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Dana Milbank is impressed by Alabama’s Senator-Elect Tommy Tuberville. Not in a positive way. Milbank thinks he may be the dimmest member of the Senate.
President-unelect Trump has studied every play in the Coups-for-Dummies playbook: court challenges, pressure on Republican officials to overturn the election, even a half-baked plan for martial law from pardoned convict Michael Flynn. But no luck.
Now, Trump’s final hope rests with Tommy Tuberville. This is like finding out your death-row appeal will be argued by Sidney Powell.
Tuberville — or “Tubs,” from his college football coaching days — is the Republican senator-elect from Alabama, and he’s proposing to object to the election results in the Senate on Jan. 6. Trump exulted: “Great senator.”
Problem is, Tubs, if he were a Democrat, is what Trump might call a “low-IQ individual.” In their wisdom, the voters of Alabama chose to replace Democrat Doug Jones, who prosecuted the Birmingham church bombing, with a man who recently announced his discovery that there are “three branches of government,” namely, “the House, the Senate and the executive.”
In an interview with the Alabama Daily News, he also offered the insight that World War II was not, as many suppose, a conflict against Nazism. “My dad fought 76 years ago in Europe to free Europe of socialism,” he said. He further informed the newspaper that “in 2000 Al Gore was president, United States, president-elect, for 30 days.” (Actual number of days Gore spent as president-elect: zero.)
For obvious reasons, Tubs avoided debates and interviews during the campaign. Even so, he imparted some extraordinary wisdom.
On climate change: “There’s one person that changes the climate in this country and that’s God,” he told Alabama’s Daily Mountain Eagle.
On the opioid epidemic: “It’s not just opioids now, it’s heroin …”
On health care: “We don’t have the answer until we go back to open up being a capitalistic health-care system where we have more than one insurance company.” (There are 952 health insurers in the United States.)
On education: “We’ve taken God out of the schools and we’ve replaced the schools with metal detectors.” Tubs has declared his desire to serve on the Senate “banking finance” committee, apparently unaware that banking and finance are separate committees — and that he is ineligible to serve on banking because Alabama’s senior Republican senator already does.
Tuberville’s Senate campaign (in which he also defeated former attorney general Jeff Sessions) was a magical voyage of discovery, as he learned about such things as advice and consent. Senators “confirm judges all across the country, federal judges, and get them in place,” he marveled.
He also seemed to have no clue what the landmark Voting Rights Act was, telling Rotarians: “It’s, you know ― there’s a lot of different things you can look at it as, you know, who’s it going to help? What direction do we need to go with it? I think it’s important that everything we do we keep secure. We keep an eye on it. It’s run by our government. And it’s run to the, to the point that we, it’s got structure to it. It’s like education.”
Now this genius wants to make his first act as senator a doomed, symbolic challenge to the election that forces Republican colleagues into an embarrassing vote. Trump will soon be gone. But as long as there are mental giants such as Tubs, Trumpism will remain.
Tuberville had a mixed record as a football coach at Auburn, Cincinnati and Texas Tech. He had a brief broadcasting career with ESPN, once confusing Iowa and Iowa State, and, when asked for a game analysis, replying on hot mic, “Y’all make me do this s—.”
He also established his financial naivete: His business partner in a hedge fund pleaded guilty to fraud; Tuberville claimed he knew nothing. Tubs also was lured to invest in an alleged Ponzi scheme. He set up a foundation to help veterans, but veterans got only a third of the money raised.
As a candidate, Tubs offered exotic views on why rural hospitals closed (“because we don’t have Internet”), on impeachment (“I’ve been trying to keep up with it but it’s so hard”) and on constitutional democracy (“We’d probably get more done with just the president running this country. So let the Democrats go home”).
Tuberville was baffled by the vote counting after Election Day (“The referees are suddenly adding touchdowns to the other team’s side of the scoreboard”), and last week said he plans a Senate challenge to the electoral college tally.
Would you expect otherwise from this champion of civics education? “We’ve gotten away from teaching … history, civics, government,” he observed. And another time, “We’ve got to get our education back on the right track … we’re going to educate several generations in this country that really don’t understand this country.”
Eventually, people might not even know the three branches of government.