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State Leaders Singing A Different Tune Now That The Tables Have Turned (Craig Ford)

  |   By: Craig Ford     |   Letters to the Editor

My how the tables have turned.

Four years ago, Republican politicians in Montgomery were applauding Republican prosecutors for investigating public corruption in the bingo trials – an investigation that led to exactly zero convictions.

Now these same Republican politicians are claiming that politics is behind the investigation into their own corruption, and that the investigation is nothing more than an attempt to influence the outcome of this year’s elections.

Never mind the fact that the prosecutors investigating the corruption are also Republicans. Never mind the fact that one former state legislator has already taken a plea deal while another lied to a grand jury about threats he made in a recorded phone call.

In 2010 – which was also an election year – Republican leaders went to the press and stated, “…there’s going to be indictments. I think it’s going to happen. I don’t think they would have invested this much time and energy investigating it if there’s not something to it.”

Now that these same politicians are the ones being investigated, they’ve changed their tune.

Instead of praising the prosecutors for their attempts to clean up the corruption, Republican leaders are now claiming these investigations are “political,” and an attempt to undermine the upcoming elections.

This blatant hypocrisy reminds me of when Sen. Shadrack McGill (R-Scottsboro) tried to claim that educators did not deserve a pay raise but legislators did. McGill actually tried to argue that raising teachers’ pay would attract people who were not called to teach, but raising legislators’ pay was necessary to attract better people to run for office.

Or when Sen. Phil Williams tried to provide pay raises for educators with nine years or less experience while veteran educators would get nothing (which is an insane proposal that is a slap in the face to all educators), but then voted to cut all educators’ pay by 2.5 percent during his first year in office.

And even just last week Republican legislators fully embraced hypocrisy after a court ruled their signature legislation, the Accountability Act, is unconstitutional.

When the ruling came down, Republican legislators across the state flocked to the press to claim the decision was political because the judge was a Democrat. Then they immediately turned around and claimed the decision would be overturned once it was appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court because that court has no Democrats on it.

Do they not hear themselves? Do they honestly believe the voters are not smart enough to catch them?

Republicans swept the 2010 elections on a platform of cleaning up the corruption in Montgomery. But instead, they immediately embraced the culture of corruption. Now they are the ones being prosecuted – by Republican prosecutors.

Our state leaders are masters of the politics of distraction. They know they cannot win re-election if they campaign on their record. So they are trying to change the subject. They do not want to talk about education and how they have devastated our schools. So instead they talk about President Obama.

If Republican leaders could have done anything about President Obama don’t you think they would have by now?

And if they get called out for their corruption, they just blame it on “politics.”

Hillary Clinton used to talk about a “vast right wing conspiracy.” Now Republicans in the Alabama legislature are claiming they are being attacked by a “vast left wing conspiracy.”

Do they not hear themselves? Do they not see their hypocrisy? Or maybe they believe they can say and do whatever they want without any consequences? After all, that is what they did when the passed the Accountability Act. And that is why it was ruled unconstitutional.

It is amazing to see the transformation in our state leaders. My how the tables have turned!

Follow Craig on Twitter at @RepCraigFord

Rep. Craig Ford is a Democrat from Gadsden and the Minority Leader in the Alabama House of Representatives.