Senator Luther Strange has done an excellent job of representing the Republican establishment, but a lousy job of representing the people of Alabama. Strange was not elected to the United States Senate; he was appointed by the former governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, who resigned his office while under investigation for sexual misconduct and using state resources to carry out an illicit affair. However, before resigning, he was able to appoint Strange to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A lot of people in Alabama find it rather curious that Bentley appointed than Attorney General of Alabama Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate; one such person is Stan Pate.
The day after President Trump endorsed Strange, Pate filed a complaint to Alabama’s ethics commission and the Senate ethics committee alleging malfeasance in Strange’s Senate appointment. Pate’s complaint stems from Strange’s behavior during the investigation into Bentley’s conduct.
In November, Attorney General Strange made a request to the Alabama state legislature to halt impeachment proceedings against Bentley pending “related work” by his office. Shortly after his request, Strange expressed interest in replacing Sessions and refused to confirm or deny that his office was investigating the governor. The state legislature paused its impeachment proceedings of the governor; it appears that Strange never opened an investigation of the governor, and Bentley offered Strange the vacant Senate seat paving the way for Bentley to appoint a new attorney general. Bentley’s choice to replace Strange, Steve Marshall, turned out to be a wise choice because Marshall offered Bentley a plea deal that allowed the governor to resign and avoid criminal prosecution. Pate and others would like answers on how Strange ended up in the U.S. Senate and Bentley was allowed to walk away virtually unscathed.
Although Strange has spent only six months in Washington, D.C., he has already endeared himself to the Republican establishment. He has managed to secure coveted spots on committees and subcommittees, including the Committee on the Budget, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Committee on Armed Services. Strange’s ability to land seats on committees in such a short amount of time is awe-inspiring but not as impressive as the speed at which he kowtowed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Super RINOs like Karl Rove.
The election to choose a permanent replacement for Attorney General Sessions is August 15th, and all of the polls have Strange in second place at twenty-two percent. The Honorable Judge Roy Moore is leading the crowded field polling at thirty percent, and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks is stalking Strange at nineteen percent. However, although Strange is trailing Moore and Brooks is lurking, he enjoys an advantage over the two because McConnell and Rove have pledged millions to Strange’s campaign. The Senate Leadership Fund pledged and is in the midst of spending $2.6 million on television ads on behalf of Strange. Rove’s PAC, American Crossroads, has spent generously to help Strange ward off Brooks to at least force a runoff with Moore. It pays to join the congregation of alligators in the swamp.
Trump’s endorsement of Luther Strange is an error in judgment. Strange is not interested in draining the swamp, but he’s desperate to remain in the swamp. Trump and his team in the White House should properly vet a candidate before providing an endorsement because Trump’s endorsement of Strange is antithetical to the president’s mission.
In April, the Washington Examiner interviewed Strange about his mysterious, short journey from Alabama to the U.S. Senate and his thoughts on Washington, D.C., including whether he thinks public corruption is a problem. When the reporter from the Washington Examiner asked the Senator if public corruption is a problem in Washington, he replied: “I have not seen that in my short time here.” Okay, we can all rest easy, Strange doesn’t see a swamp; Trump and his administration can dial back their agenda and ease up on the inflammatory rhetoric about the ‘swamp’ because the United States Capitol is clean.
The people of the great State of Alabama deserve better than Luther Strange. There is a reason the establishment supports Strange in words and money. The beleaguered, very unpopular McConnell doesn’t funnel millions to just anybody, you have to show you are loyal to the establishment before you get to enjoy the fruits of the corrupt system McConnell helped to create; Strange is, of course, in the club. Both Moore and Brooks are much better options for the people of Alabama and the Trump administration; they see the swamp, and they want to drain it.