By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, in what can best be described as a theater of the absurd, a small number of Republican House members and one sitting U.S. Representative took to a cramped stage in Auburn, to denigrate the State’s justice system, while lauding Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, a man accused of 23 counts of public corruption.
According to several politicos, Hubbard sent the message far and wide, that House members better show themselves in Auburn for his pep rally…or else. It was made known that anyone who refused to show, would feel the wrath of “The Speaker.” Ironically, these are the same sick tactics that landed Hubbard in his current legal trouble in the first place.
Several House members hurried to Hubbard’s side out of fear and several attended due to a misplaced loyalty; but, very few actually came.
Of the State Congressional Caucus only U.S. Representative Republican Mike Rogers was also on hand to defend the indicted Speaker. In a speech that would have been better given by The Reverend Al Sharpton, Rogers, accusing the State’s sitting Republican Attorney General Luther Strange of practicing “Chicago-Style gutter politics.” This is so reprehensible as to beg for Rogers to draw some well-financed Republican opposition in two-years.
So readily did Rogers condemn the State’s leading law-enforcement officer, that one would have believed that a Democrat doppelgänger had replaced Rogers at the lectern.
With the fervor of a Nuremberg Rally, the assembled lawmakers and hangers-on, including lobbyist and former ALGOP Executive Director John Ross, cheered a man, who just a day earlier had been arrested for using his public office for personal gain.
What does this say about the judgement of Rep. Ed Henry, Rep. Jack Williams, Rep. Alan Harper, Rep. Matt Fridy, Rep. Alan Baker, Rep. Paul Beckman, Rep. Mike Ball, Rep. David Sessions, Rep. April Weaver, Rep. Jim Patterson, Rep. Kerry Rich, and Rep. Mac McCutcheon?
Three people from the Alabama Political Reporter counted the House members at the rally and could only find around 12 present. Under the headline, “Mike Hubbard after arrest keeps firm grip on speakership as GOP rallies behind him,” al.com reported that 40 House members where present at the Auburn rally. How is it that al.com, saw 40 House members, when three young men with good eyesight could only find around 12? (They also reviewed footage of the event to confirm the count.)
Many people do believe that Hubbard has a firm grip of the Speaker’s gavel, but that will change as more indictments fall into place.
And what of the House members who were at the pep rally? How is it that they would risk their public careers for a man who would gut-them and leave them bleeding by the side of the road if it suited his purposes? They must be drinking some powerful Kool-Aid.
Have their consciences become so void of logic and decency that they would applaud a man who is bankrupt in character and moral behavior?
Are they driven by fear or did they simply succumb to the irrational and illogical nature of Hubbard’s rhetoric, i.e., that Luther Strange has launched a political witch-hunt to advance his own political career?
Only in the theater of the absurd could such logic prevail. Do these lawmakers really believe the bizarre notion that Hubbard is being menaced by invisible forces from without?
Perhaps this falls into the category that if you tell a big enough lie and repeat it often enough people will eventually come to believe it is true.
Of course no one present could match the “cliché filled” nonsense uttered by Hubbard’s white collar criminal defense attorney, J. Mark White. Here is a man who has mastered the art of keeping a straight face while dispensing a cornucopia of false information, designed to, all at once, confuse and clarify a farcical set of facts. As a grand purveyor of fraudulent information, White has few equals in our State.
Silently standing off to the side of the stage was Senate President Pro Tem, Del Marsh. He didn’t join in the cheering, he just watched, quietly. One can only imagine what he was thinking as he witnessed these so-called Republicans trying to destroy Strange for the benefit of a con man like Hubbard.
Monday was a black day for Alabama; Hubbard arrested and indicted, once again showing that public corruption is a State commodity.
But, if Monday was a black day, Tuesday was a day of shame, because there, on a stage in Auburn, the spectacle of lawmakers, the cheering and the high-fives for their defense of a crook was on full display.
The Republicans told the people of our State that they would end corruption in our State.
It was a lie.
They didn’t end corruption, they took it to a new level.