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Who’s our most embarrassing politician? The eyes have it.

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

There are plenty of embarrassments in Alabama politics, especially in these days of Republican leadership. These Republicans who claimed they could govern can’t even stay out of trouble with the law.

Gov. Robert Bentley is a junior high-like groper. Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard is under indictment for 23 counts of corruption. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s actions as leader of the Senate would be drawing a lot more attention –except he hasn’t been indicted or revealed as a philanderer.

Seriously, though, is there an Alabama politician more embarrassing than Chief Justice Roy Moore? OK, maybe you believe Hubbard or Bentley is more embarrassing. That argument can be made.

But my choice is Moore. After all, Alabama has been living with Moore’s embarrassing acts for more than a dozen years. Moore, a homophobe and religious zealot, has brought more grief to the state than either Bentley or Hubbard.

Sure, Bentley and Hubbard have brought more recent grief, but Moore’s gotten in on the act, too, as if he’s worried he won’t be the state’s No. 1 embarrassment.

Yeah, Alabama has embarrassment overload. We’re definitely a red-faced state. Probably the reddest.

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Moore, though, shouldn’t be chief justice right now. He was tossed out of office during his first term for ignoring a federal court ruling to remove his infamous Ten Commandments monstrosity from the state judicial building.

All through that first disastrous term, Moore proudly put his homophobia on stage. And somehow, he was re-elected as chief justice in 2012.

Alabama voters, bless their hearts.

To Moore, any criticism he gets is political persecution, because that’s what he (and generally, all our embarrassing politicians) constantly claims. Bentley’s done it. Hubbard’s done it. They simply have nothing else.

Moore’s most recent rant came last week when he had a press conference calling for the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission to “dismiss unfounded and politically motivated complaints filed against him by the Southern Poverty Law Center” and other groups.

You see, Moore just can’t leave the LGBT community alone, even after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in Alabama (and across the United States), allowing same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples to join in matrimony. That’s as it should be.

Moore ordered state probate judges to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and some of those robots did. Others quit issuing marriage licenses to anybody, and still others defied Moore’s silly order.

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Dude: The U.S. Supreme Court said you have to allow same-sex marriages, whether you like it or not. You aren’t the boss of the U.S. Supreme Court. And Moore should know from experience that going against the federal courts is a sure-fire way for him to once again end up booted off the state’s High Court.

At last week’s press conference, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel defended Moore. Other than losing high-profile cases, Staver is best known for representing Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, who also fought issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples (and lost).

Richard Cohen, the president of the SPLC, probably said it best: “Justice Moore is a demagogue, ‘the Ayatollah of Alabama,’ so it’s not surprising that he would invite a raging anti-LGBT bigot like Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver to defend him at a press conference. All he’s doing, of course, is demonstrating once again why he’s unfit to be the Chief Justice of Alabama.”

No doubt Bentley and Hubbard will continue to embarrass our state. Still, Moore is most embarrassing.

So how can we tell? Look at the eyes.


Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes this column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected].

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Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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