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Featured Opinion

Robert Bentley: The Magician

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Robert Bentley has a career waiting on him when this governor deal wraps up.

Magician.

Because the guy is making more stuff disappear than David Blaine lately.

$300,000 in campaign cash? Abracadabra, poof, gone!

The committee to impeach him? Vanished!

Luther Strange’s integrity? Zipped!

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A 50-year marriage? Gone!

The awkwardness of taking your mistress and her husband, along with a new “lady friend,” on a DC vacation? Yeah, that’s still there. But nice try, Luv Guv.

(After typing that sentence, I feel like I need to say what a weird, weird state this is. Because this stuff isn’t normal. For real. It’s not.)

Ol’ Houdini Bentley has turned into quite the escape artist, maneuvering his way into a trap and then falling, Mr. Magoo-style, out of that mess and into the clear, just as the guillotine falls behind him.

Seriously, I want y’all to think about this. Put aside your disdain for Bentley for a few moments and let’s just simply marvel at his political luck.

First, let’s go to the “inappropriate relationship” with his staffer, Rebekah Mason. Now, I don’t care about the act itself, because these are grown people and politicians overcome such situations all the time.

But I do care about the ridiculous handling of the “inappropriate relationship,” including a straight up denial of physical contact while a tape of him talking about physical contact is being played.

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It’s like if while Bill Clinton was proclaiming “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” on one channel, the next channel over was airing the sex tape.

But it didn’t matter, because the country – and especially Alabama – was in the midst of the single greatest political distraction in history: Donald Trump.

When Bentley’s troubles started back in March, Trump had just won the second “Super Tuesday” primary battle and was looking like the GOP nominee. Less than a week after the Bentley-Rebekah Mason revelations, Trump would hold a townhall debate and proclaim that there should be some punishment for women who get abortions.

The Governor still received plenty of irate backlash, and there were calls for his resignation from prominent Republicans, but the climate was made much more bearable by the spectacle of the Orange One.

But don’t worry, there’s an impeachment committee that’s going to get to the bottom of this whole thing, find out if Bentley spent taxpayer dollars to facilitate or cover up his “inappropriate relationship” with Mason.

Right?

Probably. But if not, surely one of these investigations by Attorney General Luther Strange will get him.

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Right?

Not looking good.

Just as the dual investigations were heating up, the country was surprised to learn that it will now be ruled by an orange child, and that that child had selected a Civil War-era bigot in Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to be his US Attorney General.

That opened up Sessions’ Senate seat, allowing Mr. Magoo to duck right under the flaming arrow and turn just in time to miss the speeding bus.

As Bentley was attempting to figure out just who he might select as the temporary replacement for Sessions, an odd thing happened: the impeachment committee was asked to stop working by the AG’s office, which suddenly had serious concerns of investigative overlap.

A few weeks later, Bentley began his interviews for potential Senate seat fillers, and guess who made the interview list?

Yes, the sitting AG went strolling in for an interview with a guy he’s allegedly investigating.

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That interview went extremely well, because sometime afterwards, Strange met with the media to say, and I’m paraphrasing a bit here, “Investigation? Of the governor? Pfft. No. Not me. I never said that.”

And so, after all of the threats and committees and press conferences and demands for his resignation, here’s Robert Bentley, the grandfather governor, a step away from squashing the impeachment investigation and a grand jury investigation, appointing a new AG who will leave him alone, and using not a dime of his own money to pay for any of it.

He’s got a new girlfriend, a mistress and a renovated beach house.

The guy’s a magician.

Or a mafia boss.

 

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Written By

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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