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Opinion | Shelby’s retirement will lead to craziness

“They’re going to do it again. You can see it coming two years away.”

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama., speaks Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally." (AP PHOTO/JACQUELYN MARTIN)

United States Senator Mo Brooks. Did that get your attention? Leave a little bile in the back of your mouth? Cause your eyes to nearly roll out of your head? Welp, prepare yourself because it’s coming. You know it. I know it. The whole country knows it. 

They’re going to elect that old man shouting at clouds to the U.S. Senate because that’s just what we do here. It’s how we ended up with a coach who can’t read the news in bad weather as our other senator. 

Because it’s all a game. The conservative voters of this state, for some reason known only to them, believe that politics is a team sport and that you win the sport not by electing people who can most positively affect your life or who holds your values, but by electing the people from your team that the other team hates the most, no matter how terrible those team members might be. 

And then they sit around all day complaining about how their government sucks and that it never looks out for the little guy. 

Weird how that works. 

And they’re going to do it again. You can see it coming two years away. 

That’s how long we’ve got until Alabama’s senior senator, Richard Shelby, steps aside and gives up the seat after six terms. Shelby went in as a Democrat, and with the current state of the Republican Party — particularly the portion in Alabama — he’ll basically leave as one. 

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Despite his seniority and his power, Shelby has avoided the idiotic games and partisan bickering. He’ll drop a comment every now and again — usually when he’s cornered by media — but most of his time is spent figuring out ways to send federal dollars to this state. He is an old-school, low-key statesman who has earned the respect of his peers on both sides of the aisle. 

And we’re going to replace him with a racist tornado siren. 

Oh, sure, there will be other options. Katie Britt, the current head of the BCA and Shelby’s former chief of staff, will very likely get Shelby’s support and the backing of the Big Mules. But Britt is level-headed, smart and respectful — in other words, roadkill. 

The same goes for Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, Secretary of State John Merrill and former Congressman Bradley Byrne. Boring, boring and more boring.  

The only person who can come close to challenging Brooks’s crazy is Attorney General Steve Marshall. But he’s a different, less sincere kind of crazy. Unlike Brooks’s “WTF is wrong with that guy” style of crazy, Marshall is more of a “we all see you trying to act crazy for attention” sort of crazy. Byrne tried that. It doesn’t work. 

So, unless Roy Moore gets the circus back together, that just leaves Brooks. 

It shouldn’t, obviously. I mean, if you look back at Brooks’s record in the House, he’s basically useless to everyone in his district except the people who own rocket manufacturing plants. 

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Since 2011, according to the House website, Brooks has sponsored 39 bills. More than half of them — 20 bills in a decade — have been aimed at making life harder for Hispanic immigrants in some way. Whether it be preventing undocumented workers to receive Social Security benefits or severely limiting the justifications for receiving temporary protected status, more than half of Brooks’s time in Congress has been spent trying to ruin the lives of people who make up about 3 percent of the population. 

Among the other bills he’s sponsored was one allowing interstate transport of firearms, several during the Obama years calling for a balanced budget, three bills that would have required someone to provide a full accounting of all U.S. dollars sent to the U.N., a bill making it legal to sue the president for failing to follow the Constitution when implementing immigration laws, and, of course, a repeal of Obamacare. 

His only bill to become actual law — only one in more than a decade — was one to rename the Athens Post Office building. 

Nothing for workers. Didn’t even make an attempt to improve health care. Zilch to help the working poor. Not a thing for education. 

In 10-plus years, all you’ve gotten from Brooks is a bunch of ranting about socialism and whining about wasteful government spending. All while he was the embodiment of both, as he enjoyed his taxpayer-funded health insurance and sucked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay while getting just one bill passed. 

Looks like a winning resume to me.

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Josh Moon
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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