By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
Former Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard just doesn’t get it.
Hubbard – sentenced last week to four years in a state prison, 16 years supervised probation, and more than $200,000 in fines for corruption – is vacant.
No remorse from Hubbard for the serious crimes he committed. “Serious” is how Judge Jacob Walker, III, described the 12 counts on which a Lee County jury convicted him.
Hubbard is unrepentant. He still insists he’s innocent. Of course, he’s not. He’s been convicted. Twelve times. Of corruption. Of using his public office for personal benefit. And though it wasn’t in the indictments, Hubbard was convicted of betraying the public trust. Of embarrassing Alabama and proving, once again, we have one of the most corrupt states on the planet.
Yet, shortly after Walker sentenced him, Hubbard went on WTVM-TV (Channel 9 out of Columbus, Ga.) to demonstrate just how unrepentant he is. How totally disconnected he is. How out of touch he is.
Oh, the interviewer was soft, lobbing questions to Hubbard like marshmallows. And without even catching them in his hands, the disgraced former Speaker just let them fall right into his mouth.
Hubbard stands by his claims that he was the victim of political persecution. From his own party, apparently. Every constitutional office is held by his Republican Party. The Legislature is controlled by a supermajority of Republicans.
Persecuted? Poor Hubbard. He doesn’t like it; Mikey doesn’t like it. But he better learn to live with it. He better get used to it. He’s a felon now.
Yes, Hubbard will appeal. Because he apparently lives in some La-La-Land where the laws don’t apply to him, just others. An appeal is highly unlikely to succeed, especially on all 12 counts.
The ethics law he was convicted under is the one he and former Gov. Bob Riley crafted as their first action when Republicans took over the Legislature. Now, Hubbard disavows that law altogether.
In the TV interview, Hubbard talks about “the overwhelming support we have been given from this community.” Well, he didn’t have the overwhelming support of a grand jury of Lee County citizens who indicted him, did he? He didn’t have the overwhelming support of a Lee County jury that convicted him on 12 of the 23 indictments against him, did he?
Hubbard’s community convicted him, after hearing the testimony and seeing the overwhelming evidence against him. Why can’t Hubbard see it, as well?
Hubbard said he won’t admit his wrongdoing because he did nothing wrong. Oh, yes, he did. He prostituted his office, probably the most powerful political office in Alabama, for special interest consulting contracts. For greed. Only for greed.
Hubbard was warned that he was stepping over the line. He thought he could get away with it. But he didn’t, and now he won’t man-up.
“I have always taken the position you don’t admit to anything that you didn’t do, and you admit to things you did do,” Hubbard told the WTVM reporter. “I haven’t done anything wrong. I am absolutely certain of that. I believe it was proven during the court proceedings, and I have done nothing wrong. I did abide by the rules and the laws.”
Hubbard is in an alternate universe. It was clearly proven that he did wrong. He’s a felon. And, yes, there will be appeals and more embarrassment for Hubbard and Alabama. And, yes, in the end, Hubbard is going to the Big House.
An honorable man would admit his failures and move forward. An honorable man wouldn’t want to put his state through more grief. An honorable man wouldn’t drag his family through this mess. An honorable man wouldn’t have found himself in this situation.
Mike Hubbard needs to humble himself. Until he does, he clearly cannot even start on the road to becoming an honorable man.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each Wednesday for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]