Live fast, resign early, and leave a smiling mug shot

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley resigned Monday as part of a plea deal, following his seriously skeezy affair with a top staffer and a series of clumsy attempts to cover it up. Instead of facing prosecution for felonies involving misuse of public funds, Bentley will plead guilty to two misdemeanors, agree to never seek public office again, reimburse campaign funds illegally spent on legal fees for former aide and paramour Rebekah Mason, do 100 hours of public service, and also promise to never say or write anything related to sexxytimes, ever. Fine, we made up that last one. But it's just common sense. You've heard the gross sex tape.

It's conceivable Bentley could face as much as a year in prison on the two misdemeanor charges of violating campaign law, depending on whether the judge in the case is feeling grumpy; the expert consensus is that Bentley won't see the inside of a cell. The Alabama Ethics Commission had recommended prosecution on four felonies that could have carried a penalty of 20 years each, so the misdemeanor pleas are a pretty sweet deal, huh?

Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey was sworn in as governor almost immediately after Bentley's resignation; for trivia fans, she's Alabama's second woman governor. The first was George Wallace's wife Lurleen Wallace, who was elected in 1966 because state law at the time kept governors from serving more than one consecutive term. It was mostly a shell game designed to keep George in power as the guy behind the lady-throne, and everyone was fine with that, because Alabama. Ms. Wallace died of cancer after 16 months of office, the poor dear. The whole sad story gets covered very well in Rick Perlstein's essential history of how the '60s got us where we are today, Nixonland. If you haven't read it, you need to!

Bentley's resignation came the day an Alabama legislative panel was due to begin impeachment hearings, following Friday's release of an investigative report on the governor's cheesy affair and his attempts to cover up evidence and silence people who knew about it. While outlining all the ways the governor abused the public trust, the investigation also turned up horrible sexxytime texts between Bentley and Mason, including one in which Mason wrote what should become the new state motto, "Bless our hearts. And other parts."

In a truly bathetic resignation speech, Bentley said, "There have been times when I have let you and our people down, and I’m sorry for that. The consequences of my mistakes have been grievously unfair to you, my dedicated staff and my Cabinet." He said he'd spent the last year in prayer, which disappointingly didn't elicit a single guffaw in the room, and then added some more Jesus-is-your-savior stuff, because it's Easter week, you know. He talked some about how much he loved serving the wonderful people of Alabama (but refrained from any mention of how he'd serviced one in particular), then offered this beautifully reality-denying preview of what he'd like to do next:

The time has come for me to look at new ways to serve the good people of our great state. I have decided it is time for me to step down as Alabama's governor. I leave this office that I have held, that I have respected, that I have loved for seven years to focus on other, and possibly more effective areas, of service.

Like, for instance, picking up litter from the sides of the great state's beautiful highways, and maybe doing some consulting for the kind of people who always seem to appear following a scandal to provide a soft landing for disgraced politicians. Or maybe he could try his hand at preaching. The man sure does love to talk about Jesus, at least when he's not all moony over the thought of handling his honeybunch's dirtypillows.

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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