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Monday, March 24, 2008

Slick Willie, Slick Riley

Remember how Republicans used to delight in referring to President Clinton as "Slick Willie."

Well, I don't think Bill Clinton has anything on Bob Riley, Alabama's Republican governor. Just call him "Slick Riley."

Actually, Riley's not all that slick. In a battle of brains, Bill Clinton would blow him away like one of those No. 16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. But thanks to a lapdog Alabama press, Bob Riley gets away with all kinds of not-so-slick maneuvers.

We brought one to our readers attention the other day. Riley actually is now trying to take political advantage of the Alabama Supreme Court's bogus ruling to overturn most of a $3.6 billion jury verdict against ExxonMobil and for the State of Alabama.

That's quite a feat considering that the Republican judges who ramrodded the ExxonMobil ruling are bought by the same corporate interests who bought Gov. Riley. Even worse, Riley didn't even attempt to have the case reheard in state court, and he didn't try to make political hay until the 90-day window for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court had passed. Now that nothing can be done about the fraudulent ruling, Riley's up in arms about ExxonMobil's actions.

That's like opening the bank for the robbers to get in and then shouting vengeance in the streets of Dodge City as the bad guys ride away with the townfolks' money. Pretty slick.

Here's something else that's slick. Riley doesn't lift a finger to correct the $3.6 billion screw job the Alabama Supreme Court administered to state citizens, but by golly, he wants to make sure teachers don't serve in the Alabama Legislature--especially since most of them are Democrats. Turns out Alabama is one of 20 states where there is no law that restricts lawmakers from holding other state or local government jobs. Wonder how many of those other 19 states have had school teacher/legislators arrested for federal crimes. My guess? Zero.

And as pointed out by Paul Hubbert, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association, teachers aren't the only ones with potential conflicts. The same conflicts could occur for bankers, car dealers, lawyers, you name it. Of course, a lot of those folks probably would be Republicans, so that doesn't concern Gov. Riley.

Hubbert correctly points out that the solution would be to have a full-time legislature. But Alabamians have shown no indication they want to go that route, and God knows they don't want to pay to go that route.

Here's a question: If the idea of teacher/legislators is fine in 19 states, why is it a problem--even a possible federal crime--in Alabama?

In our previous post on Riley, we wondered how many Alabamians would buy his deceptive act without batting an eye. Well, the editorial staff of the Huntsville Times evidently bought it, saying Riley is courageous for suggesting that Alabama alter the way it taxes natural-gas exploration.

Courageous? For stealing Jim Folsom's idea?

Courageous? For saying nothing while Republican judges rape our coffers and then bemoaning the state of Alabama's finances?

Good grief. Sometimes I think this state is hopeless.

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