The Slatest

Blockhead Football Coach Elected Alabama Senator Says Blockhead Things About Non-Football Topics Like History, Government

Tommy Tuberville smiling, with American flags in the background
Tommy Tuberville was a football coach before being elected to the Senate in Alabama. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Alabama elected former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville to the Senate 10 days ago precisely because he keeps it simple: Trump good, not-Trump bad. The state is, of course, overwhelmingly Republican and, since 2016, even more fevered in its support of President Donald Trump. So much so that former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions—literally one of the original Trumpsters—was deemed not Trumpy enough anymore. So, when shopping around for candidates, it seems safe to say, most people in the state weren’t looking for a nuanced understanding of history, the country, or how its government works—they were looking for a blockhead that Trump could step on to elevate himself. And in “Coach” Tommy Tuberville, Alabama Republicans got exactly what they were looking for.

In an interview with Alabama Daily News Wednesday, Tuberville showed a football coach’s understanding of history and the American system of governance. Tuberville fumbled when discussing America’s three branches of government (kind of a biggie) and the origins of World War II (also not small) before going on to stumble through ethics rules of the job and ultimately rounding it out with a grand football analogy equating the filibuster to a two-minute drill in the dying moments of a football game.

Yeah and that’s how our government was set up,” Tuberville said in response to a question about a politically divided Congress. “You know, our government wasn’t set up for one group to have all three of branches of government. It wasn’t set up that way, our three branches, the House, the Senate and executive.” The House and Senate are, of course, part of the same legislative branch of government, with the other two branches being the executive and judiciary.

When asked about what signal voters sent in this election, Tuberville didn’t really answer the question, but did note that he is very concerned because Joe Biden is a socialist. “Coach” then goes on to misunderstand the origins of World War II—[cough] [cough] Nazism—saying that it was, you guessed it, about ridding the world of socialism, kinda like Joe Biden.

I look at it and I see what country I grew up in and what it’s meant and the direction that we were going, and it’s concerning to me that a guy can run for president of the United States and have an opportunity to win when he leans more to a Socialist type of government. … And that’s concerning to me that we’re to the point now where we’ve got almost half the country voting for something that this country wasn’t built on. Very concerning and, you know, as I tell people, my dad fought 76 years ago in Europe to free Europe of Socialism. Today, you look at this election, we have half this country that made some kind of movement, now they might not believe in it 100 percent, but they made some kind of movement toward socialism. So we’re fighting it right here on our own soil. We’ve got to decide, you know, over the years which direction we’re going, and that part’s concerning to me.

Then there are comparatively smaller matters that the old football coach hasn’t gotten straight yet, like the ethics of the office.

But, to be clear, Tommy Tuberville is a football coach, which is a good metaphor for everything in life.

“Senate rules. House rules. It’s pretty unique,” Tuberville said of learning the Senate’s procedures. “The filibuster rules and stuff like that of how you can really slow the progress of something that you don’t like. I don’t care if everybody else likes it in the Senate, you can actually slow it down. You might not be able to beat at the end of the day, but there’s a there’s a lot of little things, just like a football game. You know, how you slow down the clock, how to run the clock in a two minute drill. And it’s no different. It’s just the fundamentals of the little things.”

It’s just the fundamentals of the little things.

You tell ’em, Coach.