By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
Quit. Yes, that’s what I mean. Mike Hubbard, speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives — probably the most powerful position in state politics — needs to quit.
Hubbard has embarrassed Alabama. He’s embarrassed himself. He’s embarrassed his family. He’s embarrassed me.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve defended Hubbard with my colleagues. How many times they told me Hubbard is corrupt, a bully, lots of things. And I said, no, the dude is OK. Give him a chance.
Hubbard got his chance. He’s failed, and he’s embarrassed the people close to him, and others, like me, who are not close but believed he was a strong, conservative but moderate, reasonable politician. Well, he’s not.
It’s clear now it was all for money. All for making Hubbard richer, despite those who believed in him. Despite those, who defended him, being embarrassed and surprised.
Hubbard betrayed the trust we put in him. And now, even as the Alabama Republican Party is asking him to resign his speaker post, Hubbard remains stubborn. Adamant.
Hubbard is fighting the very laws he helped pass. Clearly, he didn’t believe those laws would apply to him. But they do. Yes. They do.
Hubbard said the Republican Party’s request that he resign his speakership was premature. Premature to what? His conviction? His imprisonment?
It’s looking more and more like that’s going to happen. Yet, Hubbard hangs on. By a thread.
That State Rep. Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) defends Hubbard with enthusiasm means we should probably look closely at Williams’ background in the Legislature. Williams has certainly sponsored legislation that would help him, financially and otherwise. We know that.
But Williams’ loyalty is misplaced. He should represent his constituents, not Hubbard.
We’re a screwed-up state, folks. Our Speaker is charged with 23 counts of public corruption. Our governor ended a 50-year marriage under suspicions of an affair with a staffer. Other state officials are under investigation for wrongdoing. All, Republicans, fighting each other. This isn’t a partisan fight; it’s a family affair.
How did we get here? By not paying attention. Then, paying attention.
Absolutely, Hubbard should resign. Even if he’s not convicted of any wrongdoing (a long shot), he’s lost his standing to lead. Any credibility he had is gone. Destroyed by him. He’s damaged permanently. He’s broken. He’s Humpty Dumpty, and he’s fallen off the wall.
Mr. Speaker doesn’t have the dignity to go quietly into the night. To have grace, and to step back. He’s no victim; he’s the perpetrator.
Hubbard has to go. But he probably won’t, until they drag him, kicking and screaming, from his office into prison.
I hate this — for Hubbard, for Alabama; for his family, who he doesn’t even consider. I hate this for honesty and ethics and our state’s reputation, which wasn’t that much to begin with. I hate this for the confidence voters should have in their public officials. I hate it for me, and my wife, and the confidence we placed in Hubbard and our leaders.
Hell, even Hubbard’s lead attorney is fleeing from the case. It’s a loser. It’s a loser. Mark White, et al, doesn’t like to be a loser.
Just resign, Mike Hubbard. Give it up. It’s not going to work. Your time is limited. You may get a reset on your trial, set now for March 28. But you can’t avoid the end, and the end is nasty. The end, you won’t like. Even if you “win.”
Your fellow Republicans, with a few exceptions like the mistaken Jack Williams, know you should go. You’re hurting Alabama. You’re hurting your party. You’re hurting our brains.
Stop hurting us. Stop it.
Quit. This is one time, quitting is good. It’s good now, Rep. Hubbard, for you to be a quitter. Quit, and spare our state more grief.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every Wednesday for Alabama Political Reporter. Email him at [email protected].