By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Should we feel sorry for a man who chooses to cast away his wife and children, his friends and his church, because of lust?
Gov. Robert Bentley has asked us to forgive him for the inappropriate language he used during sexting and FaceTime chats with Rebekah Caldwell Mason. But he has yet to ask us to forgive him for the many lives he has ruined because of his dalliance with a married mother of three. An affair, which he claims was not physical, has threatened the physical well-being of many families who relied on their State jobs and insurance. His infatuation with Mason has even further tarnished our State’s reputation, one which was already a hotbed of corruption thanks to Speaker Mike Hubbard and his cronies.
No. Gov. Bentley has not asked forgiveness for these things, and will most likely never admit them until he is forced to do so under the burning light of a criminal investigation.
There are lawmakers who have called for his resignation, and others who plan to introduce articles of impeachment. But how can they now hold Bentley to a different standard than Hubbard, who was indicted on 23 felony counts of public corruption and has faced no blowback from Republican lawmakers or the leadership?
Even now, some of Bentley’s most ardent critics are the ones who stood on stage with Hubbard after his indictment. And every member of the House, both Republican and Democrat, save Rep. Alvin Holmes, voted to reelect Hubbard as Speaker. Like a dog, turning again to its own vomit, those who did not act to remove Hubbard can now be seen for who they truly are: craven cowards who cast stones at Bentley while eating the scraps from Hubbard’s table. The words “brazen hypocrite” should be hung around their necks like a dead body.
The Lee County Grand Jury found cause to believe Hubbard had committed 23 separate crimes. Bentley has not been charged with a single one… for now.
It is frighteningly ironic that sex, not crimes, are an immediate trigger for rebuke at the State House, where extra marital-sex is routine and wrong doings are plentiful.
Bentley has lost all moral authority to lead, but so has Hubbard. Disgracefully, there he sits, presiding over the chamber where many would not give a second thought at approving articles of impeachment against Bentley.
The sheer folly of that optic cannot be lost, even on Hubbard’s most dionysiac supporter.
Bentley was an accidental Governor, a “place holder” Head of State, but Mrs. Mason changed all of that. She molded Bentley into something he was not prepared to become, a competent Governor. It is sad, but the only person she ever convinced of that notion was Bentley.
Many of us hoped that Robert Bentley would be an honest man. But over time, it became apparent that he lacked a political center. After betraying his wife, his family, his friends, and most importantly, the people of our State, we now know if he ever had a moral center he has lost it. Perhaps, one day Bentley will ask us to forgive all of his sins. For now, it is difficult to even know what they are.
We sit center row, watching this terrible tragedy as it unfolds in real-time, but it is an old tale, one that’s been repeated over and again from time immemorial.
It appears that all the kings horses and all the kings men, nor any power on earth, can save this Governor… even if he does ask for our forgiveness.