Regular readers of this column may have noticed by now that I have some serious issues with former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s attempt to become the duly elected U.S. Senator representing this state in Congress.
Specifically, I think it’s pretty clear “Big Luther” went over to meet Gov. Robert Bentley and ask the Luv Guv to appoint him senator at the very same time his office was investigating our lovesick chief executive. On almost every planet in the known universe what Strange did is unethical and politically smells like a dead skunk.
So I’ve come to feel like Big Luther is kind of a big liar and willing to put his own political desires before the truth or doing what’s right. And last week he released his first campaign ad that absolutely proves my feelings correct.
The basic gist of the ad is that Strange went to Montgomery and ran all the crooked politicians out of town, while at the same time fighting the Obama agenda and making sure babies weren’t aborted. If you didn’t know better after watching the commercial, you might think we no longer need Batman, Superman and your favorite parish priest — we got us some Luther!
To say this ad is dishonest isn’t really giving its makers full credit. Whoever put this 1-min-30-second tribute to slick political BS together deserves whatever money Big Luther dumped on them and a few expensive Cuban cigars to boot.
It starts off with BL driving a white pickup truck smeared with what looks like Grey Poupon mustard, but I guess is supposed to be mud. He’s punching in the code at the car wash as the voice-over tells us BL was sent to the state capital to “clean up political corruption, and Big Luther Strange kept his word, fighting corrupt Montgomery insiders and special interest.” As BL washes his truck, three guys in suits — no doubt the alluded-to corrupt politicians and insiders — are drenched in soapy water and begin writhing around as if they’ve been sprayed with hydrochloric acid.
We’re treated to some kind of creepy shot of BL holding up a badge, and then the real fun begins.
Often politicians may take flattering newspaper headlines from real, existing newspapers and use them in ads to give the viewer the general idea some newspapers had gone to the trouble of writing good things about the candidate. I guess for Big Luther such headlines didn’t exist, so his ad team made up a fake newspaper called Valley Times — and the folks at Valley Times LOVE writing positive headlines about BL. Maybe the editor is a Big Luther relative.
The first banner headline — the kind generally reserved for alien landings and nuclear war — tells us “STRANGE WILL INVESTIGATE BENTLEY.” All caps. Big dang deal. It’s really a heck of a scoop for the news team at Valley Times, especially since Big Luther consistently dodged the issue of whether his office was investigating Bentley when asked whether he should be interviewing for a job with the governor.
The next big Valley Times story is “LUTHER STRANGE SAYS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OUT OF CONTROL” as the voice-over begins ticking off the list of Strange’s major accomplishments, starting with fighting big government and gay marriage. The fake accomplishments and fake headlines keep rolling along. Soon there’s a huge Valley Times headline about the conviction of House Speaker Mike Hubbard, which gives Luther credit for his prosecution and conviction. Never mind that Strange had to recuse himself from Hubbard’s prosecution because of their business dealings.
The Valley Times also blasts “BENTLEY RESIGNS, PLEADS GUILTY TO SEX COVERUP” while the announcer gives BL credit for the investigation leading to Bentley’s resignation. OK, I hate to criticize a storied newspaper like Valley Times, but I’m pretty sure Bentley pleaded guilty to campaign issues, not a sex coverup. I’m also pretty sure Strange had recused himself from the investigation he refused to admit existed.
Perhaps we can all discuss Big Luther’s role in some of the other matters brought up in the commercial — Obamacare, the Second Amendment, abortion, the BP settlement — but there’s really no way Strange can make the claims he cleaned up Montgomery and played a major role in the investigation/prosecution of Hubbard or Bentley. Even Valley Times should know those claims are demonstrably false.
At this point it seems pretty clear the vision of Luther Strange as a corruption-fighting law enforcement officer is going to be rammed down Alabamians’ collective throats as he tries to stay in his ill-gotten seat. And he’s going to have the money to do that, as the Republican National Senatorial Campaign Committee has already made it well known Strange is the candidate they will back in the election, even threatening to punish political consultants who run campaigns for his opponents.
While Strange may portray himself as a good ol’ boy, a blue-collar guy who fights political corruption, the reality remains that he’s a former D.C. lobbyist whose raw political aspirations have been laid bare by the way he handled the Bentley scandal.
If the first of Big Luther’s campaign ads can be used as a guideline, we’re in for a lot of outlandishness over the course of this election. I’m sure Strange’s biggest hope for winning is managing to land in a runoff with Roy Moore.
But if things don’t ultimately work out for BL in this race, he can at least fall back on being editor of fake news at the Valley Times.