Maybe it was the specter of Jesse Jackson coming to Alabama to support workers at electronic-bingo facilities. Maybe it was a circuit judge ruling that the governor's anti-gambling task force could not raid the state's best-known gaming facility, allowing VictoryLand to reopen.
Whatever the cause, Alabama Governor Bob Riley is showing signs of what we can only describe as a psychological disturbance in the midst of his crusade to rid the state of electronic bingo.
How else can we explain Riley's bizarre comment Saturday at a Republican Party function, claiming that "members of the press are focusing the attention on bingo"?
Let's digest that statement for a moment. Earlier this year, Riley ordered his task force to conduct predawn raids at VictoryLand near Montgomery and Country Crossing near Dothan. Riley used state resources to conduct these operations--at a reported cost of $4,000 an hour--even though no court of law had declared that the facilities were doing anything illegal. Also, the state's chief law-enforcement official had indicated the bingo machines in question probably fell within state law.
But Riley wants us to believe that the press was supposed to ignore that activity? He apparently thinks the press should not report on highly questionable use of taxpayer dollars?
Regular readers know that we enjoy dabbling in dime-store psychology from time to time. But even we are stumped to come up with a "diagnosis" for Riley's wacky behavior.
The governor clearly is blaming someone else for a problem that he caused. What do you call that? Delusion? Projection? Sociopathy?
And get this: Riley is blaming the Alabama press, which has been the "great enabler" throughout his administration. Alabama news outlets have refused to seriously examine Riley's ties to Mississippi gambling interests, which almost certainly are driving his anti-gambling crusade in Alabama.
The press consistently provides cover for what probably has been one of the most corrupt administration's in Alabama history--maybe U.S. history. And yet, Bob Riley now is pointing fingers of blame at . . . the press?
We don't know of an official explanation for that kind of behavior. But we can sum up Bob Riley in layman's terms: "That boy ain't right."