FLORENCE — The U.S. Senate contest in Alabama has taken on a new dynamic since former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ entry into the race last month.
However, one thing that has not changed is former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville’s tack on the campaign trail and a strategy of sticking to the bread-and-butter conservative issues. In an appearance at a meeting of the Lauderdale County Republican Party, Tuberville delivered his usual lockerroom-style campaign stump speech, in which he did not dwell on the impeachment saga or the investigations into the so-called “deep state.”
Instead, he went back to what he deemed the “fundamentals,” laid out as an unwillingness to be “politically correct.”
.@TTuberville says “win or lose,” he is writing a book about his time on the campaign trail — suggests the stories he tells will show politics is more corrupt than the SEC football recruiting trail #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/pCCFZgr909
— Jeff Poor (@jeff_poor) December 20, 2019
Among those “fundamentals” was a rejection of dependency on the federal government’s social safety net.
“I’m not going to be politically correct,” he said. “We need to get away from that. We’re getting more and more into being politically correct, and it is hurting this country. I tell people this — there’s nothing in the Constitution that says you can’t have your feelings hurt. We need to start hurting people’s feelings because they have got to do their duty for this country. Quit leaning on this country for a handout. Go to work and earn your way. That’s what we’ve got to do. You know we’ve got 40% of the people in this country get a government check?”
“That ought to really make you mad because there ain’t 40% of the people in this country that can’t work and go out and make a living like all of us do. There’s not 40%. But the Democrats during the last election, the last cycle, administration, the term of Obama — they begged people to get on welfare,” Tuberville continued. “They begged them. Get on welfare, get food stamps. I saw it. I saw on college campuses trying to sign them up. ‘Hey, you’re in school. Why don’t you go ahead and get food stamps? We’ll take care of you.’ They tried to break us.”
The football coach-turned-candidate also made overtures to returning God and prayer to public schools and argued the deterioration of the public education system could be traced back to the departure of prayer in schools.
“Folks, we’ve got to get back to fundamentals,” Tuberville added. “That’s what I’ve always done — blocking and tackling, teaching people footwork — because if you don’t have fundamentals, you’re not going to survive. Fundamentals of this country: God. We’ve got to get prayer back in schools. Somebody said you can’t do that. They are going to have a hard time telling me not to talk about it on the floor of the Senate. We’ve got to start talking about it. If we don’t, we’re not going to get by. You got to try. We’ve got to get it back to the Supreme Court. We took God out of the school in the 60s, and we replaced it with a metal detector. That’s what you’ve got to go through in most of these schools to get into a school.”
Another component he argued that was contributing to the country’s woes was the decline of the nuclear family, which he tied to government policies that encouraged dependency.
“Y’all have heard me say this — 50% of kids in this country have one or no parent. You wonder why we don’t have respect for teachers in schools, law enforcement — all of those things,” Tuberville said. “We’ve got to get back to some kind of family atmosphere. It is not going to be perfect. What we’ve got to get away from is handing out checks and telling the men of the family, ‘The government will take care of your family. Go ahead and leave.’ There has got to be some responsibility put back in family. There has got to be. And the one I am fired up about, and the more I read about it and hear about it, and I’ve seen it for the last 12-14 years — we can have the best economy in the world … if we don’t straighten out education, we ain’t going to make it.”