By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
At last night’s State of the State, a keen observer would have noted the marked difference in the demeanor, confidence and future of Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Governor Robert Bentley.
In 2010, Bentley was the accidental governor, he was not the Republican machines choice but a man liked by the people. In contrast Hubbard was the embodiment of the establishment, le enfant terrible, who was to rule the State as if he were the gods’ own decree.
What a difference three years has made. Last night Bentley, was a man brimming with confidence, a leader who knows where he is going and how he wants to get there. Hubbard, looked diminished, worried and uncertain; a politico who had lost his way among the labyrinth of greed and corruption he had created.
Hubbard and Bentley couldn’t be more different. Bentley, the giving country doctor who treated patients whether they could pay or not and became a success by doing good. Hubbard, a self-absorbed climber who rose to power on the backs of other men and then used his power to manipulate and destroyed others for personal gain.
Bentley appears now as the statesman he has sought to be as governor. Hubbard is now the pariah his seared conscience lead him to become.
Our state is safer in the hands of Governor Bentley. But it will never truly be safe until Mike Hubbard is banished from the State House.
In the next month, the leadership of the Republican caucus will perhaps have an opportunity to remove Hubbard from state leadership. The question remains if they will have the courage to do so.
Much of this may rest in the hands of Governor Bentley. While he cannot remove Hubbard directly, his leadership and support could be the deciding factor for those who are willing to stand up for what is best for the State.
Let us pray that the Governor we saw last night, will lead the Republican leadership to do the right thing. The time for Hubbard to go is near, Bentley must lead to make sure he leaves quickly.