Erik Erickson: Sen. Tuberville’s Stand

The perspectives and thoughts expressed in this op-ed are the exclusive purview of the author.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., refuses to give his consent for the United States Senate to advance hundreds of military promotions. His objection stems from the Biden administration changing military policy to pay for abortion-related travel. Prior to the end of Roe v. Wade, the government would not cover those costs. Now, President Joe Biden is using the military to advance an aggressive abortion agenda. Tuberville is having none of it.

In response, much of the mainstream media, the Democrats, military leadership and even some Republicans and conservative pundits are savaging Tuberville. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, on CNN, said, “For someone who’s born in a communist country, I would have never imagined that actually one of our own senators would actually be aiding and abetting communist and other autocratic regimes around the world. This is having a real negative impact and will continue to have a real negative impact on our combat readiness. And that’s what the American people truly need to understand.” Even some military leaders have been outspoken, not fully appreciating the concept of civilian control of the military.

Behind the scenes, some Republicans too are angry with Tuberville’s position. Sadly, none are telling the true story. Tuberville, on my radio program and elsewhere, has been adamant he would not oppose a vote on a single nominee or promotion in the military. A few days ago, The Washington Post ran a story on Gen. Eric Smith, selected by Biden to be the Marine’s leader. The Post gave the impression that Smith, now acting in the role Biden wants him to have, is unable to advance because of Tuberville. This is not true.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could schedule a vote on Smith tomorrow. Smith could be the actual, not just acting, leader of the Marines in 72 hours. But Schumer has refused. The White House has refused to urge a vote on the individual nominations.

Under the rules of the Senate, most business is conducted by unanimous consent. The Senate rarely votes. There is no debate. A senator, usually the majority leader, asks for unanimous consent to do something. Schumer is asking for unanimous consent for mass promotions in the United States Armed Forces. Tuberville, because of Biden’s aggressive abortion agenda, has objected to that unanimous consent. Normally, when unanimous consent fails, the Senate moves to vote on the matter. Here, the Democrats are playing as many or more games than Tuberville. Tuberville is adamant he would not, nor could he really, block individual votes on the nominees.

According to The Washington Post, the military is starting to fret about the situation. The paper reported, “One Marine official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal conversations, said that while lower-ranking generals will hold some of those positions on an interim basis, there’s growing apprehension about how effective they can be over the long term, and what the ramifications for unit readiness and troop discipline may be.” If that situation is so dire, Schumer could start scheduling votes on the promotions and Tuberville could not block him.

But abortion politics reigns supreme for the Democrats. They cannot get Tuberville to yield, and the Democrats are not interested in advancing military nominations more than the abortion agenda. More alarming than the Democrats’ abortion politics is the American press corps’ unwillingness to accurately report the story. Every major press outlet has taken the Democrats’ party line and advanced it. They have not acknowledged the promotions could happen with votes. They seem to insist unanimous consent is the only way forward.

Even more alarming, some Republicans and Republican- or conservative-leaning commentators have criticized Tuberville. There are some on the Right who view the Defense Department and its budget as sacrosanct. Waste, fraud and abuse can be targeted everywhere, but the Pentagon must forever and ever be funded with more and never held to account for its own excesses. Shame on those on the Right who would criticize Tuberville and shame on the Democrats for putting fealty to the abortion lobby above votes on soldiers.

To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at


Last Updated: Thursday, Sep 07, 2023 11:27:24 -0700

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