2011 began with the newly-elected GOP governor and legislative majority hell-bent on ensuring Alabama's lead in a “race to the bottom.” Between bingo trials, immigration, industry, & plain old party politics, there was no statement too false, far-out, or fear-mongering for these guys. Over the next 2 days, we'll rank some of the worst of the worst.
Don't be surprised to see Scott Beason's name on more than one….
Note that the list is limited to state and local officeholders. Alabama's senators and congresscritters are also a target-rich environment, but not part of this particular list.
Before we get to the fun & games though, let's review the decidedly unscientific methodology we used to rank them. We first compiled the initial list of statements based on the recollections of LIA front pagers and reader submissions. We then ranked them by scoring each statement based on 5 criteria, scoring each from 0 to 5 with 0 meaning the criteria doesn't apply and 5 being an egregious example. So the higher the score, the “dumber” the statement.
The 5 criteria are:
- Racially or religiously insensitive? The speaker used racial slurs or religiously divisive language.
- Factually incorrect? The speaker asserted opinion as fact or just made up facts to fit his/her biases.
- National ridicule? The statement made national news and became fodder for The Daily Show, network & cable news, and newspaper editorial boards.
- Demonstrates stupidity and/or duplicity? The speaker appeared to be either too dumb to realize that he/she should have kept his/her mouth shut or was just gleefully lying.
- Just plain mean? The speaker seemed to glory in making a statement that demeaned a particular group, ridiculed someone, or was otherwise hurtful.
After ranking the statements according to each five measurements, we added the total score of each, and ranked them from 1 to 10. The highest possible score is 25, meaning it received a “5” score for each question.
The #1 statement this year earned a perfect “25.” Can you guess what it was and who said it? If not, we'll reveal the Top 5 tomorrow.
Today's list counts down from 10 to 6. And it gets worse tomorrow!
#10 Total score: 10
#1 – 0 pts
#2 – 5 pts
#3 – 0 pts
#4 – 4 pts
#5 – 1 pt
“Tom Butler is a likable gentleman and a good, moral man,” GOP Executive Committee member Hugh McInnish told The Times before the meeting. “But he's a Democrat and a liberal, and he does not fit the Republican Party.”
Madison County GOP Executive Committee member Hugh McInnish was a late-breaking entry, but we couldn't let his indictment of party-switcher Tom Butler go unnoticed.
Ex-legislator Butler may have run as a Democrat multiple times, but he is in no way a “liberal.” Remember that he spent more time buddying with Republicans in the legislature and sponsoring stupid sex toy legislation than he did in working for any sort of progressive change in the state.
This one got a perfect score for being “factually untrue.”
#9 Total score: 11
#1 – 0 pts
#2 – 2 pts
#3 – 3 pts
#4 – 3 pts
#5 – 3 pts.
Derek Trotter, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said Monday evening both House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, and Marsh would be willing to look at changes in any law if “unintended consequences” developed from the statute.
“As far as I know, there are no unintended consequences that have been brought to the table at this point,” he said.
So, as Mooncat wrote previously…. “The negative consequences of HB56 — lawsuits, bad publicity, racial profiling, school absences, long lines, denial of water, power and sewer service, an exodus of workers, rotting crops, business losses, a $40 million economic contraction, etc. — are not unintended consequences.“
This statement got a 3 for national ridicule (nobody ridiculed this exact statement, but we got plenty from the bill itself). The last 2 measurements also received 3's for being just stupid (who thought this bill was a good idea?) and for being mean. So, the GOP intended to create all this havoc? Way to go guys…..
#8 Total score: 13
#1 – 3 pts
#2 – 0 pts
#3 – 0 pts
#4 – 5 pts
#5 – 5 pts
“If you can't feed them, don't breed them.”
This was newly-elected SD-8 Senator Shadrack McGill speaking on the floor of the Alabama senate about the plight of unwanted children and the difficulties poor Alabamians have taking care of their children — in the lead up to yet another vote to restrict access to abortion.
Chalk one up for a state senator so terrible that he makes us miss Lowell Barron….
This got a 3 for being religiously insensitive. McGill is a guy who constantly parades his “Christian” values & we believe that Jesus had quite a bit to say about taking care of the poor. It also topped the “stupid” and “just plain mean” scales.
Could be be looking at Alabama's next Scott Beason?
——- Note that #6 & #7 have a tie score. We ranked them numerically based on our subjective opinion of how egregious the statement was. ————
#7 Total score: 14
#1 – 0 pts
#2 – 4 pts
#3 – 1 pts
#4 – 4 pts
#5 – 5 pts
“When we were drafting this legislation, we found there were so many offices in the state — so many bureaucrats — that just didn’t want to do any work. They just don’t want to do anything,” Hammon said.
House Majority leader Micky Hammon put his foot firmly in his mouth with this statement. Let's see… the GOP passes a turkey of a bill (drafted in a turkey blind, no less) that is full of unfunded mandates on local governments. When officials responsible for enforcement cry foul, Hammon dismisses their concerns as just the carping of bureaucrats “who don't want to work.”
The state would be better off if Hammon stopped showing up for work.
This one topped out the “meanness” measurement and ranked pretty high on the stupidity and factual incorrectness. As for national ridicule…. we really want the rest of the country to think our state & local governments are totally dysfunctional, right???
#6 Total score: 14
#1 – 5 pts
#2 – 0 pts
#3 – 4 pts
#4 – 5 pts
#5 – 0 pts
About the people coming to Alabama from all over the country to protest the destructive immigration law, Armistead said this week: “This is reminiscent of others coming into our state to cause trouble.”
State GOP Chair Bill Armistead revealed a lot about the racist underpinnings of the immigration bill when he described protestors this way. Is he sure he didn't mean to say “outside agitators?”
Joey Kennedy of the Birmingham News gave one of the best smackdowns:
When pressed to explain what he meant about outsiders causing trouble, Armistead said it was similar to the “overreach” of federal health care reform.
Yeah, we all remember that mob down at the Birmingham bus station that beat up all those out-of-state health-care riders.
Armistead's statement topped out on the “racially insensitive” measure as well as the “stupid” scale. It was close – receiving a “4” – on the national ridicule measure.
Yes, Mr. Armistead, we really want to remind people about Alabama's previous problems with “outsiders” causing trouble, don't we?
Stay tuned for more tomorrow, campers! We'll really be scraping the bottom of the barrel….