Auditor Jim Zeigler has his own ideas about Gov. Robert Bentley’s order to remove the Confederate flags from Capitol grounds. Zeigler says it was simply a “deceptive political move.”
In a statement released Wednesday night Zeigler proposed an alternative theory to the governor’s defense that he removed the flag out of respect for those involved in the shooting as well that it could be a distraction as legislators prepare for Special Session.
Zeigler said, “Gov. Bentley’s tax increase bills cannot pass without strong support from Democrats in the state Legislature. He decided to remove the Confederate flag as a way to shore up support among Democratic legislators.”
Zeigler pointed to a quote from Bentley that Alabama Today highlighted Wednesday in a post about potential tax increases. Bentley told reporters from AL.Com, “We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with. This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise, we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down.”
Zeigler said the quote is telling: “The governor’s unguarded comment is an admission that the motivation for the flag removal was political. The flag removal was done without input from the citizens and without advance notice. This governor does not consider what citizens want or need. He is dictating decisions from on high. He does not have a servant mentality — that he is there to serve the people. The flag removal is a perfect example of this elitism.”
Zeigler said he spent Thursday researching the legalities of the governor’s action but has not yet come up with a legal strategy to return the Confederate flag.
Zeigler has long been an outspoken critic of what he calls the “sneaky new way of doing things in Montgomery.” This year he led the opposition when portraits of Govs. George and Lurleen Wallace were removed from the Capitol rotunda.
He closed his statement asking asking questions and making assertions about the motives of the governor, “Where will this stop? Will they remove the confederate monuments? Close the First White House of the Confederacy? Pull up the gold star on which Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederacy? This simplistic action does nothing to stop evil mass murderers. All Gov. Bentley has done is to act like he was doing something. He and his advisers are making themselves feel better. This is not leadership but reactive posturing.”