Oklahoma Politics: December 2004 Archives

Washington Post profiles Tom Coburn


There was a fascinating, sympathetic profile of Senator-elect Tom Coburn in today's Washington Post. (Hat tip: Redstate.org)

Some highlights:

When the "Marvelous Seven" new Republican senators are introduced to the media, reporters ignore the others and swarm around Coburn like bees to soda pop, waiting for him to fizz. But he is prepared. Dr. Coburn, what about partial birth abortion? they ask the senator-elect from Oklahoma. Dr. Coburn, what about gay marriage? What about values, Dr. Coburn?

But he resists unleashing one of his prophetic warnings from the campaign about "rampant lesbianism" or abortion doctors getting the death penalty or the venality of your average Washington politician. Instead, he says he'll be cautious, observant, collegial: "I promise you I'll be sleeping every night with that rule book," he says, meaning "Riddick's Senate Procedure," a 1,500-page manual. ...

The subject that truly obsesses Coburn, the one he comes back to over and over, is not homosexuality or abortion, but fiscal responsibility -- spending, the deficit, entitlements. To Coburn, fiscal issues are moral ones. "It is evil to spend your kids' money, spend away their future," he says about the ballooning deficit. "It is good to be frugal. This is good and evil, black and white. Stealing from your kids is wrong. I don't care who you are."

In his book, Coburn reserves his greatest contempt for Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.), then chairman of the House Transportation Committee and a "grandmaster of pork." During his last year in Congress, Coburn nearly shut down the House by threatening to attach 130 amendments to an agriculture appropriations bill he thought was too larded up.

The headlines called the budget passed by Congress last month the stingiest in years on domestic spending. But Coburn views it as business as usual, stuffed with pet projects. "Everyone's tickled," he says. "But they just added 2,000 bucks to everyone's debt, not including Social Security. We're proud of that? We ought to be disgusted."

There's a good deal of biographical info in the story as well. Worth reading.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Politics category from December 2004.

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