The absurdity of Alabama’s political situation has always been the stuff that journalists dream of, but right now— the phrase “shooting fish in a barrel” comes to mind.
By last Saturday, even the British magazine The Economist was getting in on the story. “Sweet Home” offers up a succinct telling of our current quandaries, under the auspicious heading “Disarray in the South.” The article covers our now-tenuous situation in the Heart of Dixie: our Governor, Robert Bentley, has had articles of impeachment filed against him; our Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, is under indictment and heading to trial; and the Chief Justice of our state’s Supreme Court, Roy Moore, has been suspended and might be removed from office (for a second time). Beyond the obvious problems with each individual case, we in Alabama now have this perfect storm:
And, disparate as they are, the cases have collided. To recap: Mr Bentley could appoint Mr Moore’s successor, if he is not impeached first. Mr Moore could oversee Mr Bentley’s impeachment, unless he is defenestrated, in which case the governor’s appointee might preside. Mr Hubbard would refer the impeachment to the Senate, depending on the verdict of his own trial, which may feature testimony from Mr Bentley. Alternatively, of course, they may all keep their jobs.
Yeah, well . . . here we are.
Likewise, this short video segment provides a glimpse into the problems that have arisen because Alabama’s new voter ID law coincided with the closure of driver’s license offices in Alabama’s Black Belt region. The conflicts of interest were easily seen: the same Republican-led legislature that passed the voter ID law also crafted a budget whose shortfalls would cause cuts to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. What got “cut” were offices where many rural black people in the heavily Democratic western parts of the state would obtain or renew the ID that they needed to vote.
Even in Alabama, where we are so accustomed to political chicanery, at some point, you just have to look at things and ask, What are we doing . . . ?