by Paul Rieckhoff
Finally someone in Congress has stepped up to do something about radical Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville and his political assault on our military. And no surprise, it’s combat veteran, West Point graduate, former IAVA Board member, my fellow New Yorker and friend, Pat Ryan. As first reported by NBC, this week Ryan introduced legislation demanding Tuberville lift hold on military nominations amid Israel-Hamas war.
It’s about damn time somebody in Congress took action. The impact of his months of delays has never been clearer than it is now, as critical components of our response to the unfolding crisis in Israel are paralyzed by Tuberville’s stubbornness. And action like this is why Ryan continues to have support from vets of all political sides, and why he won a purple district in a victory that sent shockwaves across the political world. He’s willing to take a stand. You can read his full statement introducing the legislation here.
Everyone in Congress should sign on to support Ryan’s legislation. Tuberville’s holds continue to be radical, reckless and damaging to our national security. And, hurt our Ukrainian and Israeli allies deep in the fight right now. I’ve been on MSNBC talking about it for months.
As I told Ryan, I do wish he’d go further and demand that Tuberville resign. The man I’ve called “Senator Redneck” is a disgrace to the Senate, has embraced white nationalism, and repeatedly shown he is willing to undermine our national security and hurt our troops. He’s also dangerously dumb.
I also shared with Ryan that I think the term “MAGAists” is not precise and effective enough. Tuberville is radical, extreme—and part of what I call the #AmericanInsurgency. “Anti-American” or “Trumpist” are also more effective. Especially with people who are not Democrats.
Dems overuse “MAGAists”. It’s Trump’s language. It’s counterproductive to repeat it. And critics can and should do better. “MAGAists” also unnecessarily drives away some Republicans (and some independents). I’m glad at least they’ve stopped using “MAGA Republicans”—which is also less effective and definitely drives away Republicans who object to the connection of the two.
Needless to say, Dems can definitely do much better on messaging and messengers overall. But Ryan is a strong and effective outlier for his party. If Democrats (or Republicans) want to attract independents like me–especially veterans–they should sound like him.
And it takes courage to be first. Especially in politics. And Pat Ryan has again shown courage again. I’m proud to know him. And hope that all Senators and Reps from both parties will follow his bold lead. Our national security is at stake. And every day Tuberville continues his asinine hold, Putin, Hamas and our enemies are celebrating.
Courage and effectiveness like this is one reason I asked Ryan to be my guest on Independent Americans back in Episode186. And I hope he’ll join me again soon. With news of many new co-signers to his legislation.
From both parties.
Paul Rieckhoff is an independent political and national security analyst, frequent MSNBC guest, activist, US Army infantry combat veteran, the host of Independent Americans, President of Righteous Media, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the author of “Chasing Ghosts: Failures and Facades in Iraq, A Soldier’s Perspective.”