I’m really of two minds about disgraced Alabama Governor and amateur phone sex participant Robert Bentley’s resignation this week. On the one hand, he was a truly terrible Governor and by most accounts not a very nice person, the kind-of hypocrite that would talk about being a Christian as he’s denying Obama’s aid to the unemployed. On the other hand, this is Alabama politics, and the choices for Democrats are bad, worse, terrible, and Roy Moore, and the last Governor before Bentley (King Jerk Bob Riley) was actually even worse.
Lt. Gov. turned Governor Kay Ivey is rumored to have an alcohol problem and has done little as Lt. Gov. except make voters glad she’s no longer in charge of the PACT program: a college program that allows or allowed new parents to buy all of their kid’s in-state tuition at a severely discounted rate, and that also happened to send my brother and I to college. If we had been born 15 years later, my parents would’ve had to listen to Kay Ivey explain how their money was gone, and why Alabama is still one of the very last states in America that doesn’t sell lottery tickets, which most of the Southeast has converted into the Hope Scholarships that pay in-state tuition for kids with an A or B average.
Still, as loathsome as the prospect of Kay Ivey Governor may be, it sure beats the idea of a truly atrocious 2018 Republican field that would likely be dominated by professional asshole Bradley Byrne and aspiring snake-handler Roy Moore. Now that Bentley’s most likely successor, former Attorney General Luther Strange has been bribed with Jeff Sessions senate seat not to investigate Bentley, we were likely looking at a very scary, hyper-conservative 2018 Governor’s race.
The “establishment” candidate likely would’ve been Bradley “I Hate Teachers and Public Schools” Byrne, who is seemingly on a one-man crusade to make being a public school teacher a step-down from working at McDonald’s. And the “Batshit” candidate would’ve been Activist Judge Roy Moore, who never met a Judicial bench he didn’t want to be forcibly removed from. Before telling Alabama’s Circuit Judges not to issue gay marriage licenses–in defiance of federal law–he gained something of a following years back for being “the 10 Commandments Judge” who was also kicked off a bench for refusing to take down the 10 Commandments in his courtroom. Still no word on whether or not he has found a way to be dragged out of the Governor’s mansion for refusing to follow a federal order on allowing “race mixing.”
Bentley’s ouster and Kay Ivey’s ascension could be a problem for Byrne and Moore. It’ll give the Republican machine and your more respectable white collar racists a more palatable anti-Moore candidate than Byrne. And keep in mind that Roy Moore has already lost both of his previous runs for Governor, and he didn’t even make the Republican primary run-off for his last one in 2010. Given that Bentley just resigned to avoid impeachment, it’s hard to imagine voters have grown less tired of a Governor that will not follow the law. [Future conversations inside the voting booth: “I can vote for a man that will likely not serve a full term because he’s making a point of breaking the law…or I can vote for literally anyone else.”]
Sure, Kay Ivey was not voted into the Governor’s mansion, but neither is the current Alabama junior senator (Strange), current state Attorney General, or the acting Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice. And since AL voters have elected Bentley (twice), Jeff Sessions (for decades), Luther Strange, Roy Moore, Byrne, and even knew ex-Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was under 23 counts of indictment and re-elected him anyway, it’s not like voters are really knocking it out of the park either.
Plus, history has proven that it’s tough to beat an incumbent no matter how they got there. All Ivey has to do is not give a mistress a huge paying job, be forcibly removed from office, or be investigated by the FBI and she’ll already be an improvement over the last heads of Alabama’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches.