By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, and Riley, Inc., have been crowing loudly since the primary elections. Little has been said about the five incumbent Republicans, (and one of Hubbard’s handpicked candidates in an open seat) who were soundly beaten by conservative pro-education members of the GOP.
If you count the three seats that were picked off in special elections, a total of nine pro-education candidates have bested Hubbard’s personally chosen representatives since he Stormed the State House.
If the same percentage of losses were calculated as a shift in the U.S. House of Representatives, that would be a pick up of 37 seat.
If the establishment leadership in the Congress were to experience such a loss, the front pages of every newspaper in the land would be running banner headlines, proclaiming victory. But here, all we hear is crowing from the losers.
Chairman of the ALGOP, Bill Armistead, made a fool of himself at the Summer Dinner sidling up to Hubbard.
On Saturday, he called out candidates who defeated Hubbard’s incumbent lieutenants, in essence saying that these winners had not been elected by real Republicans. He further stated that Hubbard was working with newly elected reps to bring them around.
Where does Armistead want Hubbard to bring these people around too? Does he want Hubbard to teach them how to use their office for personal gain; to learn how to threaten and bully; to bring “holy hell” down upon people; or does he expect them to bow before Hubbard as he has?
The candidates who won those elections are solid conservatives; they are just not Hubbardites.
What happened on June 3 was pro-education Republicans defeating Hubbard loyalists with the help of Alabama educators.
Teachers and educators were also the deciding factor in the recent special elections. Remember Charlotte Meadows?
Hubbard, along with Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh have worked diligently to destroy public education in our State. It is not because they want education reform, no. It is because privatizing education is a booming business for their wealthy donors, including Bob Riley.
Charter schools, voucher programs and scholarship funds are a way for corporate-owned schools to make billion off taxpayer’s funds. The party line is that this is the pro-business model, which will improve education.
If it is such a great idea to privatize education then why not use private funds and not state tax dollars?
Many in the Tea Party, as well as social conservatives are realizing that the so-called pro-business conservatives do not care about the bedrock values they hold dear.
No one need look much further than the alliance between pro-Common Core lawmakers and those who would privatize education. What the pro-Common Core, pro-business crowd really means is that they want government subsidized corporate-owned education, as well as what some believe is a Federal encroachment upon our values.
Of course the Hubbard candidates ran, claiming to be “Fighting against Obama-loving liberals” while embracing Obama’s takeover of education through Common Core.
Anyone who watches State politics with a critical eye understands that Hubbard, Riley along with Marsh, don’t care about our children. If they did, they would not push a Common Core agenda that is anathema to social conservatives. All that these men really hold dear is money and power. Only the ideologically blind can’t see that it is the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) that wants to spread Common Core and so-called school choice for financial riches.
This is not to say that expanding educational opportunities and flexibility is necessarily negative on its face. But when taxpayer dollars are used to enrich politicians and their corporate benefactors while using our children as pawns in the devil’s bargain, this is wrong.
The conservatives that beat Hubbard’s candidates are part of a growing coalition that is fighting back. By steady measures the conservatives who see this truth are making inroads into the House, to clean up after the Hubbard storm.
Many have pointed to the millions spent by the AEA to elect a small slate of candidates as a defeat for the teacher’s association. But Hubbard and his cabal outspent the AEA two-to-one and made no real gains on the ground. (They did pick up some seats through their redistricting efforts.)
There are times in battle when you must keep your enemy pinned down in one corner to beat him in another. Such was the case in the last primary. Hubbard had to spend almost a million dollars or $304 per vote to keep his House seat. This meant that he could not effectively help other candidates and had to spend his considerable war chest on himself. So dire was Hubbard’s situation that he had to call on Riley, Rep. Mike Rogers and others to save his skin, rather than them being available to campaign for other candidates.
The same was true for Marsh.
In an insurgent war, it is often wise to attack a foe just to let them know you can, to weaken them and perhaps establish an uncomfortable peace.
Yes, Hubbard, Riley, Marsh and even Armistead are crowing, but with the new dynamics in the House, it appears the chickens have come home to roost in a new nest.