By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Gov. Robert Bentley said that he would like to be the greatest governor the State has ever known, not for vanity’s sake, but because he loves the people. He said that he wants to make life better from every Alabamian. This is a noble goal and one worthy of his character, but will he do what is necessary make this goal a reality?
The greatest obstacles to his journey to greatness will be Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and the shadow government of former Gov. Bob Riley and BCA Chairman Billy Canary. From the Accountability Act to the Budget and teacher pay raises, this gang of four has defied, mocked and even lied to Gov. Bentley. These are dishonest brokers, who for money or power, will do anything to remain in control of the State for personal gains (Personal gains are not always about money, as is the case with Marsh, who craves power).
In his first run for Governor, candidate Robert Bentley said the State was sick and needed a doctor. Today, the State is under siege and needs a commander.
For Bentley to achieve greatness, he must wrestle the reins of government from these men.
In his first term, Bentley gained the love and the trust of the citizens of the State, but Hubbard, Marsh, Riley and Canary have treated him as an accidental executive, and legislation has greatly reflected that treatment. After Bentley’s landslide reelection no one should question his standing or his abundant political capital.
Bentley has the ability to set the agenda, but the question is: does he have the will? The State of Alabama needs a Teddy Roosevelt to lead it in these troubled times. Bentley will have to dare to do great things, if he wants to be remembered as more than a kindly man who cared.
As Roosevelt wrote, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause….”
The most worthy cause for any governor is to lift all the people to higher ground. But, for that to occur, he must boldly act with the courage of his conviction.
The governor has tremendous personal power, but has yet to use it in an aggressive way. He can actually lead the legislature, but he will need to publicly chart a course and stand his ground when challenged by the gang of four.
Hubbard, Marsh, and Riley with the aid of Canary, have built a legislative body that seldom ever questions their marching orders, leaving the governor with scant influence over the members. Fear and delusion is so rampant among the ranks in the House that they plan to reelect Hubbard as Speaker even in the face of scandal.
But, it is this scandal they may give the Governor the opening he needs to lead with greatness.
Hubbard’s trial on 23 counts of Felony public corruption is scheduled to began just as the 2015 legislative session opens in March. It is expected to last for at least a month; maybe more. While the agenda that Hubbard has planned will go forward, there will be some who may be emboldened without his presence in the House Chambers. If Hubbard is convicted he will be immediately removed from his seat and the Speaker’s gavel will be up for grabs. Hubbard’s conviction could cause considerable damage to the shadow government of Riley and Canary leaving only Marsh standing.
Could 2015 be the year in which Governor Bentley spends his vast political capital for the good of the people?
He must act to rid the State House of the money changers and hypocrites. Those who have turned the people’s house into a den of thieves must not continue to hold power.
As 2015 begins, let us all pray that Gov. Bentley will act with righteous judgement and political might to do good for every man, woman and child in our Great State. In this he will be remembered not only for his love but his greatness.