As the Senate rolls very, very slowly toward a bipartisan move to override Sen. Tommy Tuberville's blanket hold on hundreds of top-level military promotions, it seems Tuberville is finally beginning to realize that he's pushed his fellow senators too far on this one.
That seems the best interpretation of Tuberville's pleas to his fellow Republican senators on Tuesday:
“Listen, everyone. I got y’all into this mess. I’m gonna get you out,” Tuberville reportedly said during a closed door lunch.
Not on the lunch menu: any explanation from Sen. Football Guy on just how he might do that. Nor does Tuberville appear to be wavering from his stance that he'll drop the holds only when the U.S. military wipes out policies covering travel expenses for service members who need abortion care and need to travel to a non-theocratic state to get it—or when the Senate passes legislation to strip those policies itself.
Instead, it appears Tuberville is stalling for time, trying to convince his fellow Republicans to hold off on a vote to override his holds for as long as he can manage it. He's also claiming the Armed Service Committee colleagues are "getting close" to a solution. He hasn't offered up any evidence for that claim either, only the broad assertion that he's "trying to get some kind of resolution before we get home for Christmas."
But no, his colleagues don't appear to see whatever "resolution" Tuberville claims might be forthcoming. They keep proposing compromises, Tuberville keeps insisting that the holds will continue until the military's abortion policies are rescinded, and top military officials keep warning that our armed forces cannot remain effective with hundreds of command positions left in limbo.
This has been going on for 10 months now, with Tuberville insisting that a solution is just around the corner for at least the last two months. Tuberville's main problem at this point may be that even his fellow Republicans know full well that he's lying to them.
Why do they know? Because Tuberville continues to make claims that come straight from the swamps of Lower Liarville. The man is shameless. He came back from Thanksgiving with a claim that "admirals and generals," none of whom he would name, personally called him over the holiday to thank him for holding up hundreds of promotions and assuring him that it wasn't causing any problems whatsoever.
Were they big guys, Tommy? Big guys with tears in their eyes, telling you how great you are and how you were the best football guy to ever football? Or did you just steal one of Donald Trump's most famous bits and pass it off as your own?
In the meantime, Tuberville continues to be Tuberville in all the usual ways, to the point where nobody can ever be sure if he's really as stone-cold loopy as the worst House Republicans or if he's just faking it for attention. He's a regular on Newsmax, the far-right network that boosted Trump's invented election-fraud claims, and showed up again on Monday to froth that "we're going to have a 9/11 attack every few weeks" if Joe Biden doesn't listen to Tommy Football's border policy advice.
He also noted that "I was an educator" in that interview, which might be an even bigger stretch. The man refuses to let any conversation pass by without mentioning he was a college football coach, but it'll be a cold day in hell before college football coaches can plausibly be called educators. What'd you teach, coach? Chronic traumatic encephalopathy?
The real news here is that Tuberville appears to be pretty sure his anti-military stunt has worn too thin with his colleagues and is, therefore, piping up with another round of bullshitting while he scrambles for some last-ditch face-saving measure. But he's willing to accept only face-saving measures that meet his original demand of reversing insufficiently cruel military abortion policies, so we're still at an impasse.
An impasse that came about because a performatively ignorant racist who got his official Senate picture taken with a damn football believes he, and not administration and the Pentagon, is the one who gets to set military health care policies to what he wants them to be.
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