Why Alabama politics will make you believe in reincarnation

Melba “Hand in the Till” Allen and Mike Hubbard.

This is an opinion column

Nothing changes in Alabama government. Only the names are changed.

To protect the guilty.

It had not occurred to me, until pointed out by a longtime colleague, that convicted former House Speaker Mike Hubbard – who was sentenced to four years in prison 728 days ago but has yet to see the hard side of a prison – looks more like Melba Till Allen than the erstwhile most powerful guy in Alabama.

You remember Melba Till Allen, the state auditor and Alabama treasurer from the 1960s and ’70s? She got her start with a fiery cry for ethics. She would, she vowed, clean Alabama of all those dirty state employees who padded their expense accounts.

She cleaned up alright.

For a time she was Alabama’s hope for honesty and integrity. Some people even credit her with helping to pass Alabama’s ethics law in 1973. Then she started taking loans from banks that did business with the state. She took almost $3 million in loans for personal and business use from 58 banks that wanted an inside track for managing state millions. She did not bother to report those loans, as her new ethics law required.

Mike Hubbard sold himself as Alabama’s hope for honesty and integrity, too. He stepped on the corpses of corrupt democrats to claim the state for the GOP. He was an advocate…

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