Re-indicted and it feels so good…

For over two years, I’ve been publicly predicting that the race for GOP nomination in the Alabama Governor’s race would be between Judge Roy “Ten Commandments” Moore and incumbent Governor Bob “Raise Taxes in the Name of Jesus” Riley. I’ve also stated that when the political season begins, this battle will be between two candidates trying to “out-Jesus” each other. It was interesting to see the Birmingham News use my line in their headline the other day:

“If the race turns into a competition with at least two of the candidates actively engaged in trying to “out-Jesus” one another, voters may forget to think about who’s most qualified to govern the state.”

Libertarian candidate Loretta Nall added to the “out-Jesus” line to sum up the race (so far) pretty well in a recent AP wire piece:

“I’ve got this gut feeling that come November of next year, I stand a very good chance of being governor with the Republicans trying to out-Jesus each other and the Democrats trying to out-socialist each other,” she said.

Most of us are also aware of the successful ploy by HealthSouth ex-CEO Richard Scrushy to invoke the name of Jesus as a judicial tactic. ReferenceForBusiness.com provides:

Lawyers were also skeptical of Scrushy’s decision to join the Guiding Light, a predominantly black church in Birmingham. Although Scrushy said he was “born again,” critics said it was an attempt to influence a predominantly African American jury at his trial.

Alabamians awakened this morning to headlines proclaiming that both Scrushy and former Governor (and current gubernatorial candidate) Don Siegelman had just been indicted by a federal grand jury for charges that Siegelman turned his public office into a criminal enterprise in order to solicit millions of dollars in payoffs. As one might expect, Scrushy had an established position on the donor list, with accusations made that he traded half-a-million bucks for a board seat.

Among the accusations is that Scrushy paid $500,000 to Siegelman’s lottery campaign in exchange for a seat on the state board that decides whether hospitals can expand and for influence over that group’s decisions. Siegelman’s former transportation director, Mack Roberts, was charged with mail fraud for his role in agency actions that helped certain companies.

In a news conference, Siegelman said the indictment stems from a few obsessed government officials who have spent taxpayers’ money in an attempt to control a governor’s election. Siegelman, a Democrat, is running for governor in 2006 and said he has no intention of dropping out of the race.

“The charges are false. I’m going to be proven innocent again and we’re going to go on to win this primary and win this election,” Siegelman said. Prosecutors dropped charges against him last year in an unrelated case.

It seems clear to me that the timing of these indictments is very political. One wonders how much influence Governor Riley used to ensure that Siegelman was indicted in the heat of the political season, as opposed to right after the alleged crimes occurred. If Siegelman follows the lead of his old buddy Richard Scrushy, we can expect to see him at services at the Guiding Light, too. Then we’ll have three candidates trying to out-Jesus each other.

The Alabama race for for Jesus Governor shakes out this way (alphabetical order), so far:

Alabama Gubernatoral Candidates
Name Party Claim to Fame
Lucy Baxley Democrat Ran for her current position of Lt. Gov. on a platform of “We [heart symbol] Lucy” and seems to be using the same platform in the gubernatorial race
Roy Moore Republican Worships graven images in defiance of the Ten Commandments and at considerable expense to taxpayers
Loretta Nall Libertarian Internationally reknowned marijuana journalist and political activist
Bob Riley Republican The former congressman and incumbent told us to “Do the Right Thing” by voting for the greatest increase in taxation in Alabama history. We told him where to stick his tax plan by a vote of 68% to 32%.
Don Siegelman Democrat The former Governor consistently runs on a gambling platform while continuing to run faster than the teams of prosecuters chasing him.

It’s time to put the “goober” back in “gubernatorial”, as opposed to the holy name-dropping competition currently taking place. With choices like these in the race, I’ll likely be rooting for the pot-head.

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