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on April 18, 2017 at 12:10 PM, updated April 18, 2017 at 12:11 PM
That's the sound of 6-foot-9 Sen. Luther Strange falling flat on his face.
It's a long way down.
Gov. Kay Ivey did it. In unwinding the warped world of ex-Gov. Robert Bentley she today set a special election to fill the senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions and assumed by Big Luther. The primary will be August 15, which is practically right on top of us.
Which means all Strange's backroom bargaining amounts nothing but stinky Montgomery cheese. Which means America's tallest senator may become one of the shortest-lasting.
Oh, it's hard to unseat a sitting senator, even if he gets to sit for a few months.
But an election four months away, with Alabama still blushing from Bentley's lurid indiscretions and still seeing Big Luther is Bentley's Strange Bedfellow, is as cutting as a chainsaw.
Strange, for those who don't obsess on the sausage-making of Alabama politics, was Alabama attorney general when the investigation of Bentley began. Strange's special prosecution unit was investigating the governor, and Strange acted for a minute like he was serious about it. He even went to the House Judiciary Committee in November and asked legislators to suspend its impeachment process.
Because his people were on it.
It looked like a reasonable thing at the time. For that one minute. It looked like a sign that Strange really wanted to "clean up Montgomery" like he said in all those commercials.
Because only weeks later - to the shock and aw-no-he-didn't of all Alabamians who dared hope for political decency - Strange went right to Bentley and asked to be appointed to Sessions' seat.
Which is like a Columbo going to his prime suspect and asking for a job.
And he got it, in a deal that smelled worse than Bentley's pool house.
Just look how that turned out.
Bentley got his last week. And now Strange faces an Alabama sick of disappointment and corruption, a state that's had it up to Big Luther's eyeballs with politicians who ask for trust and they don't deserve.
But there's more to this appointment than Strange's comeuppance.
There's the specter and the spectator sport of politics itself.
Some believe suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore wants the senate seat and will be a front-runner if he chooses to run. The fact that it will be held in special election means anybody and everybody in Alabama politics can take a shot without risking the seat they already have.
If they lose the senate, they can simply run for their current position again on the regular schedule.
No harm no foul.
Of course if Moore won that senate seat he'd be off the table for the 2018 governor's race, and Ivey would have one less competitor, should she chooses to run for the office again.
You can say a lot of things about her, but stupid ain't one.
It's nothing but a win for Ivey. She still gets to claim she's busy "steadying the ship of state," as she likes to say.
"This means following the law, which clearly states the people should vote for a replacement U.S. Senator as soon as possible," she said.
And it is right to make Strange pay for his mistakes and earn the right to represent Alabama in Washington. It is right to take the decision away from a corrupt and misguided ex-governor who just pleaded guilty and walked away in shame.
It is right to give the choice to the people of Alabama.