WTVM Editorial 4/16/17: The resignation of Robert Bentley

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The resignation of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley   last week was thankfully quick and relatively painless.

At least when measured against other notable political scandals.

Richard Nixon held on to the presidency for two years and two months after a motivated bugging and burglary led to his resignation in 1974.

Last Monday, when Bentley's impeachment hearings were just beginning, Bentley saw the light and resigned the very same day.

The swift swearing in of new Governor Kay Ivey was a welcome and smooth transition of power after a bumpy road for Bentley.

Bentley did keep one promise as governor, not to take a salary while the economy was recovering, and he never did.

But he didn't keep his promise to cooperate with the investigation into his misuse of state funds and personnel to hide his new love interest, a former political aide.

When the impeachment committee first began seeking evidence in the case, Bentley said he would never resign and apologized, but only for inappropriate behavior with the aide, Rebekah Mason, that he claimed was never sexual.

But the evidence kept mounting and it was a series of scandalous texts and phone calls that Bentley never wanted divulged, that pushed him finally to resign.

He felt the impeachment process was engineered to embarrass him when it turns out he was quite capable of doing that all by himself.

One of the revelations about the scandal was that Bentley had given an iPad to his wife – before their divorce after 50 years of marriage – that he once used for his speeches.

He had decided to deliver his speeches from paper scripts, so he gave the tablet to his wife.

But Bentley neglected to remove his messaging account from the iPad, so the most damning evidence -- texts between the governor and Mason confessing their mutual love and longing for each other – were seen simultaneously by Bentley's wife Diane.


She saved the texts, which became evidence in the case against her now ex-husband.

That evidence may have been awkward, but the impeachment process did its job, even though Bentley tried several times to slow down the inevitable result.

The people of Alabama who Bentley once pledged to serve from a platform of conservative, Christian family values, were, in the end, best served by

Bentley stepping aside and doing it quickly.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

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