The quadrennial speculation that a former Auburn sports figure will run for governor has reared its head again — only this time it’s not Charles Barkley talking about becoming the state’s top official.
Believe it or not, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville has filed the paperwork to run for governor. It’s exciting to think of “The Riverboat Gambler” tossing his cap into the ring. Really, if any state should be run by a football coach shouldn’t it be Alabama? California has had a couple of actors helm the government, which flows naturally with the state’s Tinsel Town zeitgeist. When people in the other 49 states think of Alabama, I’d have to imagine football is right up there with racism and Forrest Gump in terms of what comes immediately to mind.
Right now it looks like Tubby will at least be facing Public Service Commission Chairwoman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and State Auditor Jim Zeigler, both of whom are set to run. And, of course, there’s the usual discussion of exiled Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore rising up with great righteousness to lead a holy quest for the Governor’s Mansion. But as much as a populist, a woman named Twinkle and a religious zealot would soothe Alabama’s psyche, nothing can touch the concept of a college football coach running this state.
Admittedly I haven’t heard a single idea from Tubby’s platform and I really don’t know much about his personal politics, or if he’s even capable of running a good political race. So while he is appealing, I have to warn you my feelings could easily change. It’s sad I’m so wishy-washy.
Of course Tuberville’s first major hurdle would be convincing the Alabama fans qualified to vote that he can be trusted in spite of his Auburn background. That could prove tough, especially since he was on the sidelines for six straight Iron Bowl wins. He’s probably going to have to get a special dispensation from Nick Saban to get past that roadblock.
After that, though, it should be smooth sailing. In the debates he should answer every question using football terminology, and wear a ball cap and a whistle while doing so.
He should also push for things like Legislative Instant Replay, where the governor can throw a yellow flag if legislators pass an especially idiotic bill. We’d probably have to limit it to three per session so Tubby wouldn’t throw his shoulder out.
And with a nickname like “The Riverboat Gambler,” it’s a no-brainer that Gov. Tuberville would get behind a statewide lottery and allowing more casino gambling. (That’s a guess on my part, but it makes total sense.)
So, welcome to Alabama politics, Tubby! I know it doesn’t always work out so well when a celebrity with no prior legislative experience takes over leadership of the government, but given the Luv Guv’s performance we’ve got nowhere to go but up.
Speaking of Montgomery matters, perhaps the most bizarre bill trying to wend its way across Goat Hill is Rep. Jack Williams’ (the one from Jefferson County) plan to make it illegal to sell any internet-accessing device without “porn blocking” software.
While that plan is simple enough on its surface to perhaps warrant a good debate about government censorship versus protecting children from filth, the kicker is that the bill allows those purchasing the device a way out to get that sweet, sweet porn. If you want to surf the web for filth, all you have to do is pay $20 and send a letter to the state government.
So in other words, Williams and the 23 other legislators who’ve signed onto this bill are against the availability of porn, unless you pay the government a 20 spot and hand over a letter to some unnamed agency professing your affinity for pornography.
It’s all sort of reminiscent of the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church sold “indulgences,” essentially allowing a sinner to pay his way out of punishment in the afterlife.
If Rep. Williams really believes in keeping people in Alabama from having access to porn on their brand new phone or computer, then why allow a buyout? Sin is sin, right? He offers the example of the state banning underage people from adult bookstores as one that shows the government reaching out to protect children. But there’s also no monetary way to circumvent that law. You can’t send the state $20 and say you want to go buy a dirty book and get an OK to do so.
The idea of the letter is one I doubt would have an easy time passing legal challenges. And there probably aren’t too many people who would feel comfortable with a letter filed away somewhere in the state government’s offices that declare a desire to watch porn.
It would be interesting to know how many of the co-signers on that bill are against a lottery for religious reasons as well. It seems to me they’re willing to allow the sin of looking at porn as long as you pay $20, but not willing to allow the sin of gambling for a dollar or two.
Alabama has had a run over the past few years of passing some laws that violate free speech, and this is just the latest attempt. The Legislature has already made it illegal to publish expunged records, as well as the mug shots of people arrested for prostitution. Now some of them want to push this seemingly unconstitutional porn blocker bill.
While I’m not advocating surfing porn, the idea that the government should determine what legal websites Alabamians can and can’t access smacks of censorship. And that you can buy your way out with a crisp $20 and some embarrassment smacks of good old-fashioned hypocrisy.
Shouldn’t it be left up to parents to put porn blocking software on their computers and phones? Then the kid can pay mom and dad the $20 and write a letter about how all his friends can look at porn and how dorky he feels because he can’t. We don’t need a state law destroying the natural order of things.
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