The lightning-fast ushering in of the act produced winners and losers, some worse than others. Anniston’s Del Marsh, president pro tem of the Senate, and the Republicans in the Legislature won — clearly. The Democrats and the AEA lost. Gov. Robert Bentley, though a Republican, witnessed his desire to delay the act’s implementation go down like a leaky hot-air balloon.
It’s odd that that Alabama Democrats hope the act has a decent shelf life.
It’s also quite optimistic to think that that vulnerable Republican legislators may face stiffened opposition in 2014 because of voters’ discontent over the act’s tax-credit component. Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, told the Decatur Daily he believes that “dozens of Republicans” won’t be re-elected because Alabamians disagree with the idea of funneling public money to those who may enroll their children in private schools.
That some Alabamians despise that premise isn’t up for debate. It’s one of the most contentious parts of the Accountability Act. It’s also one of several reasons why this editorial board steadfastly believes the act and how it came to be — without proper vetting, for instance — are bad for Alabama.
Nevertheless, Democrats — a divided political party these days — shouldn’t expect to challenge for control of the state Legislature based on Alabamians’ distaste for the Accountability Act. It no doubt will make a difference for some voters in certain districts. But “dozens” of GOPers put aside because of the act? For the Democrats, that’s wishful thinking.
Democrats who want to move the state closer to a two-party political system in the Legislature in 2014 have ingredients with which to work. Convincing voters that the Republican leadership’s dictatorial way of steering Alabama the last two years needs to be front and center in those efforts.