Writing at CNN, former NY Times Editor Howell Raines, a native Alabaman, has harsh words for the state’s current Governor, Robert Bentley, and HB 56, the anti-immigrant legislation that the Governor signed into law earlier this year:
The excuse that illegal immigrants are taking jobs from native Alabamians has been blown to smithereens. One state survey in neighboring Georgia, with its own harsh law, found that the state was short some 11,000 workers to harvest crops.
Alabama Gov. Bentley’s response to complaints by employers and displaced workers alike was casual: “Those stories are anecdotal stories,” he told the Dothan Eagle editorial board. “It’ll work itself out.”
With that kind of thinking, Bentley, a political unknown a year ago, is challenging George Wallace, who held office in the 1960s, in the state’s endless most-embarrassing-governor sweepstakes. Wallace, of course, played to pre-existing racism. Bentley has one-upped him by attacking a problem that no one was worrying about.
As Raines points out, Bentley is continuing a long tradition of Alabama Governors who embarrass the state.