By way of introduction: Tommy Tuberville is the new Republican U.S. senator from Alabama.
He was previously a successful college football coach at the University of Mississippi, Texas Tech, Cincinnati and Auburn — where his team six times defeated their powerful in-state rival, the University of Alabama. Tuberville — with the strong endorsement of President Donald J. Trump and after a campaign in which, after first announcing he would meet his rivals in public debates, he refused to debate either his primary or general election opponents and did not hold open press conferences or announce his scheduled campaign appearances to press or to the public — still won 60 percent of the vote in November to defeat the Democratic incumbent Doug Jones.
After the election, Sen.-elect Tuberville unintentionally revealed the reasons for his reluctance to publicly answer questions from voters, his opponents, or the Alabama press. Asked for his reaction to the presidential election, Tuberville admitted to a concern that Joe Biden, who was branded too centrist by his Democratic primary opponents, harbored a philosophy that "leads more to a socialist type of government." He continued: "That's concerning to me, that we're to the point now where we've got almost half the country voting for something that this country wasn't built on. ... I tell people my dad fought 76 years ago in Europe to free Europe of socialism." The U.S. fought World War II, let the record be clear, against fascism — not socialism.
Everybody's entitled to an occasional miscue, but Tuberville was not finished. Questioned whether the GOP, with only a razor-thin majority in the Senate and with Democrats controlling both the House and the White House, could still pass Republican legislation, the Coach explained: "Our government wasn't set up for one group to have all three branches of government — wasn't set up that way. You know, the House, the Senate and the executive." According to the Constitution and our eighth-grade civics courses, the federal government's three branches are the legislative, which would be the House and the Senate; the executive, beginning with the presidency; and the judicial, where we find the Supreme Court.
Tommy still was not finished. Revealing his ignorance of recent American history, he misinformed listeners: "I remember in 2000 Al Gore was president — United States president-elect for 30 days. And after 30 days, it got to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court says, 'No, George Bush is going to be the president.'" At no time was Gore either "president" or "president-elect," and the Supreme Court intervened to end the Florida recount, which led Gore to concede to George W. Bush.
The cheap, easy thing would be to mock Alabama — especially after their last Republican Senate worthy, Judge Roy "Well, there's Sharia law, as I understand it, in Illinois and Indiana up there" Moore — but that would be wrong. Instead, let us accentuate the positive. Alabama Republican voters, by their bizarre choices of Tommy Tuberville and Roy Moore, are loudly and emphatically discrediting the myth of white superiority — and that is a national service.
To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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