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Featured Opinion

Who’s Advising Bentley?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Gov. Robert Bentley is hunkered down, hoping to survive the withering tide of criticism in the media, and his own party. The big question is: who is in the bunker with him?

For the last year or so, Rebekah Caldwell Mason has been Bentley’s sole advisor. Now, she is gone, and he is alone, and stumbling, say those once close to the Governor.

Bentley is surrounded by some very talented, committed young advisors, but where are the battle-hardened veterans who know how to navigate the media firestorm and the political gamesmanship threatening this wounded Governor?

According to those inside the Bentley compound, he has not yet reached out to former allies, or solicited the aid of professional “fixers.” Several former advisors speaking on background said Bentley has not called them, and most doubt the Governor would even listen if he did ask for their counsel. “I don’t know if people are ready to believe he will listen right now,” said a former colleague. “…or even is he realizes the depth of his problems.”

Bentley’s major problems are not related to the calls for impeachment by men like, Reps. Ed Henry, Allen Farley, and Mike Ball. Most people see their power play as laughable, because these same men stood on a stage in Auburn, cheering Speaker Mike Hubbard just a day after he was indicted on 23 felony counts of public corruption.

Insiders agree that these articles of impeachment were DOA before they made it to the House. “Hubbard’s situation guaranteed the House wouldn’t act for now,” said a current lawmaker speaking on background.

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Daily there is a steady drip of new revelations about Bentley and Mason. Meanwhile, on social media, humorous mockery of the Governor has become a cottage industry, and shows no sign of stopping any time soon.

In the State Senate many are ready to welcome Gov. Kay Ivey. “The Senate has formed a good relationship with the Lt. Gov. said a staffer, “They want a Governor they can work with, and that’s not Robert Bentley.”

Ivey has well-placed, powerful advisors, that some Senators believe  will chart a more conservative path than Bentley. They also feel, despite previous reservations, that Ivey can articulate the message of a “New Day,” said one aide. “If Hubbard is convicted, which is the consensus for now, they believe Bentley will have to go, to be able to look the people of the State in the eye, and say, “See we fixed it,” said the staffer.

But Bentley has nowhere to go. He has alienated his family, most of his friends, and now he has lost the public’s trust. There may be a very narrow path forward for Bentley, but that may depend on who is guiding him.


Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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