(July 2, Quin Hillyer’s first-hand reporting from a campaign event) Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions campaigns for his old U.S. Senate seat from Alabama with the style of a grad student defending his dissertation to a faculty committee. Unlike most politicians today, he seems earnestly to be trying to prove that his theses all cohere, connecting intellectual dots rather than appealing to the voters’ inner ids.

In an invite-only meeting on Wednesday in his home city of Mobile with about 10 people — in these days of the coronavirus, small meetings are usually the only sort allowable — Sessions made his case for Trumpian policies in a most un-Trumpian fashion. He speaks deliberately, pausing to come up with just the right word or argument, almost as if running his thoughts through an internal filter to ensure they are relevant, defensible, honorable, and true.

He started by making the pitch his TV commercials hadn’t, namely that his proven ability to represent Alabama’s interests vastly exceeds that of his Republican primary opponent, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville. Ticking off the names of military installations in the state Tuberville probably hasn’t even heard of, Sessions explained that his long service on the Senate Armed Services Committee has helped ensure Alabama’s bases are an integral part of the Pentagon’s mix.

He also made the crucial case — again, this is a man for whom philosophical cohesiveness is important — that those bases serve the national interest, rather than being just local pork. Alabama voters, he said, have values beyond mere parochialism.

“They would like their senator to play a positive role in those [national issues], too,” he said….

[The full column is at this link.]

[Note: For those who don’t catch the headline reference from Super Bowl IV, watch this six-second clip about matriculating down the field. )


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