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Politics

It Took Tommy Tuberville Four Days To Prove Himself One Of America’s Worst Senators

Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, stands for a photo at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 9, 2020. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Pool/Getty Images

Tommy Tuberville’s record as a college football coach is 159-99, but he was looking for bigger things on a bigger stage. He wasn’t going to feel fulfilled as the former coach at Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech, or Cincinnati. The year he almost led an Auburn team to the national championship is now an afterthought, if a thought at all.

So now he’s a human mudslide. Well done to you, Tom. You really nailed this career choice.

Of all the Trump supporters in the legislature who have to bear the eternal stain of Wednesday’s Trumpian insurrection, only six U.S. senators decided to vote in favor of the thing that even Lindsey Graham for Christ’s sake couldn’t stomach. Only six U.S. senators voted to reject Arizona’s justly appointed electors, in what by that point was a largely symbolic vote to identify our country’s very worst lawmakers.

And one of those six was Tommy Tuberville, the junior senator from Alabama sworn in just last Sunday. A man of his convictions, no pun intended, from the beginning to the end.

This is not a surprise. Tuberville has been this guy for his entire career, not just as a politician but as a public figure. He sounded like a football coach because that is the standard by which college coaches are held. It’s a caricature in many cases, but it’s one that has been allowed, forgiven, and even promoted.

But Tuberville took it that one extra step, maybe because he couldn’t satisfactorily define himself as a football coach in his mind. Of the 2,200 some-odd college coaches that have ever had the title, only a few ended their careers in ignominy. Most just lost more than they won, or lost after winning. Nothing wrong in that, we can all agree. Everybody did their best.

Tommy Tuberville is a step beyond too far, though, and given the tolerances we have allowed for his former industry, he has made his current one significantly worse. Whoever he fancies himself as a lawmaker, it is already far worse than what he was as a college football coach. His vote is consistent with what and who he is, yet nobody in his former business should view him quite the same way. The worst voices in his head tell him things that make sense to him, and he acted on them Wednesday night.

Tuberville may not be as craven and contemptible an opportunist as Josh Hawley, the electoral whore from Missouri, or as soft and spineless as Ted Cruz, who has never stood for anything he couldn’t immediately roll over on, but being a true believer of the indefensible is hardly better. It makes us all wish that Tuberville hadn’t lost those last five games in 2016. Or better, that he had gone 4-8 much earlier in his career and been just another guy who didn’t win enough games to matter to anyone.