Moore sees clout at polls slipping
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–Last week's primary election has been analyzed from every possible angle: Was it a setback for Roy Moore…a rousing victory…or was it pretty much a wash?
My assessment, for what it is worth: If I were Moore I would be hoping that those invitations to make speeches for big bucks continue to pour in. The vote in my estimation certainly was not encouraging for his political future.
The table was set for Moore to run the table…if you are a pool player you know what I mean…in last week's election. Everybody knew going in it would be an exceptionally light vote and if the legions of Moore supporters, which he was supposed to have, went to the polls the candidates he had blessed would win by wide margins.
The legions of Moore voters totaled a fraction over 107,000. It was enough to elect one of his candidates–Tom Parker–but only by the narrowest of margins. And the ecstasy of that victory was lessened because Parker benefited so much from an incredibly inept campaign run by incumbent Justice Jean Brown.
She tried to be on both sides of the Ten Commandments issue and in the process found out what happens to those who try to be in the middle of the road on a political issue…you get run over. While Parker was winning his race, the other Moore-blessed candidates didn't fare so well. Judge Pam Basham was soundly defeated by District Judge Patti Smith for Place No. 2 on the Supreme Court and Judge Jerry Stokes was a distant 24 percent behind Probate Judge Mike Bolin for Place No. 3 on the high court. Still uncertain is whether there will be a run-off in this race. In one other race where Moore was involved, one of his top lawyers in the Ten Commandments fight…Philip Jauregui…was destroyed by incumbent Congressman Spencer Bachus. The beating was so bad…87 percent to 13 percent…that the joke was that Bachus might be indicted for assault with intent to murder.
What the election showed me is that all the talk about Moore's clout…that all he had to do was put his name on the ballot and he could be elected to any office…was simply that: Talk.
He doesn't have nearly the voter appeal in Alabama that many thought. And it is sad in a way. A couple of years ago Roy Moore was on a roll. He did indeed appear to be a man to watch in Alabama politics.
He had broad support from all over Alabama when as a circuit judge he put up a good fight to keep a small Ten Commandments plaque in his Gadsden court room. It got him elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
But most of those who supported him in that race have long since left him. That was evident last Tuesday.
He thanked them for their "continued" support (not their past support), and then proceeded to blame his legal problems on the Republicans.
In the process he charged again that the 2002 election had been stolen from him by the Republicans, claiming that a "mysterious re-tabulation" of the votes in Baldwin County had cost him the election.
In this instance, Siegelman was giving new meaning to the old saw about beating a dead horse. The votes in Baldwin County were re-tabulated after election officials there caught a monumental error–the machines recorded that about 45,000 votes had been cast in that county but inexplicably the vote total in the governor's race was more than 51,000. Even a third grader could have recognized an error had been made.
On re-checking the numbers the error was found–Siegelman had been given some 19,000 votes when in fact he polled only 13,000. There was no hanky-panky, just a bonehead mistake.
You can be sure had there been an iota of evidence that a recount would have given Siegelman the election he would not have conceded defeat but would have taken his case to the Alabama Legislature.
Siegelman and the other two men indicted–Paul Hamrick and Dr. Philip Bobo–will be arraigned this week.
All three have said they would enter not guilty pleas.