It's still unclear why Alabama Republicans looked out on the sea of fellow Alabamans and decided that a brick-headed college football coach by the name of Tommy Tuberville ought to represent their state in the U.S. Senate, but the most plausible explanation is that everyone involved was very, very drunk. In any event, he's a senator now and has been stinking up the place as a pro-sedition Trump-allied stock-trading racist dispenser of some of the most gallingly dimwitted statements in modern politics; this time around, it's the United States military that's bearing the brunt of Alabama's joke.
As noted by Punchbowl News, sigh, Sen. Tommy Tuberville is currently waging a culture war battle against the United States damn military, as in all of it, by single-handedly blocking the promotion of military commanders worldwide. Those promotions get passed through the Senate Armed Services Committee, which means any single senator can stonewall any of them via the usual Senate procedural shenanigans.
Tuberville is blocking all of them, 160 in total, and is vowing that he's not going to let any Senate-overseen military promotions go through anywhere in the world until the U.S. military reverses its policy of ... giving U.S. military servicemembers access to administrative leave and travel cost reimbursement for abortion services if they're stationed in a Republican religious hellhole like Texas, necessitating extra travel time to and from a state that is not under freaky conservative religious edicts.
Tuberville wants that policy reversed so that Americans stationed in rathole conservative-led states have to abide by whatever far-right religious rules Republicans set for them, and since religious retired football coach and sedition-backing Tuberville has been granted a spot on the Senate Armed Services Committee for reasons known only to his fellow Republicans he's got a built-in way to take hostages in order to extract whatever concessions his football coaching brain thinks the United States military needs to give him.
So that's where we find ourselves. Sen. Tommy Tuberville doesn't want soldiers in Republican states to be granted additional leave for abortion care they can't get in the towns they're stationed at, and he's going to freeze the promotions of every U.S. commander, none of whom have a damn say in this to begin with, until 'Merica agrees to his demands.
It's a crying shame other states don't get veto powers when a state coughs up a Tommy Tuberville or Louie Gohmert to inflict on the rest of us. Taking a page from Tuberville's book, perhaps the federal government can withhold all federal funds to Alabama until Tommy Tuberville agrees to take a drug test.
As far as the damage Tuberville may or may not be doing to military readiness, with his little culture war stunt, it does appear that Tuberville is doing some harm here. There aren't many Republicans willing to endorse Tuberville's move, even as they themselves bubble over how they of course agree with his goals, but Democratic senators are outright condemning it. Sen. Jack Reed chairs the committee and notes that many of the officers up for promotion are subject to the military equivalent of term limits and will have to be sidelined while waiting for Tuberville's tantrum to pass.
That could indeed get dicey, as retiring commanders leave their posts while their intended replacements sit twiddling their thumbs due to Alabama Football Guy's hostage-taking. And while the United States is not currently at war, at least no more than the United States is always at war, the military's backing of Ukraine, increasing Middle East tensions, and borderline-hostile confrontations with both Russia and China's militaries mean Tuberville's act could very well end up harming national security.
Not that he gives a damn. Punchbowl reports that Tuberville dismissed the idea that he was damaging the military with this move, instead burbling that "If this was about a list of personnel, people actually doing the fighting, this might be different ... If this had to do with winning a war, obviously I wouldn’t be doing this." That's the sort of Tuberville claim that he's already famous for, the dull-witted insistence that he doesn't know nothin' about things like details or consequences, so he's sure it will all work out fine.
I swear, Republican voters. You'll vote for literally anyone the party shoves at you, and I don't think even five in a hundred of you pay any attention to what happens after that. Do. Better.
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