“Let me just say this one more time because I keep getting asked the same question over and over again. I will keep my hold, I will keep it on until the Pentagon follows the law or changes the law. It’s that simple. Those are two conditions that would get me to drop the hold. So until these conditions are met, I object.” 

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville 

Politics in America has long been a game of pillory and pejorative meant to sway the crowd regardless of what is true. The best political players don’t use language to communicate; instead, they manipulate. Accordingly, contempt has become a powerful currency in American politics, and there are plenty of lucrative veins of disdain and discontent to forever mine from the American people’s collective psyche.  

It’s almost as if bigoted disdain is a virtue in politics, and it seems political power makes men and women contemptuous and resentful towards one another. Rather than an enlightened and measured debate over complex issues, what passes for political discourse in America is often nothing more than dishonest advertising with a dose of insult comedy, absent the humor. 

As Jeff Deist, the longtime (now former) president of the Mises Institute wrote in 2021, “Welcome to post-persuasion America,” where “mobilizing the few is far more important and far more effective than foolishly trying to persuade the many.” 

Such a reality should not shock or surprise. I have long suspected it is far easier to sway a certain segment of the population with emotion-laden defamations than any well-reasoned argument. If you want everyday people to fight fervently for your political cause, you must make them believe you have the obvious moral high ground while branding the opposition as morally depraved and ignorant. You must make your cause a matter of identity and personal pride, doing so in the most simple-minded, uncharitable, and reductive terms. As far as the unthinking masses are concerned, nuanced reasoning is unprincipled claptrap, whereas name-calling is the stuff of moral enlightenment and political mobilization.  

Since being elected to the U.S. Senate, Coach Tommy Tuberville has been called many of these names, from “America’s dumbest Senator” to “a dog-whistling racist.” The name-calling has only become more shrill and unhinged in the midst of Tuberville’s hold on flag officer promotions after the Pentagon’s unilateral move to fund and facilitate abortion for female military members.  

Tuberville claims the Pentagon's unilateral policy change violates the 1977 Hyde Amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. If the Pentagon wishes to facilitate elective abortions for women in the military, the law must first be changed by Congress and signed by the President, he argues. The military administrative bureaucracy cannot change the law on its own, not even through clever schemes that fulfill the letter of the law while clearly violating the spirit of the law. Such would be unconstitutional. 

Sadly, unconstitutional laws and administrative policies have long been all the rage in Washington, D.C., and so most of the beltway is now raging at Coach Tuberville’s blockade of the administrative state. Several months into his hold, the “dumb, racist” senior senator from Alabama has now been branded a “threat to national security and military readiness,” receiving constant, public needling from the corporate press, fellow senators, Pentagon officials, the White House, and President Joe Biden himself.  

That one senator could threaten national security doesn’t speak well of America’s national security apparatus. Who knew the American national security establishment could be so darn insecure and its servants so darn sensitive to delayed personal ambitions and honorifics? As I wrote in my column last week, the true threat to America’s military readiness is a “sclerotic military bureaucracy infected by groupthink, money-grubbing, lack of mission, and all the other pathologies that seem to be ailing the professional managerial class across America.” From a military bureaucracy that continues to conflate national defense with the goal of full-spectrum world domination, one would expect slightly thicker skin in the face of dug-in opposition from one senator. 

Indeed, in the midst of all the sound and fury of post-persuasion America, he with the thickest skin usually wins — and on this issue, Sen. Tuberville seems to have the thickest of them all.  

Coach Tuberville knows most in Alabama have his back, including many veterans. He knows the usual insults hurled at Alabama are about as cynical and corrupt as “rounding up the usual suspects. Tuberville isn’t the first Alabamian (or Republican) to be called stupid or racist or dangerous by the Washington establishment and his political opponents. Such insults are growing thin to the point of transforming into badges of honor. Such pejoratives (ironically so often hurled in a bigoted fashion to brand someone a bigot) are only promoting Tuberville in the minds of most Alabamians.  

Pillory Tuberville all you like, even make fun of him as “just a football coach,” but just know he’s been called plenty of names throughout his life and coaching career, and he’s built up quite a thick skin. A little name-calling barely scratches the surface and will only remind most conservatives in Alabama and across the nation of Washington, D.C.’s manipulative and undying contempt for them and the plain language of the Constitution.

Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and is currently the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback, please email newsandviews931@gmail.com.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com

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