Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Adventures of Tom Dumb

[[H U H ?]] * Tom Coburn, the doctor turned first-term U.S. senator from Oklahoma, has proven to be something of an embarrassment, even to his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill. A virulently anti-gay acolyte of Newt Gingrich, he was scandalized during last November’s election by reports in Salon and elsewhere about a 14-year-old malpractice suit that had been brought against him by a woman who said Coburn had sterilized her without consent. (The suit was dismissed after the plaintiff failed to show up for the trial.) More recently, this Okie solon was critical of George W. Bush’s willingness to spend the tax dollars of all Americans to rebuild parts of Louisiana decimated by Hurricane Katrina; has joined the 50 percent of GOP senators who, according to The Washington Times, “remain unconvinced that Harriet Miers is worthy of being confirmed to the Supreme Court”; and wept openly on the Senate floor over the “mindless partisanship” that now consumes Washington, D.C. (even though he has contributed to it).

But it’s his idiotic statements that will earn Coburn a place in the annals of congressional history, not his insistence that the costs of Katrina repair be offset by spending cuts elsewhere, or even his proclivity for crossword puzzles. This is the guy who once proclaimed, “I believe all life has value, from conception to natural death. And I believe the intentional taking of human life, except to save lives, should be a capital offense, as it is in most states in America today.” And last September, Coburn remarked that Oklahoma is lagging behind in business development because “you have a bunch of crapheads in Oklahoma City that have killed the vision of anybody wanting to invest in Oklahoma.” A spokesman was later at a loss to identify the particular “crapheads” to whom Coburn was referring.

Now, as if GOPers didn’t already have reason enough to worry about their prospects in the 2006 midterm elections, Coburn says the country’s future doesn’t depend on Republican successes next year. The Hill has the scoop:
In a speech this week to the George Washington University College Republicans, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said of the 2006 elections, “It’s OK if the Republicans lose control, for our country in the long run, because one cycle won’t make a difference, two cycles won’t make a difference.”

But Coburn, who made a habit of creating headaches for his party when he was in the House from 1995 to 2000, didn’t stop there. Of the current debate over spending and the budget, he said, “Republican politicians are the same as Democratic politicians in that they like to spend money. Democrats want to raise taxes to pay for it, and Republicans allow the next generation to pay for it.”
One can only imagine the colorful oaths that must have emanated from the lip-sticked mouth of Senator Elizabeth Dole, head of the contributions-strapped National Republican Senatorial Committee, upon hearing that one.

READ MORE:Poetic Justice,” by Howard Fineman (Newsweek); “No Longer the ‘Right Man,’” by Sidney Blumenthal (Salon); “The Perfect Storm?” by Alan Dowd (Free Republic); “Post-Rovism,” by Bruce Reed (Slate); “American Empire: RIP,” by Bob Burnett (The Huffington Post).

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