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Opinion | The lumps of coal Mo Brooks got in his stocking

Three lumps of political coal. Not the best holiday gift for Mo. 

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)

All Mo Brooks wanted for Christmas was to be the undisputed frontrunner in the Republican U.S. Senate race. Instead, he found a Christmas stocking with three lumps of coal.

Bad news for Mo. Good news for Alabama.

Mo’s tenure in Congress has been shaky at best. So shaky that in 2018, his challenger Clayton Hinchman got endorsements from retired Lt. Gen. Jim Barclay, Lt. Gen. Tony Jones and Lt. Gen. Jim Pillsbury.  Even though Mo won, their rejection spoke volumes.

The generals seemed to have the concern many of us have today. Mo seems more interested in winning ideological battles than governing. Meanwhile, even some of his Republican constituents haven’t been satisfied. 

Admittedly, I’m a proud liberal. So I never want to see conservatives elected. But when they are, my hope always is that they will be good leaders. 

Former Gov. Bob Riley? Too conservative for me. But he was a great leader. Same with outgoing U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, the man Mo hopes to replace. Even Gov. Kay Ivey, with whom I’ve disagreed on most issues, did a tremendous job of restoring the state after former Gov. Robert Bentley’s sex scandal.

Mo? Not a good leader – even by conservative standards – which explains his current woes.

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Here are Mo’s lumps of coal

Lump number 1: Reports suggest that Donald Trump is frustrated by Mo’s fundraising struggles. Back in October, reported that Katie Britt has raised $3.76 million for her campaign, versus Mo’s $1.79 million. 

Britt is a rookie, comparatively speaking. Mo, on the other hand, has been in Congress since 2011. Before that, he was a Madison County Commissioner for 15 years, an Alabama legislator for 10 years, and spent seven years as an appointed district attorney and assistant attorney general. 

How does a rookie out-fundraise a career politician with 42 years of public service? Good question. 

And if Mo doesn’t find an answer, he will look like a loser. And we all know how Trump feels about backing losers (except when he’s the loser, then he deludes himself into thinking his victory was stolen).

Lump number 2: Mo has had to admit a connection to Ali Alexander.

Back in the day, when Mo and I used to throw elbows while shooting hoops in Huntsville’s Optimist Park gym, this would have been called an unforced error. Like shooting an airball. Or dribbling the ball off your leg out-of-bounds. 

Long ago, Alexander claimed that he cooked up the Jan. 6 rally and insurrection with Mo and other prominent right-wing Republican congressmen. Mo issued a careful denial, saying he had “no recollection” of communicating with Alexander and suggested that he didn’t know him. 

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So now that Alexander has supplied the Jan. 6th Congressional Committee with cellphone texts and other evidence, Mo has had to correct his denial. Now his story is that he forgot about the text exchange and still doesn’t know Alexander.

Meanwhile, Alexander’s original story still hangs in the air. He said he, Congressmen Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, and Mo “schemed of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” a reference to the Jan. 6 election certification process in Congress. And by maximum pressure, he meant the “loud roar” of the insurrectionists outside of the Capitol. 

Or maybe he meant from inside the Capitol, while some were smearing feces on walls and chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” 

Regardless, Alexander has put Mo in the thick of treason. And Mo’s denials seem mushy.

Lump number 3: The future of the Alabama GOP, the Young Republican Federation of Alabama, prefer Britt to Mo by a significant margin – 16 points, according to their recent straw poll. Britt’s campaign points to Mo’s decades-long political career and says that “Alabamians are ready for fresh blood to shake things up” in the Senate.

Even if Mo’s 28 percent in the straw poll is combined with Mike Durant’s 13 percent, Britt still leads them both with 44 percent. Jessica Taylor, the only other candidate in the poll, garnered a mere 7 percent.

This rejection does not portend well for Mo’s chances. And considering that he will be 68 when these young Republicans vote in the primary, the difference between him and them will be stark — especially when juxtaposed with Britt’s clean-cut youthfulness.

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Three lumps of political coal. Not the best holiday gift for Mo. 

But it may be a great gift to Alabama. Happy New Year.

David Person is a media personality and consultant who has been working in the Huntsville market since 1986 as a talk show host, columnist, and director/producer. David co-hosts the podcast Alabama Politics This Week.

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