spend money with me. Of course, I am not like Mr. Hubbard, who has his lieutenants solicits Indian gambling money and then denies it.
Armistead may be just the latest victim of the Hubbard machine.
It is a shame that I once believed in the republican party of Alabama. I am ashamed of what they have become. The GOP is suppose to be about principles. Men like Hubbard have turned it into a pariah of good government.
Armistead may fail and the governor may bend, but one day the principled men and women of the GOP will say enough is enough and take back the party. That is my prayer.