Tommy Tuberville’s bad faith scandal

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One of the Standing Rules of the United States Senate, called the rule of unanimous consent, allows one or more Senators to prevent a motion from reaching a vote on the Senate floor. Motions on the Senate floor require unanimous consent. If just one Senator refuses to give their consent then all of the consent is withdrawn because it ceases to be unanimous — hence no vote.

That gives a lot of power to just one United States Senator, which means sometimes that power can be abused. Abuse of power is a Republican specialty, and Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville is a power-abusing Republican. He’s been abusing the power inherent in unanimous consent now for weeks.

Tuberville is holding up votes for promotions of military flag officers. He’s holding up these promotions as a form of extortion. Tuberville “reasons” that as long as the United States military permits its female officers to get abortions, and what he refers to as “after-birth abortions,” he will continue to obstruct flag officer promotions by withholding his consent.

First, let’s deal with Tuberville’s so-called “after-birth abortions.” There is no such thing. No child in the history of the world has ever been subjected to an after-birth abortion. There is no other term for killing a child after it’s born except murder.

Murder in Alabama — Tommy Tuberville’s state — is a capital crime. Tuberville knows perfectly well that no criminal has ever been prosecuted for “after-birth abortions in his state or anywhere else. His saying otherwise is an example of what is known as a “bad faith argument.”

Bad faith arguments are Republican specialties. For example, Donald Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly misrepresented Judge Arthur Engoron’s words when he said, “I’m not here to listen to what [Trump] has to say.” They know perfectly well that the judge meant that he wanted Trump to answer questions put to him directly, without making meandering speeches wholly unrelated to the question.

Trump’s lawyers are pretending that Engoron meant he doesn’t ever want to hear Trump’s side of the story and is therefore prejudiced against their criminal defendant. They know perfectly well that’s not true. That’s what is meant by a bad faith argument. Republicans use that kind of crap all the time.

Getting back to Tuberville, the Senator also claims that women in and out of the military routinely get abortions in the third trimester of their pregnancy, that is, after they have been pregnant for 6 months or more. That’s also not true. That’s also a bad faith argument. Third trimester abortions are extremely rare and are performed, when they are performed at all, because the mother, the foetus or both are at extreme risk of death or significant problems if the birth is carried out.

Tuberville insists that these kinds of abortions routinely take place — third trimester and “after-birth abortions — because his argument is weak. He knows that fanatically religious people are rabidly opposed to abortions of any kind. But there aren’t enough of those. So he pretends that abortions go on in the United States as a kind of heartless and obscene butchery as the result of casual indifference on the part of some mothers and doctors. This is a lie — another bad faith argument.

The bottom line is this. Abortion is a moral issue. The so-called pro-life stance is immoral. A woman’s right to choose is one of the inherent rights protected by the Constitution of the United States. We know this because the Supreme Court said so, back when Roe v. Wade was the law of the land, before the current crop of SCOTUS mallet-heads took that right away from women.

Tommy Tuberville, an old white man, has no right to even comment on abortion, let alone be a part of legislation conserving it. We should no more consult him about abortion than we should consult a paedophile about childcare. A woman’s right to choose is none of his business, particularly when he uses religious standards to judge those rights. That is the double-entendre part of “bad faith.” The tenets and beliefs of evangelical Christianity have no place in government. That’s also in the Constitution.

And yet Truberville has single-handedly crippled America’s military by holding up flag officer promotions using bad faith arguments. Bad faith in both senses of the words. He must be stopped.

Vital jobs that are essential to the proper operation and efficiency of America’s armed forces continue to go unfilled thanks to this cretin. That is why the Unanimous Consent Rule in the United States Senate must have some override mechanism. Republicans like Tuberville lack the maturity to use it wisely. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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