By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
The 2016 Regular Session has been adjourned sine die, Latin for, “without day” meaning, “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.” This may also signal the last day Michael G. Hubbard sits as Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. The brief reign of Speaker Hubbard has been cruel, dishonest and politically perverse. He has served as overlord in a vast orgy of greed and political corruption. Removing his stain from our State will require a purge inside the halls of the State House, a task that will be hard, but not impossible over time.
Hubbard, a man of great talent and low-moral character, recruited so many of the Republicans who serve in the House, that it will be difficult for them to unlearn the bad habits he institutionalized, on the Fifth Floor.
Of course, Hubbard was never a Republican, much less a conservative. In his vanity tome, Storming the State House, he rarely ever uses the word “conservative.” His mantra is “pro-business republican.” His emails to his mentor, former Gov. Bob Riley, show by his use of the term “pro-business” he means lining his own pockets and those of his cronies. To serve his selfish ends, he has held the State hostage, while he molested the system like a brutal rapist.
Soon it will be in the hands of twelve jurors to pronounce his fate. If found guilty, what are we to make of those House members who sat by silently while he gamed the system? What about those who dined at his felonious feasts, or those who served the dinner? What is the price of showing complicity, acquiescence, or sympathy for our State’s Caligula? Who, like Hubbard, ruled under a banner of “I don’t care if they respect me so long as they fear me.” Shame should at least be their punishment, but in politics, especially in our State, shame is a rare commodity.
And then there is the fact that even with Hubbard’s conviction, our State’s long nightmare will continue because Governor Robert Bentley will most likely earn the same fate. Bentley, like Hubbard, has used the power of his office to destroy lives, hide his misdeeds and belittle our State. Bentley has used State law enforcement to facilitate his affair with Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and to intimidate those who questioned it. He has been dishonest with his wife, his family, his friends and the people of Alabama. He is a man so enamored of a married woman, that he has thrown his life away. Far from being the State’s best Governor, as he promised, he will be remembered as a fool.
Very soon, there will be a need for great healing. The person tasked with that job will be Governor Kay Ivey. There are those who question her ability to accomplish that task, but with her proven commitment to service and the aide of wise counsel she will be more than ready for the job. Her long tenure in public service has only seen one instance of real trouble, but, that is in the distant past. She has served Alabama with integrity, and will not sully the mantle of her office like Hubbard and Bentley. We should all lend her the support she will need to right the ship of State, a daunting task, but one she will most assuredly inherit.
And so, the Session ends with a whimper and a sigh.
Our State has suffered fools and felons for too long.
But we must have hope that the flame of Liberty, and the Sword of Justice will bring a new day. That the darkness will soon pass, and dawn will remind us that every new day offers the promise of hope. A hope we pray will never adjourn sine die.