Sen. Doug Jones has been a good U.S. senator for Alabama. The best we’ve had in a long time.
Sen. Richard Shelby made it his career, and remember, Shelby is a turncoat. He was a Democrat, until being a Democrat was a no-no. Then he became a Republican. He’s served Alabama pretty well. But mostly he’s served Richard Shelby.
In the tradition of Alabama politicians, party really doesn’t matter. Getting re-elected does. So Shelby switched parties when it was most convenient, and he’s been a senator for life since then.
Shelby has been a decent senator, too, if you look at how much federal dollars he’s poured into Alabama. Buildings across the state, especially at state universities, are named after him. For spending our tax dollars to help our state universities. I’m good with that, but don’t think for a second that those Shelby buildings at UAB and Alabama-Tuscaloosa and elsewhere were built with anything but OUR money. Our tax dollars. Shelby gets his name on those buildings; we get the bill, and our taxes pay.
Still, I’d rather our tax dollars go to Alabama than some other state, and plenty of our tax dollars come back to Alabama. We’re a welfare state. We get more from the federal coffers than we send back. If the federal money we take was withdrawn, we would be bankrupt.
And we’re pretty poor even with the federal largesse. One of the poorest states in the nation. That’s not my opinion. That’s the fact. Live with it.
We, as a state, can barely provide even the minimum of state services to our citizens. Our schools are last — dead last — in the nation. If education in Alabama is a laughing stock — and it is — we don’t care. If our rural hospitals are closing, which they are, we don’t care because, thank GOP GOD, we’ll damn sure dare to defend our wrongs.
So the battle is brewing for who will be the next U.S. senator from Alabama. We have a failed football coach, a child predator and a whole host of opportunists running to be our next U.S. senator from Alabama.
Not because Jones has been a bad senator for Alabama. He’s been a really good senator. He puts Alabama first in most every decision he makes. He cares for his constituents and his state. Jones truly has made a difference.
But Jones is a Democrat. And in Alabama, “Democrat” is a curse word. Like, well, those curse words that are never far from our Alabama mouths. You know them. I can’t say them because this is a family website. But think feces and copulation and female dogs.
Our voters are so limited, they don’t look at the person; they look at the party. The Alabama Democratic Party certainly doesn’t help. It’s so dysfunctional, it can’t even help mitigate that terrible reputation that “D” brings. The state party’s leaders are small minded and small thinking.
So Doug Jones is on his own.
And the Republicans, mostly all simply climbers and President Donald Trump sycophants, are going to try to unseat him. The latest to enter the race, Secretary of State John Merrill, has nothing to lose, so this opportunist sees an opportunity.
The state’s highest election official, should he lose, will simply return to his role as secretary of state. Then, Merrill will run for governor when the opportunity is there. He doesn’t want a real job; he wants a job you pay for.
Merrill has been a typical Republican secretary of state, doing all he can to suppress the vote of anybody who would vote differently than he does. He hasn’t been a champion of voter inclusion. He doesn’t like early voting or automatic voter registration. He hasn’t done anything to make sure those who have been disfranchised get back on voter rolls. He’s a climber, an opportunist, and he knows U.S. senator pays a lot more than secretary of state.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is such a sellout that he’s ditched his former progressive nature to embrace anything Trump. He is THE Trump sycophant, and don’t think of him as anything else. But at least after Byrne loses his race for Senate, he’ll no longer be in Congress. That’s a win for Alabama.
Former Chief Justice Roy Moore needs the publicity of another run for Senate because he uses his challenged notoriety to raise money to support his lifestyle. That includes riding his poor horse Sassy to the polls, even though Sassy clearly would rather be rendered into glue than have Moore on her back. Moore lost to Jones in 2017 because of his history of stalking teenage girls. “Giddyup, Sassy! Let’s get to the mall.”
Tommy Tubberville is a failed football coach whose only game plan these days is to love Trump and drop Trump’s name as often as possible. He left college football as a loser and will leave Alabama politics as a loser, too.
Alabama has a fine U.S. senator in Doug Jones. He cares about Alabama more than he cares about being a Democrat. He works with Republicans as hard as that must be, and he delivers.
Trump won’t be here after 2020. He’s done. But our next U.S. senator, even those who are so smitten with this deranged president, will be there.
Jones can maneuver through that transition. These Republicans running for Senate will be left with nobody to worship, nobody to stroke their fragile egos as much their fragile egos need stroking.
And Alabama will suffer because of that. But that’s what we do: Vote for those who can do the very least they can do to help our poor state. We vote for them over and over. And then “female dog” about the results.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]