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Opinion | The embarrassment of Coach Tommy

“Alabama U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville should keep his mouth closed,” writes columnist Joey Kennedy.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, in a photo from his campaign website.

There’s this old saying: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” Alabama U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville should keep his mouth closed.

Not long after he was elected, Tuberville incorrectly identified the three branches of the U.S. government. In a November interview, Tuberville said, “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.”

Actually – and one would think a United States Senator would know this – the three branches of the U.S. government are the executive, legislative and judiciary.

In that same interview, Tuberville said we fought in World War II to free Europe from socialism. As most of us know we fought World War II to free Europe from fascism. You know, kind of like an awful lot of Republicans, including twice-impeached President Donald Trump, would like to establish in the United States.

I would put Tuberville in that group as well, but, in fact, it’s doubtful he knows what socialism or fascism or even capitalism is.

Tuberville didn’t mind helping spread The Big Lie, though. The Big Lie, a propaganda technique, was perfected by German fascists in World War II after Adolf Hitler dictated in his 1925 book Mein Kampf that one should use a lie so huge that no one would believe someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

Our Big Lie this election season was Trump telling anybody and everybody he had defeated President-elect Joe Biden in a landslide. Actually, Trump lost in a landslide, all 50 states certified the result and the electors, and Congress affirmed the Electoral College vote last week even as Trump was sending his far-right, white-supremacist supporters to the Capitol building to disrupt the count. Tuberville joined a few colleagues who challenged the count.

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Now, Tuberville has become Twitter famous by opening his mouth again. In an interview Thursday, Tuberville suggested just pushing back the inauguration of President-elect Biden, questioning the timing of the event on Jan. 20.

“We probably could have had a swearing-in and inauguration later after we got this virus behind us a little bit,” Tuberville is quoted as saying.

Tuberville is apparently unaware that the U.S. Constitution sets the inauguration date as Jan. 20. Trump’s term ends at noon and Biden’s starts. Tuberville should give the Constitution a read. It’s not that long, about 4,500 words.

But not long after he suggested the inauguration be pushed back, Tuberville was the butt of jokes on Twitter, again, bringing embarrassment to Alabama.

“Tuberville played too much football without his helmet,” said one Tweeter.

Another suggested this: “I think we need to have all incoming members of Congress take and pass a Civics test, the same kind that we force naturalized citizens to take because….well, Lauren Boebert and Tommy Tupperville (sic.), et al.”

And then, a direct slap at Alabama from a third Tweeter: “Alabama choosing Tommy Tuberville, a former football coach, over Doug Jones, a wellrespected civil rights attorney, is all I need to know about Alabama’s priorities.”

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There are plenty of others.

CNN also had a little fun with Tuberville with a story titled: “Tommy Tuberville, meet the Constitution. Constitution, Sen. Tuberville.”

Here’s a real problem, though. With all the factual mistakes Tuberville makes, members of the media are likely to want to interview him often, just to get a shot at that “gotcha” moment, and it appears Tuberville is an easy mark.

It’s too bad that Coach Tuberville is exactly the living stereotype of a football dude: A dummy.

Even worse, though: We traded in Doug Jones for this fool.

Joey Kennedy
Written By

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Tuberville has been assigned to four Senate committees important for the people of Alabama.

National

Biden honored the Black fighter pilots trained in then-segregated Alabama to fight in the skies over Europe during World War II.

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A number of Alabama dignitaries attended the inauguration including Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Sen. Tommy Tuberville.

News

While this is a solemn day of remembrance, it is not a national or a state holiday.