Gotta' love it. Republicans in disarray.
For years there have been rumblings about large amounts of AL-GOP money being funneled to businesses owned by current House Speaker -- and former party chair -- Mike Hubbard. The new Republican party chairman, Bill Armistead, was concerned enough about how party funds had been spent to order a review/audit of the party's 2010 expenditures. And what that financial review found was damaging enough that the GOP State Executive Committee ordered Armistead to permanently lock away all copies of the report.
According to al.com, in one deal a Florida company was given a contract for $848,000 but then subcontracted $725,000 of it back to Craftmasters Printing of Auburn, a company Mike Hubbard co-owns. Improper? Armistead won't say.
Armistead has since refused to disclose the report, although when asked about it, Armistead confirms its existence. Asked repeatedly in a recent interview if he believed the report indicated improper actions by Hubbard, Armistead would not answer. Asked if the financial review eased any concerns he might have had regarding how party dollars were used in 2010, Armistead again would not answer. Asked if he was concerned that his refusal to clear the air regarding the report could be seen by some as casting a shadow over Hubbard's tenure as party chair, Armistead had no response.
No answer. No answer. No response. Clearly, the titular head of the AL-GOP -- and they guy trying to get people to open their checkbooks for 2014 -- is desperately sending a "Move along. Nothing to see here." message. But Armistead is only head of the official Alabama Republican Party.
The real power rests with the shadow AL-GOP, the one Bob Riley, Mike Hubbard and Del Marsh are running. The one that has raised 3 times as much PAC money as the official AL-GOP. Most telling of all, Mike Hubbard is now using the phrase "real Republicans" as he describes how he plans to spend that shadow party's warchest:
"We are preparing to defend our majorities in the Legislature," said Hubbard. "We know that in 2013 and 2014 we are going to see candidates run as Republicans who are not really philosophically Republicans. We know the effort to undermine us is coming and we are going to put money into races on the side of real Republicans.
Who are these unreal Republicans Mike Hubbard considers so unworthy? Normal, moderate, non-extremists who have the temerity to run for office without pledging fealty to Hubbard, Marsh and Riley. You're with me or against me, that's how Mike Hubbard sees legislative candidates in 2014. Independent thinkers need not apply ... at least to the Republican Party.
Alabama Republicans have been longing to re-fight the Civil War for years; now they're doing it for real, inside their own party.
Schadenfreude. I hear it's good for you. There's enough here to easily offset tomorrow's gluttony.