By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In Indiana and South Carolina, Republican wrong doers are forced to resign office.
In Alabama, they get a cheering squad.
Speaker of the House, Republican Mike Hubbard, has been arrested and charged with 23 felony counts of public corruption, yet, so far, not one State Republican has called for him to step down as Speaker or resign his House seat.
When Indiana Speaker Pro Tempore, Republican P. Eric Turner was found to be lobbying to kill a bill that could have potentially caused a loss of millions for his family business, he was removed from his position—by the Republican Caucus. He was later forced not to seek reelection under pressure from the State’s Republican leadership.
South Carolina’s House Speaker, Bobby Harrell, will resign his office this week, due to misdemeanor charges that he used his office for personal gain. According to a quote by John Crangle, an attorney and director of the advocacy group, S.C. Common Cause, in a Post and Courier report, “South Carolina’s precedent is to force the resignation of those accused of crimes similar to Harrell.”
However, here, in Yellowhammer State, Gov. Bentley said, “The people of Alabama need and deserve to know the facts in this case, I ask that everybody withhold final judgment until all the facts are known and the legal process has run its course.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairman, Bill Armistead, who is also standing by his man said, “America is the greatest country in the world, and one of the most sacred principles that we have in our criminal justice system is that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. The timing of this indictment, just two weeks before the election, causes one to wonder why now, unless it is for political purposes.”
It seems Republicans in the Palmetto State and in the Hoosier State, refuse to tolerate even a hint of wrong doing, while here, people and the Party are told to wait, and withhold judgement. The Party bosses are even talking about the whole affair being politically motivated, despite the fact that the indictments were the result of an investigation by the Republican Attorney General’s Office.
Republican Rep. Mac McCutcheon, who many thought would be an honest replacement for Hubbard, was at the “I Like Mike,” pep rally. Not only was he there as a cheerleader, he actually took to the lectern to defend Hubbard, and extoll the virtues of his leadership. At the rally, that mocked and ridiculed the State’s top law-enforcement officer for indicting Hubbard, McCutcheon, said, ”Mr. Speaker, you’re our friend and you’re our Speaker, and we support you.” In his extensive praise of the indicted Hubbard, McCutcheon, added, “And here we are today because he has taken a stand for what is right and good in Alabama.”
The man who many thought should be the next Speaker, thinks that Hubbard has done, “right and good,” even though a year long investigation has resulted in a Grand Jury of Hubbard’s peers indicting him of public corruption.
When Democrat lawmakers were indicted in 2010, this was one of the more familiar quotes:
“The ongoing investigation and subsequent arrests should serve as a referendum on the culture of corruption that has been prevalent in Montgomery for far too long. It is our hope that today’s action by the Obama Justice Department will lead to a systematic change in the Alabama Legislature, and one that will put transparency back into the people’s government.”
That statement was delivered by then Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party and the Minority Leader of the House, Mike Hubbard.
Hubbard called it a culture of corruption, when Democrats were arrested. Today, he calls his arrest and indictment a “political witch hunt.”
South Carolina and Indiana Republicans seem to put law and order above party politics. Too bad the same can’t be said about those in the Alabama Republican Party, who are sitting on the sidelines while Hubbard still runs the show.