I remember watching the train wreck that was Governor Robert Bentley‘s March press conference about his then-alleged but now confirmed affair with Rebekah Mason and thinking this has to be the worst decision by a principle and communications team I’ve ever seen. I wondered why no one stopped him. He’s a small man and his security detail would probably have turned a blind eye to someone tackling him and not letting him to the podium. I mean we’ve all heard how some on the detail had turned a blind eye to so many other of his and his staff’s indiscretions by that point.
When the governor resigned and took his plea deal I thought/hoped that would be the end of our reminder of what a disappointment he ended up being to the Yellowhammer State. Then I came across a new t.v. interview published Tuesday by WVTV13 where our former, and now disgraced governor, talked about his political downfall and life out of office.
Needless to say, his level of denial borders on clinical.
My first thought when I read the AP headline, “After resigning in disgrace, Bentley gives himself high marks as Alabama’s governor,” was yet again — why didn’t someone stop him? Then I realized he doesn’t have anyone to stop him. For a brief moment I wished Mason was around to tell him what a bad idea any interview would be, let alone one he was clearly unprepared for.
During the on-camera interview (though the camera is out of the room during some shots), Bentley said he was the “best governor” Alabama has ever had. Sadly, I’m not kidding. He actually said it. He then went on to say special interests are now running the state. Which leads me to believe he isn’t following the news. If he were, he’d probably know that Governor Kay Ivey has instituted new rules that prohibit lobbyists from serving on commissions and boards. She’s also gotten rid of some of the fluff he and his team created and her approval ratings are incredible. She has the 5th highest approval and the lowest disapproval of any governors.
In the ill-fated interview Bentley talked about his popularity and said that everywhere he goes people want to shake his hand. Let me be clear, I have no desire to shake his hand or congratulate him for a job well done. As someone who tried to give him the benefit of doubt when the affair rumors first surfaced I just want to wag a finger at him and tell him what a disappointment he turned out to be in the end. He knew that he broke laws and abused his power in his attempt to cover up his affair and for months he denied it. To say he loves the state of Alabama and to claim he served it well is laughable.
That said, there is a Bentley whose hand I would like to shake, Dianne Bentley‘s. I want to shake her hand, give her a hug, high five her and then buy her a bottle of wine. She’s remains one of the only players in the Robert Bentley saga that I hope doesn’t fade from sight. Her work as the first lady on domestic violence issues was incredible. Her actions in taping the governor and quietly filing for divorce — classic.
I could go the rest of my life without being reminded of the opportunities that Governor Bentley wasted and missed.
I could go the rest of my life without being reminded that he let so many down betraying their trust and making the office of the governor.
I could go the rest of my life and never need to hear his excuses and delusions about this being a witch hunt again.
So if Rebekah Mason is still around, hanging onto a burner phone or two, or if there’s any communications professional in his circle of trust, would someone please give the former-governor a call and for the love of all that is holy keep him from doing any more interviews and embarrassing himself and the state further.