Coburn in GQ

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In the February issue of Gentleman's Quarterly there's a lengthy and generally positive profile of Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, focusing on his campaign against wasteful spending.

This early paragraph in the piece illustrates the myopia of many in Washington:

But for many of Coburn’s colleagues, what is most surprising is not that he has become a thorn in the party’s side; it’s the issue with which he has made his mark. Back in 2004, when Coburn was first running for Senate, fiscal prudence wasn’t supposed to be his issue. In fact, the last thing anybody expected him to become was a voice of restraint in a body of excess. If anything, Coburn was the one known for his excesses, for making pronouncements so outrageous, so far from the mainstream, that at times he seemed like a cartoon of the fanatical right—declaring his own Senate race “the battle of good versus evil,” calling for “the death penalty for abortionists,” and suggesting that the country was under attack by a secret gay conspiracy that had “infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country.” Back in 2004, Tom Coburn was the last man anybody expected to rise above politics and try to lead us back to common sense.

Anybody, that is, except the voters of Oklahoma. Yes, his most enthusiastic supporters shared his concerns on social issues, but it was his determination to fight against waste and corruption that differentiated him from his nearest Republican rival, Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys. Anyone who paid attention to his service in the U. S. House, anyone who bothered to read his no-punches-pulled book Breach of Trust would have known that his willingness to stand firm and, if necessary, alone, on fiscal issues are at the heart of why Oklahoma Republicans urged him to run and why he decided to get in the race.

The article covers his medical practice, growing up helping with his dad's business, his living arrangements in Washington, and this about the connection between his social positions and his fiscal stubborness:

Having entered the public spotlight for his social positions, far from the mainstream and widely condemned for his views on abortion and gay rights, he had long since adjusted to the outrage and indignation he aroused. If anything, his social views had bolstered him for the fiscal fight. In a world as upside down as Congress, where waste is the norm and prudence on the fringe, where a man fighting pork and fraud can be ostracized by his peers, maybe it takes someone who is comfortable with that, and has spent most of his adult life on the fringe already, to speak out in spite of the risks.

Go read the whole thing.

(Via Mike McCarville.)

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7 Comments

Dan Paden said:

Just in Tom Coburn's case, I almost wish cloning was a realistic option. He's also about the only one I see that I could really get excited about running for president. Wish he would.

concerned voter said:

For all of the good ol boys crap that goes on in the City of Tulsa we are surely blessed to have both Senators Coburn and Inholfe representing us in Washington. We all need to tell them that they are doing a good job.

Jeremy Good said:

Tom Coburn has been one of the only sane politicians in DC, his stance on baby slaughter and homo fascism included. I have taken every opportunity to let Sen Coburn know where I stand on the issues, and encourage him in his fight against pork. I would highly recommend reading his book, Breach of Trust. I didn't really understand much of Congressional posturing, and dirty play, until I read this masterful work. When even a rag like GQ cannot undermine his integrity and his determined fight to right the wrongs of DC, there can be no doubt he's doing his job well.

theangrypatient said:

since coburn was/is a doctor, we contacted many senators, including him, for assistance about a patient being just about doctored 2 death and abused in a hospital due to what we believe was the hospital and doctor milking 100% insurance coverage and taking advantage of a patient who could not fend for themselves, and we got no response from him or any of them.

in a nutshell, the more the hospital and doctor were challenged, the more the hospital and doctor dug their heels in to the extent they sic'd dhs on patient's family and it cost them thousands upon thousands of dollars to fight the hospital bureacracy. in the end, a judge ruled against the hospital bureacrats. so be very cautious with hospital bureacracy folks - they can destroy your life in an instant. those angry frustrated overworked nurses who hate their jobs, and underpaid technicians who change your sheets, have more power than you can imagine. if you piss them off, they can ruin your life.

as a matter of fact, there is a great law review titled, "In the Name of the People - A Faustian Paradox: The Betrayal by Physicians, Lawyers, Judges, Academics, and Ethicists of the Sovereign People's Ultimate Civil Liberty". Written by Donie Vanitzian and Andrew H. Kopkin, University of West Los Angeles School of Law. find it and read it. it's a real eye opener. unfortunately, you will never feel the same about medicine again.

tracy said:

I've needed to contact Senator Coburn's office for help and I have been very disappointed.

I've contacted about dozen senators and representatives in the past. I've only been disappointed a few times, this was one of those times.

I encourage anyone, who thinks they know their senator or representative to contact their offices. You will gain a lot of insight.

I've come away with the feeling that he has run for office for his own personal ambition, and not for any desire to work for the people of his state. Just one person's opinion.

jan thomas said:

Excellent article, I thought, as well as amazing that GQ didn't manage to make it a negative. I printed it off and am taking it to work.

David Einstein said:

Getting excited for a Coburn Presidential run would be like getting excited for cancer.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 18, 2007 12:40 AM.

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