By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Several months back, I wrote that Alabama does not deserve better than Robert Bentley as its governor.
We don’t deserve better, I said then and still believe now, because the voters of this state have consistently, without fail, fallen for the pandering stupidity of men like Robert Bentley and Mike Hubbard and Roy Moore. But we never seem to realize it until those greedy, selfish, self-centered, egotistical, racist bigots are exposed by the men and women we should be electing, and/or by the media who you profess to loathe.
That has been the case over the last few days, as the Bentley-Rebekah Mason document dump has gripped the state. With an embarrassing amount of adult male emoji usage and even more embarrassing grandpa love talk, the impeachment investigation documents have captivated Alabama voters.
With that being the case, it’s a fine time to drive home the point I made so many months ago. Because just as we all saw with the emails from former House Speaker Mike Hubbard – emails that exposed his astonishing greed and disregard for laws in his pursuit of personal gain – the intimate details of Bentley and his administration, as laid out in the personal records made public in this impeachment case, provide us all with a raw, unfiltered view into the hearts and minds of the people leading us.
And that inside look leaves little doubt about why we struggle so.
The highest office in this state was, quite literally, for sale. Documents reveal that Bentley solicited funds from various businesses, and ultimately established a nonprofit organization that accepted donations from companies and people whose identities are hidden, to pay the salaries of his staff, including Mason’s.
Staffers joked about failing to expand Medicaid, treating the issue of nearly 300,000 citizens going without basic medical care as a political talking point that could be bumped from the daily conversations by terrorist attacks.
Bentley’s office and his mistress treated the closure of driver’s license offices in majority black districts as a political tool to hold over the heads of Bentley’s political foes. Never mind that it would serve to again disenfranchise men and women who literally risked their lives in this state to gain that basic right.
These are the people leading us.
And the guy at the top, the one who’s supposed to be leading the efforts to improve this state, has instead spent the past two years facilitating an affair and then covering it up. On some days, when Bentley should have been hard at work figuring out ways to make us first in all things good and last in all things bad, he was instead blocking off two-thirds of his day to hold Rebekah’s breasts.
Because that’s what he wanted to do.
Just like Hubbard wanted more money. And Roy Moore wants more power.
No wonder our infrastructure is crumbling, our courts are barely operational, our mental health facilities are non-existent and our schools are just God-awful.
Fixing all of that stuff is hard. And what Robert Bentley wanted to do instead was chase Rebekah Mason around his office, just out of earshot of poor ol’ Wanda and her ever-moving desk. The documents released on Friday reveal a governor who didn’t give two damns about the job he was supposed to be doing – the one he took an oath to do – or the people he was supposed to be serving.
Because the same man who proclaimed on his very first day in office that anyone who wasn’t Christian couldn’t be his brother had used God and all of the other phony religious BS to accomplish the one thing he wanted: he got elected.
You bought the act. Just like you always do.
You were more concerned with his Sunday School act than with the fact that this man of God was perfectly cool with turning away scared women and children from Syria. Or that he fought against scared immigrant children staying in the state. Or that he signed an illegal law that drove good, immigrant workers from our state, scared them to death and cost us billions. Or that he told the people of north Alabama to go ahead and drink tainted water.
Does it never cross your minds that if a man could be that cold and callous towards all of those other people that he very likely doesn’t care about you either?
Because he didn’t. (And that’s probably a lesson you should apply to others.)
He used the state airplane and helicopters constantly at your expense. He misused state personnel to cover up and facilitate his affair. He neglected his duty to serve you – over and over and over. And he tossed out his staff, those closest to him, like old office furniture when they dared to even question his embarrassing affair.
And he did it because he knew he could.
Robert Bentley had fooled you all with the same, tired routine that has been used by every other Alabama politician who has helped run this state into the ground.
And why not? It certainly still works.
Which is why, even as it seems he’s on his way to a spectacular fall, Robert Bentley is exactly who this state deserves.